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                        Milwaukee Sewer tunnel receives American Public Works Association Project of the Year award


Kansas City, Mo. (September 20, 2006) — The Milwaukee Northwest Side Relief Sewer project was presented with a Project of the Year Award by the  American Public Works Association (APWA) on Sept. 11 during the APWA International Public Works Congress and Exposition in Kansas City.

Representatives from Black & Veatch, the primary consultant and design engineer for the project; the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD), managing agency; and Shea-Kenny Joint Venture, primary contractor, accepted the award.  

When Milwaukee, Wis., faced sewer overflows and basement backups during wet weather as a result of aging and undersized infrastructure, the MMSD formulated a farsighted proposal to accommodate growth, protect water quality and safeguard public health within its 420-square-mile service area. The Northwest Side Relief Sewer was the number-one priority Capital Improvement Project in the district’s 2010 Facilities Plan.

“The successful completion of this project is a giant step toward completing our $900 million overflow reduction plan,” said Roger Maurer, MMSD Conveyance Section Manager. “Everyone involved in the development of the Northwest Side Relief Sewer pulled together to achieve project goals and earn this prestigious award.”


With a cost of more than $125 million, the tunnel took longer than a year to dig and required a machine powerful enough to cut a 22-foot-diameter hole through bedrock.

More than seven years of planning, design and construction went into the 7.1-mile sewer tunnel, which serves seven northwestern Milwaukee area communities.


The project demonstrates important strategies to confront capital-intensive sewer overflow challenges, where available funding often falls short and pressure to meet regulatory compliance is intense. The large-scale, multi-functional tunnel both transports and stores wastewater 130 to 180 feet below ground, reducing the need for additional storage facilities. Its design makes shrewd use of the existing system, enabling the community to prosper through future growth and development.

Designed and constructed for maximum groundwater quality protection, the Northwest Side Relief Sewer benefits area residents by providing greatly reduced wet weather overflows and basement flooding; relief to existing interceptor sewers with added system capacity for future growth; 89 million gallons of additional storage to accommodate excess flow; an energy-saving design that fills and drains by gravity, eliminating the need for an additional pump station; and operational simplicity and minimal maintenance requirements. The project also establishes advanced risk management techniques as critical to success in large-scale underground construction.

“Progressive risk management and careful planning added project value for our Milwaukee clients,” said Dan McCarthy, President and CEO of the water business of Black & Veatch. “The project team achieved on-schedule, under-budget performance despite the many risks inherent in a tunnel of this magnitude.”

APWA Project of the Year awards are presented annually to promote management and administration excellence of public works projects by recognizing alliances between managing agencies, contractors, consultants and their cooperative achievements in various categories. The Milwaukee Northwest Side Relief Sewer earned the award in the “more than $100 million” range of the Environment category.

The American Public Works Association ( is a not-for-profit, international organization of more than 27,000 members involved in the field of public works. Originally chartered in 1937, APWA serves its members by promoting professional excellence and public awareness through education, advocacy and the exchange of knowledge. With 67 chapters throughout North America, APWA is headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., and has an office in Washington, D.C.

About Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch Corporation is a leading global engineering, consulting and construction company specializing in infrastructure development in energy, water, information and government market sectors. Founded in 1915, Black & Veatch develops tailored infrastructure solutions that meet clients’ needs and provide sustainable benefits. Solutions include conceptual and preliminary engineering services, engineering design, procurement, construction, financial management, asset management, information technology, environmental, security design and consulting, and management consulting services.

Black & Veatch’s water business provides innovative, technology-based solutions to utilities, governments and industries worldwide. Local project managers work with a global team of water and wastewater treatment process experts to address site-specific challenges through a broad range of consulting, study, planning, design, design-build and construction management services. The employee-owned company has more than 90 offices worldwide. Black & Veatch is ranked on the Forbes “500 Largest Private Companies in the United States” listing. The company’s Web site address is




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