file under: North America, Sustainability, Water, Program Management, Emergency Response

CDM Smith's Clean Water 2020 Program for Columbia, S.C., Wins National Award

program management approach builds smarter infrastructure in South Carolina's capital

April 14, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC—CDM Smith's work for the city of Columbia, South Carolina, has been recognized with an Honor Award in Operations and Maintenance from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES). The award was presented at the AAEES awards luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 2016.

Columbia's wastewater services faced aging infrastructure, budgetary constraints, deferred maintenance, and outdated operations and maintenance systems. As a result, increased sanitary sewer overflows resulted in an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) consent decree. To respond, the city developed the Clean Water 2020 program in collaboration with program manager CDM Smith. Clean Water 2020 builds smarter infrastructure and implements best business practices for the city. 

This project entailed, in part, a holistic assessment of Columbia’s complex system, including 67,000 service connections, 1,027 miles of gravity main, 30 miles of force main, 27,995 manholes and 56 pump stations. Once all these assets were evaluated, the data was added to an asset register to support efficient maintenance and budgeting for replacement and growth. The asset register will enable the city to plan, in detail, month-by-month and year-by-year as it maintains what it has and invests for the future. The city plans to spend more than $750 million on wastewater infrastructure in the next several years. 

The improvements proved their quality in October 2015, when flooding fueled by Hurricane Joaquin struck the city, causing damage and fatalities. Post-storm assessment of damage to city pump stations and equipment took just 1 month, thanks to the improvements. The response time to perform repairs was also substantially decreased. City Manager Teresa Wilson notes, “Previously, there were no means by which to track and evaluate asset conditions before and after a flood event. CDM Smith’s contributions to the city’s program helped prepare us to respond to the devastating impacts the flooding had on the city’s infrastructure.” 

AAEES is a nonprofit organization that promotes excellence in environmental engineering and science by providing board certification to qualified environmental engineers and scientists. The group provides industry training and also recognizes outstanding achievements in the industry. For more information about the AAEES awards competition, please visit the AAEES website.

CDM Smith provides lasting and integrated solutions in water, environment, transportation, energy and facilities to public and private clients worldwide. As a full-service engineering and construction firm, we deliver exceptional client service, quality results and enduring value across the entire project life cycle.