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Newberg wastewater project earns top award

FILE PHOTO - Recognition -- The repair, renovation and expansion project on Newberg's wastewater treatment plant, led by project manager Jason Wuertz, won top honors at the Oregon chapter of the American Public Works Association awards.Newberg’s wastewater treatment plant repair, renovation and expansion project has been named the 2015 project of the year with a budget between $25 million and $75 million, by the Oregon chapter of the American Public Works Association.

The plant was originally built in 1987. The roughly $25 million upgrade was initiated for two main reasons: to plan for future capacity needs and to update the facility which has experienced normal wear and tear over its 26 years of operation.

The renovation and expansion project targeted the influent pump station, headworks facility, oxidation ditches, disinfection system, sludge dewatering and site improvements.

Public Works civil engineer Jason Wuertz served as the project manager, while Mortenson Construction was the primary contractor.

“It feels great. It was a lot of work over a lot of years for that project so it feels great to be recognized for it,” Wuertz said.

The APWA gives awards in four divisions based on their budget and project category. The wastewater treatment plant fell into the environment category that includes treatment and recycling facilities, landfill reclamation projects and sewer projects.

The project of the year award “recognizes excellence, innovation and cooperation with regard to management and administration of public works projects through the alliance of the managing agency, consultant and contractor,” according to the APWA.

The award was presented to Newberg’s public works department last month at the Oregon APWA’s annual fall conference.

Newberg’s project was officially completed May 1. Its four years and four phases encompassed more than 70,000 man-hours, during which there were no first-aid events or injuries resulting in time lost from work.

“The project was completed three months early and under budget even after all of the added items outside of the original scope,” according to the award application. “The plant came away with new ideas of how to track their maintenance system, and all parties walked away with positive relationships.”


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