For Immediate Release: September 29, 1999

MWRA Awards Innovative Design/Build Contract To Construct a 115 Million-Gallon Water Tank In Weston

The MWRA Board of Directors today awarded an $89.4 million contract to design and build a 115 million-gallon water storage tank at Norumbega Reservoir in Weston. The contract was awarded to Norumbega Contractors, a joint venture of J.F. White Contracting Co. and Slattery Skanska, Inc., with Metcalf and Eddy, Inc. and Weidlinger Associates as major participants.

With the design/build construction method, a single contractor provides both design and construction services, rather than the owner separately contracting with a designer and then a general contractor. MWRA has hired the engineering firm of Malcom Pirnie, Inc. to serve as its own expert representative and help oversee the work of the design/build contractor. By using the design/build method, MWRA expects to shorten the duration of the project, reduce overall project costs and eliminate the potential for disputes over design errors.

"MWRA is committed to providing a high-quality finished product while working to achieve cost and schedule savings wherever possible," said MWRA Director of Capital Engineering and Construction John F. Shawcross. "The design/build approach is widely recognized as a method with the potential for time and cost savings."

State law only allows the use of design/build contracting if special permission has been obtained from the Massachusetts Legislature. To expedite the design and construction process, MWRA sought and obtained that permission in 1997. At the same time MWRA acquired the necessary 36-acres of land for the project from the Town of Weston and the Weston Forest and Trail Association.

In June 1998, the MWRA publicly advertised a Request for Qualifications Statements from firms interested in competing for the design/build contract. Through this process, five firms were ultimately invited to submit detailed proposals. In July, 1999 Proposals were received from four firms. Through a pre-established selection process, responsive proposals were evaluated based on both technical and cost criteria.

The Norumbega Covered Storage project is the next major step in MWRA’s Integrated Water Supply Improvement Program. The 10 year, $1.7 billion program includes the construction of the 17.6 mile MetroWest Water Supply Tunnel, the Walnut Hill Water Treatment Plant in Marlborough, Watershed Protection, pipeline rehabilitation, and five concrete water storage tanks, including Norumbega. The tanks are designed to preserve drinking water quality and eliminate the risk of surface water runoff and airborne contamination that open reservoirs are susceptible to.

"The construction of the Norumbega Covered Storage tank is a key link in MWRA’s Integrated Water Supply Improvement Program designed to ensure our high quality drinking water remains safe all the way to the customer’s tap," said MWRA Executive Director Douglas B. MacDonald. "When the major components of the program are completed in 2004, water treated at the new plant in Marlborough will be delivered to customers in a closed system of pipes and tanks without being exposed to contamination from birds, animals, or the atmosphere."


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