Fostering Relationships Beyond Immediate Project Needs

Posted By: Diane Thoune Blog ,

Written by: Diane Thoune, PE, Clark Dietz, Inc.

While it's our job as consultants to provide sound technical solutions, we have the responsibility to educate and involve the client in making their communities a better place to live. Clients rely on our expertise not only for immediate concerns but in how systems function as a whole. When Clark Dietz received a contract for redesign of the 72nd Avenue lift station, it was clear that the station had exceeded its useful service life. We also noticed many large industrial customers and the expanding Wausau Business Campus within the station's service area.

Initial Need Expands into More Community Improvements

Sanitary sewer systems are expected to function properly 100% of the time. Customers should never have to think about the system. City staff had invested significant effort in maintenance of the westside sewer system, and they knew improvements were needed.

The City of Wausau was ready to invest in a proactive rehabilitation and maintenance plan to preserve the health, wellbeing, and safety of the community.

Looking beyond the immediate needs at the lift station, Clark Dietz saw that more than the station replacement was required to ensure effectiveness of the westside sewer system. Extensive future growth in the industrial park had to be considered in sizing of the station equipment. Expected flow increases from the 72nd Avenue station will affect the rest of the downstream sewer system.

The lift station replacement therefore expanded and developed into a long-term management plan that included:

  • Service area planning study
  • Sanitary sewer capacity analysis
  • Industrial Park lift station capacity analysis
  • Residential development flow analysis
  • Building and generator design
  • 72nd Avenue lift station construction management
  • Industrial Park lift station pump addition design and construction management
  • Stewart Avenue sanitary sewer and water main design
  • Industrial Park lift station pump replacement design
  • Industrial Park force main rehabilitation design and construction management
Client Collaboration and Communication Builds Long-Standing Solutions

Our relationship with the City of Wausau staff has developed during the course of the planning, design, and construction efforts. The City showed trust in Clark Dietz by contracting directly with us on all the projects that developed from the original lift station replacement project.

A completely new station was designed to replace the existing 72nd Avenue station. The 72nd Avenue station discharges to the Industrial Park lift station, which also required extensive upgrades to handle the future flow. The existing sewer downstream of the 72nd Avenue station is also not capable of handling future flows. Clark Dietz designed a new force main and interceptor sewer in Stewart Avenue from the 72nd Avenue lift station to the Industrial Park station. This part of the project will take place as part of the future Stewart Avenue street reconstruction project.

At the Industrial Park lift station, Clark Dietz selected a new pump and motor to be installed in the existing station. The new pump was sized to handle the expected 20-year design flows. Work at the station also included complete replacement of the electrical system and controls. That phase of the work has been completed, and replacement of the two remaining original pumps will occur this year.

Clark Dietz continues to assist the City with rehabilitation of the Industrial Park force main. Access vaults will be installed on the force main this spring. The entire force main will then be cleaned and televised. This part of the project included coordination with the Union Pacific railroad and adjacent private property owners.

The Strength of a Client-Consultant Partnership

Longstanding, proven engineering techniques were used to develop a long-term phased solution while remaining economically responsible. Clark Dietz looked at the project beyond the initially stated replacement, and further into conveyance, aesthetics, and future impacts.

Success came from determining how the project could provide safety and quality of life.

Finding sound technical solutions is an engineer's responsibility, but the needs and difficulties expressed by clients must be heard. Municipal clients bear the ultimate responsibility for maintaining a high level of service in their communities, and they must be actively engaged in the process. All phases of the work required extensive communication with City staff and community stakeholders. In the process we developed a strong client-consultant partnership.

About the Guest Blogger

Diane Thoune, PE, is a project manager in Clark Dietz, Inc.’s Wausau office. She has 20 years of experience in the design of infrastructure, water, and wastewater projects. Diane is a graduate of Michigan Technological University and a Wisconsin Certified Water and Wastewater Operator. She currently serves on the WWOA North Central Region Steering Committee. Clark Dietz, Inc. is a recognized leader in transportation, civil, environmental, mechanical, electrical, and structural engineering with over 110 professional staff in regional offices in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Wisconsin.

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