Photo courtesy of APWA
Photo courtesy of APWA Photo courtesy of APWA

La Jolla’s Ecological Reserve Low Flow Diversion Project was recently named a 2015 Public Works Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association (APWA). The City of San Diego, CA, as the managing agency; Palm Engineering Construction Co., Inc., as the primary contractor; and Harris & Associates as the primary consultant; will all be presented with the national Project of the Year Award during APWA’s 2015 International Public Works Congress & Exposition Awards Ceremony in Phoenix, Arizona during August 30-September 2, 2015.

The APWA Public Works Projects of the Year awards are presented annually to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects, recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, contractor, consultant and their cooperative achievements. This year, APWA selected projects in five categories: Disaster/Emergency, Environment, Historical Restoration, Structures and Transportation. The San Diego/ La Jolla Ecological Reserve Low Flow Diversion Project was awarded the APWA Project of the Year in the Environment category at a cost less than $5 million.

Low Flow contamination of the La Jolla Cove Ecological Reserve State Marine Conservation Area of Special Biological Significance Number 29 (ASBS 29) was identified by the state of California as one of the 36 most significant sites and sources of pollution in California. ASBS 29 includes approximately 1.7 miles of shoreline with 453 acres of marine habitat and a marine protected area.

There are 184 direct discharges of urban runoff into ASBS 29 and naturally occurring streams or gullies in the community tributary that receive discharge, retaining wall backdrains and groundwater seepage. The discharges from these sources are hazardous and are primary causes to water pollution levels in the ASBS, and the La Jolla Ecological Reserve Low Flow Diversion Project was developed to reduce water pollution levels.

The state funded state-of-the-art trenchless technology and system controls accommodated community needs from design through construction. The finished project now collects and diverts contaminated low flow below the highly traveled Torrey Pines Road, moving it away from the sensitive biological and recreational area safely to the sewer system for treatment.

The La Jolla Ecological Reserve Low Flow Diversion Project now benefits the marine ecosystem, the beachgoers, and the local and state economy that depend on coast water quality. The outreach and innovation helped reduce construction impacts and the project was completed without accidents amid a heavily traveled Torrey Pines Road.

For more information on the APWA 2015 Projects of the Year, please contact APWA Media Relations/Communications Manager, Laura Bynum,, or call 202.218.6736.