Clarksville Connected Utilities Water Source Mitigation

Utility officials in Clarksville, Arkansas, found themselves in a race they had to win. They put Olsson on their team to make sure they did.

The unusual circumstances stemmed from construction of the Diamond Pipeline, designed to transport domestic sweet crude oil 440 miles from Cushing, Oklahoma, to Memphis, Tennessee. It was discovered the selected route intersected the streams that supply raw water for treatment and distribution to 28,000 residential and industrial customers in Clarksville and the surrounding area.

Clarksville Connected Utilities (CCU) needed a mitigation solution to preserve the integrity of its water system in case of a pipeline leak. And the utility needed the solution before 200,000 barrels of oil began flowing beneath the critical watersheds every day.

CCU retained Olsson to serve as the prime engineer on the project.

Our team started by conducting a study that identified the potential hazards to CCU’s two raw water intakes and proposed several mitigation alternatives. The utility’s leadership chose a strategy to:

  1. Relocate one intake on Spadra Creek so that it would be situated upstream of the pipeline crossing, removing the intake from the path of a potential oil leak
  2. Improve the second intake by installing a new port and screen at a deeper location in Piney Bay. The measure allows full intake capacity at a water depth that would be below the contamination plume of an oil release.

The project involved construction of a water intake and pumping facility, plus making improvements to an existing intake facility. Other elements included installation of a transmission line and the addition of fiber optics for SCADA remote monitoring of the pump stations. Using a Construction Manager At-Risk procurement approach, the work was completed in three phases.  

Building a pump station at a remote location on Spadra Creek presented additional challenges. We designed access roads that were constructed in an environmentally sensitive area, and we also came up with a temporary creek channel to reroute the stream flow so water delivery would not be interrupted while the new intake was installed.

Working closely with Van Horn Construction, we helped deliver the project ahead of schedule and at an actual cost of $5.6 million, which was nearly $1.3 million under budget.

Exceptional organization, communication, and responsiveness by Olsson was crucial to the project’s success, according to John Lester, CCU’s general manager.

“We were literally in a race with the pipeline company and needed our project completed prior to their oil flowing,” he said. “Working collaboratively with our construction manager at risk, Olsson’s expeditious attention to our needs was a key component that helped Clarksville Connected Utilities … have our project completed first.”

But it wasn’t the only victory. The project also won a 2020 ACEC Arkansas Engineering Excellence Award in the water/wastewater division.

Brad Hammond
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