The 2023 ACEC/Iowa Engineering Excellence Awards winning projects in the Water & Wastewater Category, in the order listed:

Water and Wastewater Grand Place Award  (1st Place in Category)

Firm: HDR
Client/Owner: Council Bluffs Water Works
Project:  Council Bluffs Water Works Council Point Water Treatment Plant

Council Bluffs Water Works was facing increasing industrial and commercial water demands that could not be met with the existing 20 million gallons per day (MGD) Council Bluffs Narrows Water Treatment Plant (WTP). In addition, the existing distribution system could not accommodate the growth in the southern portion of the service area without substantial improvements. Engineering studies revealed that the most cost-effective solution was the development of a new wellfield and 5 MGD water purification plant located on the south edge of the City of Council Bluffs, approximately 8 miles south of the Council Bluffs Narrows WTP. Together, Council Bluffs Water Works (CBWW) and HDR, Inc. (HDR) enhanced the strength of the City’s water system with the comprehensive planning, design and construction of the Council Point Water Treatment Plant (CPWTP).

The expansion of the wellfield and water purification plant required careful planning to address not only the technical factors involved in treating the water (such as high levels of iron, manganese and hardness found in the raw water), but also the development of the sites, costs, changes in technology since the original plant construction, permitting requirements, and long-term objectives.

In the original construction, membrane treatment using low pressure membranes (ultrafiltration) followed by high pressure membranes (reverse osmosis) was selected as the preferred technology over conventional lime softening due to its small footprint, ability to meet water quality goals (filtration and softening), reduced treatment residuals, expandability, capability of being remotely operated from the existing Narrows WTP and overall lowest life cycle costs.

Low pressure membrane technology at the CPWTP will served as a model for other Iowa communities since the initial construction of the CPWTP. As the industry has obtained more experience with low pressure membranes, Council Point has been on the forefront of identifying and overcoming the limits of the membrane technologies.

The CPWTP was designed to be readily expanded to 10 MGD without major construction. The overall site and aquifer have an expansion capacity up to 20 MGD. This facility provides a secondary source of water for the growing community of Council Bluffs and improves both the redundancy and reliability of the City’s water supply. In the near-term, it will reduce transmission main costs for service to growth areas and will provide the necessary infrastructure for future expansion.

From the beginning, the CPWTP grew from a belief among CBWW and City leadership that one of the best ways to provide for long-term growth was to construct a new water treatment plant to provide reliable, high quality drinking water to their customers. In an era of increasing demands for reliable, redundant and resilient sources of clean drinking water, CBWW took on the challenge in an innovative way, building a new water purification facility that exceeds expectations on all levels:

  • The finished water quality is consistently exceptional, meeting the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
  • CBWW has a second water supply for increased reliability.
  • The City is able to welcome new industries.
  • The capital and life cycle costs were the lowest of all the options investigated.
  • The facility is fully automated, allowing it to be remotely operated, thus limiting the need for additional staffing for this facility.


Return to main Awards page 

Go to Transportation Category | Go to Buildings & Systems Category

Go to Special Projects Category | Go to Energy Production Category