Salem’s Marblehead Pipeline Replacement Project was recently named a 2016 Public Works Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association (APWA). The project is being honored with APWA’s Project of the Year award in the Environment category costing between $5 - $25 million. This award honors agencies that include treatment and recycling facilities, landfill reclamation projects, and sewer projects.

For 2016, the team of winners includes the South Essex Sewerage District in Salem, MA as the managing agency; Caldwell Maine International, as the primary contractor; and WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff as the primary consultant, who will be presented with the award during APWA’s 2016 PWX Conference Awards Ceremony in Minneapolis, MN during August 28-31, 2016.

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 in the Small Cities/Rural Communities area: Disaster/Emergency, Environment, Historical Restoration, Structures, and Transportation.

In early 2013, the South Essex Sewerage District was forced to act immediately on the threat of an environmental crisis. A broken pipeline drastically changed the course of the South Essex Sewerage District, placing all hands on deck to fix the pipe and evaluate the rest of the line. The District learned that despite fully understanding that the magnitude of the circumstances, correcting the problem would not come easily. Replacing the 6,000-foot-long twin pipeline would have been difficult to install across an active harbor -- never mind the rest of the hurdles that had to be overcome before the District, state and federal regulators, as well as local officials could breathe a sigh of relief.

The contractor, Caldwell Marine, was awarded the contract for the installation of the new pipeline. As they began to mobilize into Salem, the winter of 2014-15 produced a record amount of snowfall in the Boston area with over 110 inches. Most of that snow fell during the last weeks of January and throughout February. Caldwell assembled their barges and equipment through the difficult winter weather conditions, and finally the weather broke in spring of 2015 when Caldwell was then able to set up a staging/pipe assembly area.

Caldwell faced difficult staging issues and submitted many different plans to accommodate 12,000 feet of 24” HDPE pipe. This pipe was delivered in 50-foot lengths and had to be butt-fused in a fashion to allow it to be floated out to barges. Trucking materials this large through a tourist city such as Salem was a concern, so shipments were staggered over a period of two months, allowing the contractor to take delivery at a regulated pace without overwhelming the city’s streets or the staging area. Fortunately, Caldwell Marine worked with Footprint Power, a direct abutter to the SESD Treatment Facility, which turned out to be a pivotal opportunity for the contractor to maintain a useful staging and assembly area on Footprint property with direct access from District property. Between the Footprint Power staging area and District-owned land, Caldwell was able to pre-assemble 500-foot lengths on land where they were pressure tested and eventually floated out to barges where they were fused into longer strands.

American Public Works Association (APWA)

Despite the difficult conditions, the contractor managed to reach substantial completion by the contract completion deadline. It was a great feat completed by a strong team effort. From condition assessment to closeout, all members of the team had to perform diligently to ensure the well-being of the residents and environment. For more information on the APWA 2016 Projects of the Year, please contact APWA Media Relations and Communications Manager, Laura Bynum,, or call 202.218.6736.

Click here to view all projects.