Project Clear Aims to Improve Water Quality in St. Louis
Project Clear is Underway: Goodwin Brothers and SAK Construction Partner on the Upper Maline Tunneling Project, a Portion of the $4.7B Project to Improve St. Louis Water Quality
The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District’s $4.7 billion Project Clear aims to improve water quality throughout the region. One of those jobs, the Upper Maline tunneling project will create systems to prevent wastewater from entering waterways during heavy rain events by removing combined sewer overflows.
“When it rains, the combined sewers go to Maline Creek, a tributary to the Mississippi River,” explains Doug Wachsnicht, Project Executive with Goodwin Brothers in St. Louis, which is a joint venture partner building the Maline Creek Storage Facility. “Sewage and storm water mixes and goes to the river. This project will divert that flow into the tunnel during a rain event, so those combined flows will be captured. When the rain event stops, the water will be pumped to the treatment plant.”
Combined sewers were common in the mid-1900s, and they worked well during dry weather. However, when it rained or there was significant snow melting, wastewater could overwhelm the capacity of sewer system or treatment plant.
A joint venture between SAK Construction of O’Fallon, Missouri, and Goodwin Brothers received the $82 million contract and evenly split the work, which began in 2016. The project is scheduled for completion in 2020.
“There is still a lot to do,” Wachsnicht says.
SAK is working on the tunnel, including drill and shoot work and pouring the concrete lining. Crews were able to remove dirt from the upper 40 feet of the shaft but then had to drill and blast through rock for the balance of the shaft and the tunnel. The 28-foot diameter storage tunnel is about 2,700 feet long and 180 feet below ground. The tunnel will hold approximately 12 million gallons of wastewater. Screens will help remove debris before it’s pumped for final treatment.
Goodwin Brothers is working on four main structures, which will feed the tunnel and construction of the pump station.
The pump station shaft had been excavated by SAK to bring machinery in and take rock out during construction of the tunnel. SAK then turned the shaft over to Goodwin Brothers to build the pump station. Goodwin’s crews started at the bottom of the pump station and worked their way to the top. The company is using a Manitowoc 888 Crane at the pump station location.
Wachsnicht anticipates construction of the pump station will take about one year. The pump station includes the equipment, cranes to service the shaft, electrical gear and office space. Crews are running piping, duct work and electrical lines up the side of the shaft. Goodwin Brothers brought in mechanical and electrical subcontractors for those aspects of the project.
At the drop structures, the company used a Manitowoc 10000 Crane and 90-ton hydraulic Grove cranes. Workers access the shafts through man-baskets lifted by the cranes. With heavy rains this spring, at times the excavation felt like walking on Jell-O, Wachsnicht says.
“Because of that Jell-O-type soil, it required secant piles,” Wachsnicht says. “They drill piers from the surface until they hit rock. Then they drill between piers, creating a wall of concrete. It keeps the liquid dirt from coming in.”
Goodwin Brothers used Caterpillar track hoes and long reach machines for excavation at the sites. The drop structures required sheet piling. A diesel hammer was used for an H-pile.
Kirby-Smith Machinery of St. Louis provided the Grove and Manitowoc cranes. Kirby-Smith began operations in 1983 in Oklahoma City and opened its St. Louis location in 2002.
The Caterpillar track hoe came from Fabick CAT in Fenton, Missouri. Fabick CAT began operations in 1917, with three employees and one location. The company now has more than 1,200 employees and 36 locations.
Throughout the job, Goodwin Brothers monitored air quality and ventilation daily. One of the newly installed drop line attached to a current sewer line. For that portion of the project, crews had to wear respiratory gear. Fall protection was needed as was traffic control, since the drop shaft was locate adjacent to busy roadways.
A True General Contractor
Founded in 1947 by World War II veteran Charles Goodwin and his brother Howard (Don) Goodwin, Goodwin Brothers completed small commercial and residential projects in the St. Louis suburbs. The company continued to grow, and in 1954, it built a Baptist church, its largest project at that time.
The company remains a family-owned business. Jay Goodwin, current Vice President and Chief Estimator joined the company in 1973, and that same year, Larry Goodwin built his first project, a Wal-Mart store. In 1974, Steve Goodwin took over the role of President from his father, Charles. The second generation of Goodwins entered the bridge and wastewater treatment construction markets in the 1970s, as that work expanded with the Clean Water Act of 1972. The company entered the health care market in the 1980s and began industrial work in the early 2000s.
“Water and wastewater is our niche,” Wachsnicht says. “Every project is different. And if you can do a water or wastewater treatment plant, it encompasses all elements of construction.”
The third-generation of Goodwins, including President Charles Goodwin, a grandson of the founder with the same name, manage the company now. Goodwin Brothers has expanded yet again into large dirt work and tunnel projects, tackling larger and more complex jobs. The company works throughout the Midwest and employs a couple of hundred people.
“We’re a conservative company and a true general contractor,” Wachsnicht says. “Everybody in the company, from the CEO to guys in the field, do not mind getting dirty. We are hands on and go to the projects we are working on.”