Location: Avalon, CA
Date: July 2, 2014
Avalon Bay water quality has made landmark progress over the last year and has received a special update mention in the 2013-2014 Annual Beach Report Card published by Heal the Bay on Thursday, May 22, 2014. For nearly a quarter century, the nonprofit Heal the Bay organization has issued its Beach Report Card, which analyzes and grades beaches based on levels of bacterial pollution in the water. The reports are widely recognized as the definitive source for beach water quality on the West Coast.
In the most recent water quality testing, the five monitoring sites in Avalon Bay received grades of: 1 A, 2 B’s and 2 C’s on the A-F scale used in the report.
Since 2006, Avalon has not received higher than a C grade, with approximately 86% of the time receiving an F grade. The positive change is attributed to many efforts over the years, which helped advance the understanding of the water quality factors and helped better target recent improvement investments. These investments addressed specific areas of concern and cover a wide range of capital improvements with the City’s sewer system, policy and procedural updates, stricter municipal codes and enforcement, collaboration with the residential and business community to increase awareness and involvement, and coordination with outside agencies.
The hallmark of the City’s overall plan to improve water quality in Avalon Bay was the sewer improvement program, which was developed and executed by RBF Consulting, a Company of Michael Baker International. Baker International played a key role in helping the City gain a better understanding of how to tackle such a multi-faceted problem and how to best allocate resources to achieve the most positive environmental impact. The firm’s experts were responsible for performing a city-wide sewer system condition assessment and prioritization program, design and construction of essential sewer main improvements and development of a Geographic Information System (GIS)-based inspection and tracking system as part of the City’s sanitary sewer inspection and repair program. Due to the limited accessibility to heavy contractors, Baker International utilized an innovative Construction Management at Risk (CMAR) delivery method to execute approximately $5 million of sewer improvements, which consisted of replacing or rehabilitating 2 miles of sewer pipe, much of it dating back to the 1920s, completing various spot repairs throughout the sewer system and upgrades to process equipment at the City’s wastewater treatment plant. A pre-qualification process was employed by Baker’s construction management team to ensure the highest quality of work and competitiveness was performed. The firm provided comprehensive design, inspection, construction management and post-construction support services. Additionally, Baker International helped the City create a Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) elimination program for the City’s 60+ restaurants and is working to create and implement the City’s 20-year capital improvement program to further upgrade the sewer collection and treatment system.
“The progress made in improving water quality in Avalon Bay has been monumental,” stated John Harris, Vice President for Michael Baker International. “The positive effects of the comprehensive sewer improvement program can be observed in the significant reduction in bacterial levels in the bay. It all began with the system-wide condition assessment program which identified critical deficiencies within the sewer system and allowed us to focus construction dollars on red-flag areas.”
This dramatic improvement not only removes beaches in Avalon from Heal the Bay’s Beach Bummer list, but also shows that the variety of investments have Avalon Bay headed in the right direction. Avalon and surface water quality experts at Michael Baker International are also working to address non-point source pollution, such as wet weather run-off and dry weather storm drainage discharge, to further reduce bacteria levels in the bay.
Mike Rudinica, Water Market Leader for Baker International added, “From CCTV, design, execution of the construction project to watershed management and GIS, the Avalon Project represents the comprehensive services that the Company offers.”
While this is fantastic news for this year, there is still significant work to be done to continue this progress and improve water quality in Avalon Bay.
About Michael Baker International, LLC
Michael Baker International, LLC (Baker International), is a leading global provider of engineering and consulting services which includes planning, architectural, environmental, construction, program management, and full life cycle support services as well as information technology and communications services and solutions. Baker provides its comprehensive range of services and solutions in support of U.S. federal, state, and municipal governments, foreign allied governments, and a wide range of commercial clients. With more than $1.3 billion in annual revenue, Baker International has more than 5,000 employees in over 90 offices located across the U.S. and internationally. To learn more about Michael Baker International visit: www.mbakerintl.com
Contact: Mark A. Miller