News Mar 21, 2022

A OneWater Story: Water Affects Us and Connects Us All

What do Wapakoneta, Ohio; Dubai, UAE; Neil Armstrong and Jacobs have in common? They’re all part of Celebrating World Water Day and its ties to OneWater.

OneWater Story

What do Wapakoneta, Ohio; Dubai, UAE; Neil Armstrong and Jacobs have in common?

OneWater. It may sound like a stretch, but water affects us and connects us all, especially in Wapakoneta, the birthplace of Neil Armstrong and the location one of Jacobs long-term clients. And with March 22nd, being the day the world comes together to celebrate water – Jacobs will highlight its OneWater approach at Expo 2020 Dubai this week.

There you go, a full OneWater circle.

Jacobs’ relationship with the City of Wapakoneta, Ohio, began in 1939 and our team continues to serve as an advocate for the city including working on current infrastructure projects that represents the largest the city has ever implemented. Recent changes in Wapakoneta, including substantial industrial growth, provided a need for a holistic approach to addressing the its water uses. Enter OneWater – our comprehensive, integrated and collaborative approach to understanding complex water challenges and just what the city needed to address challenges related to creating economic growth while managing its water resources sustainably, equitably and safely.

Established first in 1748 as a critical trading post for the French, the City of Wapakoneta was formally established in 1833. The history of Wapakoneta, along with the history of American space travel, was forever changed when Neil Armstrong was born there in 1930.

Wapakoneta’s storied history also includes a continued focus on protecting its water resources and being a steward of the environment. The city was working toward reducing combined sewer overflows (CSOs) when sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) were identified. Pratt Industries (Pratt) approached the city the same year with the largest economic investment in the city’s history. Pratt’s new facility requires makeup water from the city’s water treatment plant (WTP) and a discharge to the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) requiring the expansion of both plants.

Sustainable, equitable innovation-driven delivery

Wapakoneta submitted an initial Long-Term Control Plan (LTCP) to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) to reduce CSOs in 2009. Fast forward a decade and the city was faced with eliminating SSOs, completing CSO improvements and making significant infrastructure investments to serve its new industrial partner. City leadership engaged the full range of affected stakeholders: residents, industrial users, regulatory agencies and others. Wapakoneta prioritized solutions that promoted economic development, provided meaningful co-benefits and minimized impacts to precious water resources. They had a clear vision: Equitable access to its water resources. This encompasses use as drinking water, protecting water quality in the Auglaize River and its aquatic habitats and recreational uses and providing water services for commercial and industrial users to realize social and economic benefits

Wapakoneta focused its efforts by defining four key challenges:

  1. Too much water: CSOs and SSOs.
  2. Not enough capacity: WTP and WWTP upgrades.
  3. Protecting water quality of the Auglaize River.
  4. Maximizing economic and social benefits.

This OneWater approach allowed the city to focus on an integrated plan to address these challenges through several key components:

  1. Regularly monitoring water quality within the watershed.
  2. Assessing water resources availability: groundwater and surface water.
  3. Efficiently implementing new infrastructure, including
    1. Selecting technology that minimizes project costs and protects water quality.
    2. Conducting WWTP upgrades to address capacity limitations, reduce CSOs and eliminate SSOs.
    3. Designing with the future in mind providing continued economic growth and the ability to meet future regulatory requirements.
Water treatment plant mockup

Water Treatment Plant upgrades

The WTP upgrade included two main projects. The first included the expansion of WTP capacity to provide timely service to the city’s new industrial user. The second project came after the city developed its OneWater plan and involved converting theexisting ion exchange softening WTP to lime softening to reduce the total dissolved solids (TDS) load to the WWTP as a commitment to reduce water quality impacts to the Auglaize River. Wapakoneta included additional treatment capacity along with adding three new groundwater wells as part of its overall economic growth strategy. 

Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrades

Wapakoneta’s WWTP Expansion Project started with three goals: eliminate SSOs, reduce CSOs and address the average WWTP capacity constraints. The project sought to utilize Jacobs’ full suite of integrated services to provide the highest value.. To address the first two goals, we provided field services, infiltration and inflow source determination, condition assessment and hydraulic model buildout to mitigate CSOs and SSOs.

To continue on Wapakoneta’s vision, our team understood that the city required more than the standard professional services. Implementation of this key component of its OneWater plan required flexibility, meeting tight regulatory schedules and delivering value-driven infrastructure upgrades. The city selected an alternative delivery method, Construction Management-at-Risk (CMAR) to do just that.

We used the CMAR model for improvements at both of the treatment plants, providing increased control to  the city, increased collaboration among the team and increased cost certainty. By choosing CMAR, the city realized one of the key benefits of the delivery service – how innovative methods can alleviate material cost escalation on the budget.

The OneWater approach opened the entire teams’ mindset to view all water as a resource, not as stormwater, wastewater, drinking water or water for industry but as one water; unlocking innovation and viewing challenges more holistically.

Meanwhile, back in Dubai...

It’s World Water Day and our team is marking the day with several talks during Water Week at Expo 2020 Dubai:

  • Our Global Water Director Susan Moisio will talk about innovation in water conservation and the price of water.
  • During the World Water Day Flagship Event, Vice President of Global Sustainability Zoe Haseman will moderate a deep dive inviting Expo’s international participants to showcase tangible approaches to the plan, design, construction and operations of the Expo site, and the impact that has been made beyond the site and the 6-month event.
  • Global Digital Market Director Raja Kadiyala will explore how digitalization and innovation can create sustainable water networks.
  • Adam Hosking, global water resources & resilience solutions director, will cover public-private partnerships, the water value chain and more.

For more on our OneWater solutions, explore or this can’t miss “In the kNOW” webinar, One Water: An Integrated, Inclusive Approach to a Sustainable Water Future.