Recycled water project receives Engineering Excellence Award


The American Council of Engineering Companies California named Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s (OMWD) Village Park Recycled Water Project a 2018 Engineering Excellence Merit Award winner at a recent award ceremony in Los Angeles. OMWD accepted the award with partner Infrastructure Engineering Corporation of Poway, a key engineering consultant that designed the project.

With the completion of the project, OMWD is able to serve up to 114 million gallons of recycled water each year through coordination with San Elijo Joint Powers Authority, multiple utilities, and the City of Encinitas. It was funded in part with a grant from California’s Department of Water Resources.

“This project enables OMWD to expand the delivery of recycled water, reducing reliance on imported water that is susceptible to drought,” said OMWD Board President Lawrence Watt. “It is an important part of OMWD’s ongoing effort to improve the sustainability and reliability of our water supply portfolio, and will be critical to serving our customers in coming years, particularly with the uncertainty of water supply conditions due to weather patterns or state regulations.”

A great deal of public outreach was required for the project, both before and during construction, including open houses, public tours, and a community hotline. OMWD and its partners met with nearby homeowner associations and schools to determine the most effective route for pipelines and seized each opportunity during construction to implement redesigns to incorporate additional customers. Nonetheless, though the initial timeframe to complete the project was two years, it was finished four months ahead of schedule.

Interagency collaboration was key to the project and has yielded mutually successful results. OMWD had numerous irrigation customers that could utilize recycled water were a source and delivery system in place, while neighboring San Elijo Joint Powers Authority had recycled water available but needed increased operational storage. IEC facilitated efforts to address both agencies’ needs through the conversion of OMWD’s one-million-gallon potable water tank to recycled water, construction of 6.7 miles of distribution pipelines, and installation of a new 1,200-gallons-per-minute pump station. The new system improves SEJPA operations and expands recycled water deliveries for OMWD.

“This project exemplifies the creativity, responsive service, collaborative spirit, and dedication to quality we have come to expect of the IEC team during the 15 years they have worked with OMWD as a consultant,” said OMWD Engineering Manager George Briest. “Throughout the process, IEC’s communication and coordination with OMWD staff was exemplary, and the project has met our needs in every way—cost, schedule compliance, and operation.”

ACEC California’s annual Engineering Excellence Awards competition recognizes outstanding achievements in engineering and land surveying projects completed by California firms. In 2017, 18 Honor Awards were granted to 12 projects, with an additional 20 Merit Awards granted to 11 firms. The full list of Honor and Merit Award winning projects can be found at