Silicon Valley Clean Water (SVCW) is a joint powers authority in the San Francisco Bay Area serving the cities of Belmont, Redwood City, San Carlos, and the West Bay Sanitary District; it is considered one of the most innovative and dynamic agencies in California. The location of SVCW next to San Francisco Bay, with a conveyance pipeline that passes through a national wildlife refuge and a California state park, has prompted SVCW’s commissioners, staff, and communities to define SVCW’s mission with a high priority on environmental stewardship and protecting public health.
Kennedy Jenks has two major assignments as part of a diverse team of consultants and contractors supporting SVCW as it executes the $550 million Regional Environmental Sewer Conveyance Upgrade (RESCU) Program: 1) Program Manager overseeing the execution of the RESCU Program; and 2) Owner’s advisor for the gravity tunnel project (one of the three RESCU Program projects), which is a technical support role involving advising SVCW management and SVCW’s project manager.
SVCW selected Kennedy Jenks based on the firm’s ability to execute complex work and deliver superb technical results as part of a unified team of more than 15 partner firms. Key to success in this situation was the commitment to pursue the strongest approach and continually utilize knowledge that was most responsive to the client’s needs. This consultative role plays to Kennedy Jenks’ experience in achieving the client’s overall vision through effective advisory services, facilitation, schedule, cost control, and communications skills, among others. This approach enabled SVCW to access critical technical guidance while retaining overall control of, and engagement in, all facets of the RESCU Program.
As Program Manager, Kennedy Jenks provided support to SVCW throughout the construction contract procurement process, which involved helping SVCW with the transition of all three RESCU Program projects to a Progressive Design-Build project delivery format. Kennedy Jenks’ support included supporting SVCW on the $250 million gravity pipeline tunnel project, the largest of the three projects in the RESCU Program. The other projects consist of a new headworks and 80 MGD raw wastewater pump station, and the rehabilitation or replacement of two of the existing conveyance pump stations. Currently under construction, the gravity pipeline project has used a tunnel boring machine and is one of the largest diameter tunnels to be used for raw wastewater conveyance. It is also one of the first of its size in the San Francisco Bay Area. The owner and contractor were able to use Kennedy Jenks’ original pre-design concept for the tunnel alignment and shaft locations, which allowed SVCW to expedite the final design process, achieve cost savings, and minimize impacts to the community during construction.
Key benefits of the Progressive Design-Build approach include early input from the contractor on constructability, providing opportunities for cost savings from value engineering. In addition, this project delivery approach utilizes a risk-sharing model between the owner and the contractor that removes a significant source of contention, which is all too frequent in conventional project delivery. The essence of this approach is that all parties play a significant role as part of a team where every entity recognizes the value of working collaboratively on behalf of the client. Overall, Kennedy Jenks is overseeing a diverse and widespread team of 120 members, consisting of SVCW staff, consultants, and contractors, working as a cohesive group in the Progressive Design-Build project delivery format. One of Kennedy Jenks’ roles as Program Manager is to promote close interaction between the different project teams and a commitment to clear communications, strong leadership, access to information, and collaboration.
Kennedy Jenks’ commitment to SVCW goes back to the original facility design in the 1970s, and we have been listening to the client’s needs ever since by building high-performing teams and mobilizing top talent to achieve strong collaboration, all while working towards a common goal. As part of SVCW’s success story, SVCW staff, commissioners, Kennedy Jenks staff, and many team members were featured on the cover of the 2019 Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) annual report along with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) regional representative in recognition of SVCW’s success. SVCW received a $218 million loan from the USEPA under the WIFIA program to allow the agency to continue to upgrade its regional infrastructure.