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Indianapolis, IN, USA (HQ)

903 E. Ohio St., Indianapolis, IN 46202

Call: (317) 423-2325


HDR Earns 2022 ACEC Engineering Excellence Award for Project in Florida

MARTIN COUNTY, FL — An HDR project in Florida recently received a 2022 Engineering Excellence Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC). The state-winning project advanced to the national ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards competition, which culminates with the announcement of national award winners at the Engineering Excellence Awards Gala on May 24. The gala, which recognizes the year’s most remarkable engineering achievements, is part of the 2022 ACEC Annual Conference.

The C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area in Martin County, Florida, won the Grand Award. Home to more than 4,300 species of plants and animals, and supporting more than $730 million in annual economic impact, the ecologically vital Southern Indian River Lagoon region has been inundated with freshwater and pollutants. To reverse the harm on these sensitive ecosystems, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) constructed the C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area.

Lake Okeechobee — known as Florida’s “Inland Sea” — is the largest freshwater lake in the state. The lake has been used, in combination with a vast series of waterways, to control flooding in Florida’s low-lying areas since the mid-1930s. One of these waterways, the St. Lucie Canal (C-44) runs from the lake’s eastern edge to the St. Lucie River, then to the St. Lucie Estuary and, finally, feeds the Indian River Lagoon. Over time, releasing too much freshwater too quickly from the lake greatly affected the estuary’s salinity. Water quality was further degraded by fertilizers from domestic, commercial, and agricultural runoff between the lake and the estuary.

As the first part of the Indian River Lagoon South Restoration Project and part of the greater Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, the C-44 Stormwater Treatment Area project will reverse the damaging effects of pollution and unnaturally large freshwater discharges into these ecologically vital water bodies. By traveling through a 3,400-acre, 15-foot-deep reservoir and 6,300 acres of stormwater treatment areas, the water will traverse constructed wetlands for sedimentation and nutrient reduction.

HDR's team has worked on this project since 2004, and has developed the project from site evaluation, through basis of design, to the detailed design and construction documents, including construction phase and start-up support. Originally planned as a single project, due to funding limitations, it has now been split between 16 separate contracts led by SFWMD or USACE. HDR's team has remained involved throughout, participating in interagency and public meetings and workshops to facilitate the permit process and share information with the community. HDR provided on-site engineering during construction services until the project was completed in late 2021.

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