A joint venture of Filanc and Brown and Caldwell has been tapped as design-builder for a membrane filtration reverse osmosis facility for the City of Escondido, Calif. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2020.

After years of project-start delays due to residents’ objection to two previous locations, Escondido chose a site long slated for industrial use for the MFRO facility, its cost-constraining resolution to offset the near-capacity outfall of wastewater to the ocean. Recycled water from the Escondido Hale Avenue Resource Recovery Facility will be routed to MFRO facility, which will treat and output 2 million gallons per day for the area’s avocado farms, which produce $40 million in annual revenue, according to Escondido Growers for Agricultural Preservation.

Construction of the MFRO facility will save the city approximately $400 million in avoidance costs of replacing the current outfall system, and cut water costs substantially for local farmers, says Angela Morrow, deputy director of utilities for the City of Escondido.

The progressive design-build contract is estimated to be in the mid-$40-million range, says Gary P. Silverman, project manager for Filanc, headquartered in Escondido.

While MRFO technology is not new, Silverman says the progressive design-build model for public utilities is an increasingly popular choice. Municipalities benefit from the collaboration from iteration to operation, which shrinks project timelines.

“The progressive design build process allows us to integrate as a full team—not just the designer and the constructor, but also the owner, to build the project that the owner wants,” says Silverman, who points to the half dozen workshops and tours of neighboring plants the project team has hosted so the city can make ongoing decisions about how it wants the MRFO facility to function.

Escondido is building provisions into the design so that the facility can expand to treat water for indirect potable reuse in the future. The contract also calls for extended operations and maintenance—Filanc/Brown and Caldwell will stay on site after construction is complete to onboard and train city workers.