The American Council of Engineering Cos. of Colorado honored the winners of its 2017 Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) on Nov. 7 at a luncheon at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver.

Merrick & Co. won the association’s Grand Conceptor Award, presented for the overall best engineering project, for the Hydrothermal Processing Pilot System. Excellence Awards were presented to Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co. Inc. for the Williams Monaco Wastewater Treatment Plant BNR Upgrades, Dewberry for the Rueter-Hess Water Purification Facility, HDR Engineering Inc. for the U.S. 36 Express Lanes, Martin/Martin Consulting Engineers for the HARBORCENTER and Merrick & Co. for Antarctica in High Definition.

Projects designed by Colorado engineering firms were rated by a panel of industry professionals who judged each project on its uniqueness and innovative applications; future value to the engineering profession; perception by the public; social, economic and sustainable development considerations; complexity; and successful fulfillment of client and owner's needs, including schedule and budget.  

Colorado’s Grand Conceptor and Engineering Excellence Award projects will advance to the ACEC national competition early next year. Those winners will be announced on April 25 at a gala in Washington, D.C., during ACEC’s 50th anniversary Engineering Excellence Awards program.

The Colorado winners are:

2017 Grand Conceptor Award

Genifuel Hydrothermal Processing Pilot System, Greenwood Village, Colo. Engineer: Merrick & Co.

Genifuel Corp. was licensed to transform a mixture of 20% algae and 80% water into bio-crude oil and natural gas. Genifuel was seeking to scale the system up to a pilot-plant scale to process one wet ton per day of the feed. Merrick & Co. provided lump-sum turnkey services that included engineering, cost estimating, procurement, fabrication and assembly oversight and commissioning.

The bio-crude oil can be refined by conventional processes into finished fuels such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, while the methane gas can be used to produce renewable electricity. The project was completely engineered, assembled, fabricated and commissioned in Colorado.

Excellence Awards

Williams Monaco Wastewater Treatment Plant BNR Upgrades, Henderson, Colo.
Engineer:  Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co. Inc.

Burns & McDonnell Engineering assisted the South Adams County Water and Sanitation District through all stages of an expansion and upgrade to its wastewater treatment plant. The project improved energy efficiency and operator and public safety, reduced water usage, came in nearly $80,000 under budget and was completed three months ahead of schedule.

Rueter-Hess Water Purification Facility, Parker, Colo. Engineer: Dewberry
The Parker Water & Sanitation District began a multi-phase plan in 1985 to a build infrastructure to capture, store, treat and distribute water from renewable sources by 2015. The Rueter-Hess Water Purification Facility now successfully treats raw water that includes surface runoff, groundwater, alluvial well water and reclaimed wastewater. The process allows the district to move away from mining nonrenewable groundwater resources and toward the sustainable practice of reusing treated wastewater and other renewable water resources.

U.S. 36 Express Lanes, Denver to Boulder. Engineer: HDR Engineering Inc.
The U.S. 36 Boulder Turnpike Express Lanes project added a tolled / high-occupancy vehicle lane, bus rapid transit, new mass transit stations and electronic display signage. Improvements included widening the highway to accommodate 12-ft-wide inside and outside shoulders, adding a commuter bikeway along the entire corridor, widening several bridges along the highway and adding a diverging diamond interchange. It is also the first P3 project for the Colorado Dept. of Transportation.

HARBORCENTER, Buffalo, N.Y. Engineer: Martin/Martin Consulting Engineers
The project integrates unique structural systems for parking, retail, hotel services, ice rinks, locker rooms, training facilities, restaurants and meeting space. The structure features an exposed wood roof, reminiscent of historical skating sheds, and is the first elevated ice rink to span over an active roadway.

Antarctica in High Definition, McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Engineer: Merrick & Co.
McMurdo Research Station, originally built in 1956, is the largest community in Antarctica. It supports up to 1,250 residents. As part of a master planning team, Merrick & Co. used tripod-mounted LiDAR technology to create a high-definition representation of facilities and infrastructure at the station to guide its future development.

ACEC/CO also presented Honor Awards to HDR Engineering Inc. for PAR 1088-South Platte Interceptor Project, Farnsworth Group Inc. for South Fort Collins Sanitation District New Headworks and Dewatering Facilities, ME Engineers for the T-Mobile Arena: A New Venue and NHL Home for Las Vegas; Muller Engineering Co. Inc. for Peaks to Plains Trail: Clear Creek Canyon Segment, and Parsons Transportation Group Inc. for Eisenhower Johnson Memorial Tunnels Fixed Fire Suppression System.

Merit Awards recipients were AECOM for 21st Street and Wynkoop Street Urban Design Plan; AECOM for Public Infrastructure TOD-38th and Blake Street; Atkins for I-70 Twin Tunnels Widening Project; Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company Inc. for Dodd Water Treatment Facility Upgrades; Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company Inc. for 2015 Pump Station Improvements; FEI Engineers Inc. for Lyons Wastewater Treatment Facility Improvements; Felsburg Holt & Ullevig for U.S. 6 Design-Build; Martino and Luth Inc. for the Art, a hotel; and MDP Engineering Group for the Art, a hotel.