The award was presented to the San Diego County Water Authority, which owns the facility, and black-veatch, which has engineered the project since its inception six years ago, at the organization’s annual awards banquet last month.

‘This project is very exciting, as it not only provides flexibility of water deliveries to our member agencies, but also provides enough power for approximately 5000 homes each year, reducing emissions by use of clean energy,’ said San Diego County Water Authority Construction Administrator Mike Wallace. ‘Each and every one of the project team members played an important role in completing this project and in meeting the needs of the community.’

Planning, designing and constructing a single facility that would serve two purposes was challenging because different processes, equipment, and engineering skills were needed to create a facility that would effectively control water pressure and flow and simultaneously generate electricity in an environmentally responsible manner.

The RPPCHF is part of the extensive water distribution system that the Water Authority owns and operates in San Diego County. Located along a major aqueduct and connected to a 108-inch diameter untreated-water pipeline, the facility was designed not only to control water pressure and flow but also to generate renewable energy through a 4.5MW turbine-generator. The San Diego community will benefit from this green renewable energy, which takes full advantage of the excess pressure at the project site that otherwise would have been wasted.

‘The San Diego County Water Authority showed great foresight in building a facility that would meet diverse demands and incorporate environmentally sustainable technology by making use of a completely renewable energy source,’ said Dan McCarthy, President and CEO of Black & Veatch’s global water business.

According to Black & Veatch Hydropower and Hydraulic Structures Director Carlos Araoz, the project team’s planning and design support included activities to maximize community acceptance of the facility, which began commercial operation in January 2007. Public opinion was solicited for the siting decisions, and special measures were taken to help the facility aesthetically blend into the selected residential and commercial area.

The basis for the awards is ‘an engineering project that demonstrates the greatest engineering skills and represents the greatest contribution to civil engineering progress and mankind.’ The project was one of seven Outstanding Projects selected by the San Diego Section of ASCE.