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Midland Water Pollution Control Plant Expansion Named One of the Nation’s Best Design-Build Projects

by: Jessica Hoover
An aerial view of the Midland WPCP after substantial completion. (Photo courtesy of Red Wing Photos)
An aerial view of the Midland WPCP after substantial completion. (Photo courtesy of Red Wing Photos)
The secondary treatment facilities shown are the blower facility, bioreactor, secondary clarifiers, and RAS/WAS pump station. (Photo courtesy of Red Wing Photos)
The secondary treatment facilities shown are the blower facility, bioreactor, secondary clarifiers, and RAS/WAS pump station. (Photo courtesy of Red Wing Photos)
With recent market analysis showing that the design-build project delivery method will account for as much as 47 percent of construction spending by 2025, the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) is seeing significant growth and success in design-build projects across the country. One such design-build project, the Midland Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) Expansion, was one of DBIA’s recently announced winners of the 2022 National Design-Build Project/Team Award.

Pioneer Water Management LLC, the City of Midland, and Jacobs formed an innovative partnership to provide a sustainable supply of water to the west Texas city by expanding and upgrading aging infrastructure at the Midland WPCP. A progressive design-build public-private partnership helped the team achieve budget goals and work on an accelerated schedule.

“We are seeing more impressive projects that are raising the bar for success for design-build teams across the country, pushing the limits of high performance and optimizing triple-bottom line success,” said Lisa Washington, CAE, DBIA Executive Director/CEO. “The collaborative mindset and spirit exhibited by these award-winning teams created the environment for innovative designs, clear lines of communication, and the whole-team approach necessary to elevate ingenuity and successfully navigate unprecedented challenges. DBIA is proud to honor this year’s design-build project and team winners, who are redefining what exceptionalism looks like and advancing the practices of the AEC industry and design-build’s role in our nation’s much-needed infrastructure programs.”

The award-winning projects and teams were evaluated by a panel of industry experts. Each winner will now go on to compete for a National Award of Excellence and Project of the Year to be announced at DBIA’s Design-Build Conference & Expo Awards Ceremony in November in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Midland Water Pollution Control Plant Partnership Promotes Sustainability
After seven years of planning and design work, the $134-million Midland WPCP Expansion not only provides a new wastewater treatment plant to the city, but also ensures nearby freshwater resources are being sustainably managed for future generations. Pioneer served as the client/owner, Jacobs as the design-build firm, general contractor, architect, and engineer, and PLW Waterworks LLC as the specialty contractor.

The progressive design-build public-private partnership began with Pioneer reaching out to the City of Midland to share the costs of the wastewater facility upgrade, which would help Pioneer perform their oil and gas operations more sustainably. Pioneer then contracted with Jacobs to perform upgrades to the plant, which would have otherwise been paid for through the City of Midland's utilities fund.

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Upgrades included secondary treatment processes: bioreactor, secondary clarification, filtration, disinfection, effluent pump station, solids thickening/dewatering, anaerobic digestion, and chemical facilities.

“Water is one of our strengths. You don't always think of sustainability with oil companies, but it is a very sustainable project,” said Steve Patterson, Vice President and Design-Build Director of Projects at Jacobs. “It released the pressure on groundwater and allowed us to really use all facets of our business from design all the way through construction. … It really allowed us to dissolve the different parts of our company and make a difference in that part of the country to get a more sustainable solution for water.”

As part of the partnership agreement, Pioneer also purchases the City of Midland’s reclaimed wastewater at a discounted price, which is then available for use in Pioneer’s water distribution system in the Permian Basin.

"Pioneer is dedicated to advancing water stewardship in the oil and gas industry, and our steadfast commitment to sustainability paired with operational excellence is paramount to the future of the company," said Mark Berg, Executive Vice President of Corporate Operations at Pioneer. "Our agreement with Midland moves Pioneer toward its goals of significantly reducing the use of freshwater in our operations and creating a reliable, long-term source of water.”

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