Orange County gets ASCE Project of the Year award

The Orange County Water District’s (OCWD) Mid-Basin Injection: Centennial Park (MBI) project was recognized with the Water Treatment Project of the Year Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers—Orange County Branch (ASCE OC). The award will be presented at the 2019 ASCE OC Branch Awards Dinner held on Thursday, Feb. 21 at the City National Grove of Anaheim in Anaheim, Calif.

The 2.5-year $29.5 million MBI project is in the City of Santa Ana and will be completed in fall 2019. It is a solution that addresses a local groundwater depression in the central part of the Orange County Groundwater Basin (Basin), which currently provides about 77 percent of the water supply to more than 2.5 million residents.

The MBI project will inject up to 10 million gallons of Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) water a day (MGD), enough water for 85,000 people. Filling this depression will reduce pumping costs paid by water agencies served by OCWD because the water will not have to be sent to its recharge basins in Anaheim. Additional project benefits include decreasing the threat of seawater contamination, reducing the potential for upwelling of deeper amber-tinted water and freeing up some storage space in the Basin near Anaheim to recharge other sources of eventual drinking water, such as more imported water and stormwater, when available.

“As the OCWD board member appointed to represent the constituents of Santa Ana, I am honored to share the news that this project is nearing completion and has received this distinguished ASCE award,” said OCWD Board President Vicente Sarmiento. “The District will continue to invest in and implement fiscally sound water reliability projects to ensure an adequate water supply for the millions of people in our service area.”

Implemented in 2008, the GWRS produces 100 MGD of advanced purified drinking water and is the primary and most reliable source used to refill the Basin. A 30 MGD final expansion of the GWRS will come online in 2023 and the MBI project supports this expansion because it helps get more water in the ground.

The MBI project includes the construction of four injection wells, two monitoring wells, approximately 5,700 linear feet of supply pipeline, and approximately 4,200 linear feet of backflush pipeline. Construction phasing and communication were critical to the success of this project because its footprint impacted many stakeholders. The District began meeting with stakeholders long before the project broke ground, continues to meet regularly and maintains ongoing communication to minimize impacts to the community and address questions and concerns. Public outreach is a key part of all District projects. The MBI project scope was able to include improvements that will be made to Centennial Regional Park and the Heritage Museum of Orange County for the public to enjoy.

The success of the project is also a result of the project team members that were contracted by the Orange County Water District. The team includes: Tetra Tech, Inc., design engineer; Butier Engineering, Inc. and Geotechnical Consultants, Inc., construction management; the primary contractor, Pacific Hydrotech Corporation; and the well contractor, Best Drilling and Pump, Inc.

OCWD Engineer Ben Smith is the project manager and will attend the Feb. 21 dinner to receive the award on behalf of the District. For more information about ASCE OC, please visit and to register to attend the event click here.

The Orange County Water District is committed to enhancing Orange County’s groundwater quality and reliability in an environmentally friendly and economical manner. The following cities rely on the groundwater basin, managed by OCWD, to provide about 77 percent of their water demands: Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster and Yorba Linda. For more information about OCWD, please visit, like @OCWaterDistrict on Facebook, and follow @OCWDWaterNews on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *