The City of Framingham, MA experienced reoccurring sanitary sewer overflows stemming from issues with the City’s existing sewer system. Due to the serious nature of the overflows which continually violated State and Federal law, the City was issued an Administrative Consent Order with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and a Settlement Agreement was arranged with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority in 2007, requiring the Town to undertake sewer reconstruction and rehabilitation projects over the course of several years.
In 2013, after design and bidding phases were complete, EP was retained by the City to provide construction administration services, with construction beginning in the summer of 2013. This project was the result of and final step in the completion of several years of projects by the City to consolidate and eliminate pump stations while implementing a new deep gravity interceptor system and improving water, drainage, and roadway conditions.
The multimillion dollar project was a complex undertaking due to the tight work areas, large traffic volumes, density of utilities, and the variable water levels in the Sudbury River. Work included replacing the existing sewers that were between 50 and over 80 years old. Facing challenges including a river crossing and a jacking under an Army Corps of Engineers flood gate structure, a new 24‐inch sewer was installed on Concord Street and a new gravity 15‐inch sewer was installed on Watson Place. Limited watermain and drainage system improvements were also included as a part of this project. Concord Street is a main traffic route within the City and required vehicle detours around the project, necessitating an expedited construction schedule and immediate solutions when field conditions did not match anticipated patterns. Additionally, EP replaced existing water mains between 30 and 100 years old. Water system improvements included a new 12‐inch distribution main and 20‐inch transmission main.
Throughout this project EP successfully overcame a series of challenges. Construction of a portion of the 24‐inch sewer on Concord Street included crossing the Sudbury River by open cut construction methods. The complexity of the river crossing required installation of pipe spacers and anti-floatation bars, installation of 24” PVC pipe and grouting of the annular space between the pipe and the casing, restoration of the riverbed and access banks to its original conditions, and compliance with the requirements of the Conservation Commission.
A portion of this sewer was constructed using trenchless methods (pipe jacking) beneath the Saxonville Levee substructure, a flood control structure owned and regulated by the Army Corps of Engineers. The dewatering approach for the jacking work required deep wells as recommended. However, the wells alone could not pump enough to lower the water table below the bottom of the excavation. In order to overcome this challenge, the dewatering effort was supplemented by well points based on additional soil investigation and field conditions. This approach allowed the jacking to be completed in 4 days. This success required a detailed plan of the means and methods to access the river from the limited side banks, and maintain flow in a regulated waterway with multiple parties’ approvals (MWRA, DEP, and Army Corps) within a limited timeframe.
EP worked with the Contractor and the City to mitigate the impacts of the compressed 5 month schedule for this complex project. Construction Administration and Resident Engineering services for the utility improvements were provided by EP, and pavement/sidewalk improvements were included within the Contractor’s scope of work. EP was repeatedly able to assist the Town with cost and time-saving design modifications (e.g., dewatering of pipe-jacking operations, crossing utility lines, etc.). City Public Works officials repeatedly stated that this project was one of the most technically challenging construction projects in their careers. As a result of consistent service of the highest level and the strong relationships created while working on this project, EP was awarded a 3-year Master Services Agreement with the Town’s DPW for on-call Engineering Services after construction commenced.