California Wastewater Facility Sets Record, Earns Sustainability Recognition

Jacobs Wins Special Recognition Award for Advancing Sustainable Water

Jacobs’ San José-Santa Clara wastewater design-build project. Image Courtesy Of Jacobs

The San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility is the largest advanced wastewater treatment facility in the western United States and serves the Silicon Valley area, supporting 1.4 million people and 17,000 businesses. Jacobs won an award from Bentley’s 2020 Year in Infrastructure Awards conference 2020 for its work on the headworks facility. The Year in Infrastructure Awards is an exciting and well-regarded global competition that recognizes advancements in infrastructure. These awards bring together infrastructure professionals and members of the media from around the globe to share innovative practices in infrastructure project design, engineering, construction, and operations.

Jacobs earned the Special Recognition Award for advancing sustainable water for the headworks project. With the accolade came a US$1000 donation from Bentley Systems to Jacobs’ charity of choice: Water For People.

Jacobs’ work is split into two operations: headworks and cogeneration.

Key features of the headworks design included an innovative approach to the grit removal process with a unique removal sequence. Pumping before grit removal allows for increased grit removal from the collection system before a large storm. In addition, Jacobs designed the largest vertical turbine solids handling pumps within a wastewater treatment facility in company history.

The headworks facility is a US$129-million progressive design-build project to expand the pretreatment capabilities of the original 50-year-old facility. Work began in 2018 to design and build a new larger and sustainable wet-weather headworks facility. The headworks upgrade is part of a 10-year capital improvements program started in 2014.

The cogeneration aspect is a US$95-million progressive design-build that includes four new engine generators, a heat recovery system, and gas treatment system to replace aging power generation equipment. Jacobs was contracted as the design-builder in 2016. Some of the project scope includes a new digester gas treatment system and engine exhaust system to reduce contamination to the air. “The importance of creating a robust solution for the headworks process for our facility was a top priority,” said City of San Jose Principal Engineer, Kapil Verma. “Jacobs provided multiple design scenarios for early consideration. We appreciate the powerful Bentley tools we used during design, as well as the visualization environment which enabled us to select optimized locations, process sequences, and equipment layouts.”

Bentley Systems is an infrastructure engineering software company that provides software to advance the world’s infrastructure. Its software solutions are used by professionals and organizations of every size for the design, construction, and operations of roads and bridges, rail and transit, water and wastewater, public works and utilities, buildings and campuses, and industrial facilities.

Jacobs worked closely with the City of San José during construction to implement onsite COVID-19 protocols and maintain excellent safety performance, achieving a total recordable incident rate of 0.77 (against an industry average of 1.0) and a days away/restricted time rate of 0.00 (against an industry average of 2.3). The cogeneration employees worked over 260,000 labor hours without a days away/restricted time safety incident, and the headworks employees have worked over 86,000 labor hours without a days away/restricted time safety incident.