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County breaks ground on $65 million water reclamation and sewer infrastructure project

The Montgomery County Sewer Modernization and Revitalized Treatment (SMART) Project broke ground at the Western Regional Water Reclamation Facility (WRWRF) today. The construction includes a new pump station on Dryden Road and a pretreatment facility at WRWRF.

The $65 million project is the largest Montgomery County has invested in, to date.

“We must have the required infrastructure in place to ensure the capability of our sewer and water reclamation systems today and for the next 100 years,” said Montgomery County Commission President Carolyn Rice.

The County has provided water and sewer services for citizens for nearly 100 years. The pump, to be installed on Dryden Road, will help counteract gravity by pushing the millions of gallons of wastewater that go through the pump station, out and under the river, past the Moraine airfield, and end at the WRWRF.

The County’s Water Reclamation Facilities (Western and Eastern) see an average of 20 million gallons of wastewater each day.

“In 2021, the Western and Eastern Water Reclamation Facilities treated more than 7½ billion gallons of wastewater,” said County Commissioner Judy Dodge. “This is a process worth investing in.”

County Administrator Michael Colbert explained that the County operates and maintains 1,200 miles of sewer lines. “To put that into perspective,” Colbert said, “it is 1,200 miles from here to Denver, Colorado.”

“We have to stay on top of our maintenance to keep those lines functioning and replace them when needed,” he said. “And that’s where local businesses and a capable workforce come into play.”

“This is an exciting time,” said County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman. “Not just in the water treatment world, but also, in the local business world, because this development brings opportunities.”

Local company, Ulliman Schutte was awarded the $65 million contract. Lieberman praised Ulliman Schutte for incorporating minority, disadvantaged and under-advantaged contractors and subcontractors into the project.

“It is projects like this one that really show off our County’s talented workforce,” said Lieberman. “It also shows that it takes teamwork to pull off large projects like this.”

Colbert also touted the diverse subconsultants hired by Ulliman Schutte, specifically Wise Construction, which is a minority-owned local business.

“I know Wise Construction is a great business and provides quality work because we’ve utilized them within the County,” said Colbert. “In fact, they’re finishing up the 8th floor of our Administration building right now.”

Matt Hilliard is the Director of Montgomery County Environmental Services. He said, “There are many who helped identify risks in our system, to include critical infrastructure that we knew was nearing the end of its lifecycle.”

“This project is absolutely the right thing to do, and this is absolutely the right time to do it,” said Hilliard. The project is expected to be completed in 2024.