American Public Works Association (APWA)

Wilmette’s West Park Wet-Weather Storage Facility 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 Small Cities/Rural Communities – Structures category. This award honors agencies representing cities and communities with a population of 75,000 or less that have included public structure preservation/rehabilitation, municipal buildings, and parks.

The Small Cities/Rural Cities Project of the Year Award was established to promote excellence in demonstrating creativity, ingenuity and efficiency in the delivery of public works projects that have a profound impact on the community. For 2016, the team of winners includes the Village of Wilmette, IL, as the managing agency; Boller Construction Company, Inc., as the primary contractor; and RJN Group, Inc., as the primary consultant; who will be presented with the award during APWA’s 2016 PWX, Public Works Expo, annual conference taking place in Minneapolis, MN Ceremony during August 27-31, 2016.

The West Park Wet-Weather Storage Facility is a 5.5 million gallon, concrete, underground storage tank located below a multi-use public recreation facility on the west side of Wilmette,IL. The tank, which provides needed collection system capacity during wet-weather events, was designed and constructed under a joint-venture design-build partnership between RJN Group, Inc. and Boller Construction Company in just over a year. The new West Park Wet-Weather Storage Facility consists of a 5.5 million gallon underground concrete storage tank; and a three-pump lift station that pumps flow back into the system, recirculates flow in the tank, and flushes and cleans the tank. This unique system uses a single set of pumps to complete all processes providing savings during construction, as well as ease and efficiencies for ongoing maintenance. The environmentally-friendly solution also uses system water for mixing and the initial cleaning steps minimizing potable water usage. Potable water connections were provided to facilitate adding clean water to complete the flushing cycle.

The tank fills by gravity flow and does not require mechanical or electrical services. All system controls are automated and include a backup generator. System controls are housed in a control building at the West Park site that was designed to match the neighboring Park District building. All facilities are underground or located on the periphery of the park, and do not impact usable Park District field space.

The design-build project delivery required significant planning to develop partnerships early in the project, but proved to be very effective in meeting the project requirements. Design-build was also a benefit during the design process, because real construction experiences could be leveraged when making tough design decisions. This resulted in minimal change orders during construction.

Acquiring detailed data to determine where and what problems existed was critical to finding the right solution for the backup and overflow problems. The facility could not have been designed properly without capturing accurate flow data during the major rain events in 2013. Accurate data allowed representative modeling simulations to be conducted on the Village system resulting in appropriate recommendations and solutions. A smaller facility with no backflow protection, as originally envisioned, would have provided very little relief to the Village residents.

For more information on the APWA 2016 Projects of the Year or to get registered for a PWX Conference press pass, please contact APWA Media Relations and Communications Manager, Laura Bynum,, or call 202.218.6736.

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