U.S. DOT Awards $1.5B in ‘BUILD’ Infrastructure Grants

Los Angeles — AECOM held its Investor Day in New York City today, at which the company is reiterating its long-term financial targets through fiscal 2022. This positive outlook reflects a strong foundation for growth exiting fiscal 2018, including a record backlog and end market and business development momentum. In addition, the company’s outlook is benefitting from recently-announced strategic actions, including a substantial $225 million reduction in G&A and ongoing efforts to prioritize investments to higher-margin and lower-risk opportunities.

Accordingly, AECOM’s long-term financial forecast includes the following growth targets (FY’18 – FY’22 CAGR):

  • Organic Revenue Growth: 5%+
  • Adjusted EBITDA: 9%+
  • Adjusted EPS: 12%-15%
  • Cumulative Free Cash Flow: $3.5+ billion

The increase in the adjusted EBITDA CAGR to 9% from the prior 7% target incorporates the expected 12% adjusted EBITDA growth at the mid-point of the company’s fiscal 2019 guidance. As a result, the company is positioned to achieve fiscal 2022 adjusted EBITDA of approximately $1.2 billion, which is consistent with the target set in fiscal 2018.

“We exited 2018 with substantial momentum, including revenue of more than $20 billion, record wins of more than $28 billion, and a record backlog of more than $54 billion, which gives us great confidence in the trajectory of our business and in achieving our financial targets,” said Michael S. Burke, AECOM’s chairman and chief executive officer. “In addition, the strategic actions we are taking to capitalize on our record backlog position us to maximize shareholder value by deploying substantially all free cash flow to share repurchases under our existing $1 billion Board authorization.”

“We delivered record free cash flow in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, building on our track record of consistently strong free cash flow generation over the past several years,” said W. Troy Rudd, AECOM’s chief financial officer. “Our businesses are highly cash generative, which, along with the actions we are taking to drive growth and enhance profitability, position us to deliver increased free cash flow over the next several years. This forecast includes today’s announced target to generate more than $800 million of free cash flow in fiscal 2022. We will continue to prioritize share repurchases, as we demonstrated with the already executed $150 million accelerate share repurchase and additional repurchases during the fiscal first quarter.”

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Jersey City, N.J. — Vertical construction on the tallest of three luxury high-rise buildings in Jersey City’s Journal Squared project is underway. Dresdner Robin, a leader in urban design and development, is providing engineering, environmental and design services on the tower, which will stand at 71 stories, offer 18,000 square feet of retail space and boast a gross square footage of about 1,000,000 square feet. Altogether, Journal Squared is the largest development in the district in decades.

The new tower, the second in a three-tower complex at 615 Pavonia Avenue, will feature 704 residential units. Upon completion, it will be one of the tallest buildings in Jersey City. The first building topped out in 2015 at 53 stories. The third tower, to be constructed following the project’s second phase, will stand at 63 stories.

Jersey City-based Dresdner Robin is providing environmental investigation, planning, civil engineering and survey services for Journal Squared, including public utilities at the Magnolia Ave. plaza and roadway, near the Journal Square Transportation Center. Dresdner Robin is also providing construction administration services as construction progresses.

The developer, Kushner Real Estate (KRE) Group, tapped the New York-based firm Hollwich Kushner (HWKN) for the architectural design, with Handel Architects as the architect of record. Melillo + Bauer Associates is providing landscape architecture services for the ground level and rooftop areas.

“Journal Square is in the midst of a major revitalization,” said Dresdner Robin Senior Project Manager Tim Lavin. “Dresdner Robin is assisting the KRE Group in manifesting its vision of transforming the transportation hub into a new destination for living, shopping and enjoying the Manhattan skyline. I believe this district is well on its way to reaching that mark.”

Commenting on the development, KRE Group President Jonathan Kushner said, “Journal Squared helps reinvigorate this section of Jersey City. It stands as an immense project that will help transform the New Jersey skyline, and bring residents and retail to a completely reimagined destination. Dresdner Robin’s work on the project has been immensely helpful as it has moved through various stages.”

The Magnolia Ave. plaza portion involved coordination and input from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, as the project interacts with the parking garage as well as the loading entrance for the adjacent PATH station. The design team worked with the Port Authority for vehicle circulation, utilities, site improvement, stairways and an entrance to the station.

Journal Squared was first approved by the city council in December 2012 and was granted a 30-year tax abatement and $10 million in bonds. It is the first major development of its kind in decades. The area was once home to Jersey City’s central business district, as the waterfront consisted of railyards. Its time as an entertainment, office and retail hub declined during the 1970s. However, recent investment has attracted prospective residents interested in leveraging the district’s proximity to transportation.

“There is more investment in this area of Jersey City and we’re seeing it firsthand,” Lavin added. “Developers are now taking a serious look at this area, and moving forward with plans for development, thanks in part to this multi-phase Journal Squared project.”

Also commenting on Journal Squared, HWKN Principal Matthias Hollwich said, “We’re thrilled to be continuing to participate in the regeneration of this area of Jersey City through the second phase of this project. This tower is much more than just an apartment building – it’s a social hub that will energize street-life and strengthen community in this vibrant neighborhood.”

Melillo + Bauer Associates worked with the Port Authority on the design of the streetscape and Magnolia Plaza, addressing vehicular circulation and safety concerns. The result is a multi-functional space that serves as a main pedestrian entrance to the PATH station while also providing space for community events. The firm also created a multitude of amenity spaces for residents throughout the complex, including a rooftop pool and amenity deck, and a dog run.

For more information on the Journal Squared project, visit https://journalsquared.com.

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Life cycle assessment of a pilot-scale produced water and abandoned mine drainage co-treatment process identifies electricity use as the dominate contribution to environmental and human health impacts of the process. A system boundary extension to include transportation demonstrates its significant impact and a system optimization model was employed to identify how transportation can be minimized for a region in Southwest Pennsylvania, providing insights into future implementation of this co-treatment approach. Reprinted with permission from Environmental Science & Technology. Copyright 2018 American Chemical Society.

Pittsburgh — Pennsylvania’s energy history is rich with the quantities of fossil fuels that it has produced, but is also rife with the environmental legacies of coal mining and, more recently, hydrofracturing. Water that finds its way into abandoned coal mines dotted throughout the Commonwealth resurfaces as acid mine drainage (AMD), while freshwater used to fracture or “frack” oil and natural gas deposits reemerges as “produced” water contaminated with salts, metals, and radioactive material.

Remediating both AMD and produced water is an expensive process and federal law prohibits produced water disposal at municipal water treatment plants. However, research from the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, published recently in Environmental Science & Technology, found that co-treatment of the two fluids may not only solve two environmental issues at once, but also reduce the environmental impact of both legacy wastes.

Leanne Gilbertson, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, is principal investigator of the research, “Life Cycle Impact and Benefit Tradeoffs of a Produced Water and Abandoned Mine Drainage Co-Treatment Process” (DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.8b03773). The article, authored by graduate student Yan Wang, incorporates related research by her Swanson School colleagues, Radisav Vidic, the William Kepler Whiteford Professor and Department Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Associate Professor Vikas Khanna.

“This study is the serendipitous result of three different researchers finding a common theme to unite the collaboration. Radisav’s group developed the method for co-treating AMD and produced water and he is a leading researcher in the field of produced water treatment via membrane distillation, while Vikas’s group focuses on complex systems analysis,” Dr. Gilbertson explained. “My expertise in life cycle assessment brings a new perspective to these industries and a way to quantify the environmental and human health impact tradeoffs of alternative approaches to utilizing these two wastewaters.”

Dr. Gilbertson and her group focused on a five county region of southwestern Pennsylvania impacted by both AMD and hydrofracturing – Allegheny, Fayette, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland counties. The research targeted three critical, mutual aspects of remediation – co-treatment of produced water and AMD, transportation of water to and from mine and drill sites, and avoiding AMD discharge to the environment. Dr. Gilbertson’s LCA found that co-treating AMD and produced water is beneficial because, while the chemical composition of each fluid varies from site to site, the two byproducts share opposite amounts of barium and sulfates which, when combined, can be removed via precipitation. The resulting fluid can then be used to replace freshwater in future fracking operations while the barite produced by this process can be used in drilling operations.

Dr. Gilbertson noted that this result is important because it creates value of out two significant waste products and precludes environmental impacts of AMD. “While the combined produced water volume from fracking is 4,450 cubic meters per day, there is a staggering 281,000 cubic meters of orphaned AMD produced daily in the region. Mitigating the two via co-treatment would result in reduced freshwater use and become a net environmental benefit.”

But even with the potential positive impact of co-treatment, transporting the fluids between mining and drilling sites could create a significant, negative tradeoff. It will be a balance between the proposed and current handling of produced water, which his often transported significant distances for treatment, or out of state for disposal via large trucks logging several hundred thousand miles per year.

Total distance traveled for each optimization scenario, including a single co-treatment location up to five co-treatment sites. The optimum locations of co-treatment sites are indicated by yellow triangles and were determined by grouping all five counties together (single location) or four, three, two, and one county, respectively, located in Southwest Pennsylvania. For the case of two co-treatment sites, Allegheny, Washington, and Greene counties are combined as one region and Fayette and Westmoreland as the other region since this grouping results in minimum total transportation distance compared to other two-region combinations. For the case of three co-treatment plants, Washington and Allegheny counties are combined as one region, Fayette and Greene are combined as the second region, and Westmoreland county represents the third region. For the case of four co-treatment sites, Washington and Allegheny are combined as one region while Westmoreland, Fayette, and Greene counties represent the three other regions. Reprinted with permission from Environmental Science & Technology. Copyright 2018 American Chemical Society.

To minimize these significant impacts, which include not only fuel use but also road wear and truck exhaust, Dr. Khanna and his PhD student, Sakineh Tavakoli, developed a model to identify the optimal locations for co-treatment sites between AMD and gas wells in the five-county region. Although costs associated with optimized co-treatment may be higher than using freshwater, the environmental benefits could be significant. Another potential option currently being piloted by Drs. Vidic and Khanna is a mobile membrane distillation system that would be powered by waste heat generated during drilling to treat produced water on site.

And although the optimization model was developed using mining and gas well sites in the five-county region, the researchers note that this approach can be applied to other areas in Pennsylvania, and throughout the U.S. using similar data.

Ms. Wang added that what is novel about this research is that the group attempted to quantify the benefits of not releasing AMD into ecosystems and the environment.

“These are “credits” to the system that you wouldn’t necessarily think about. For example, by utilizing AMD as a fracking fluid, we’re greatly reducing the amount of freshwater that would be wasted. Similarly, by optimizing transportation routes and developing mobile treatment sites, we are significantly reducing the environmental impact of long-haul trucking,” Ms. Wang said. “Most importantly, by using AMD as a resource, we are helping to mitigate a legacy waste from the environment that then improves remediation efforts. In short, the cascade effect of co-treating these two waste products can be a net benefit for Pennsylvania.”

The post Researchers study benefits in co-treating acid mine drainage and shale gas wastewater appeared first on Civil + Structural Engineer magazine.

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Walnut Creek, Calif. — The City of Palo Alto, Calif., selected Brown and Caldwell to provide design services for secondary treatment upgrades at the city’s Regional Water Quality Control Plant (RWQCP).

Operational since 1934 and serving the communities of Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Stanford University, and the East Palo Alto Sanitary District, the RWQCP with 39 million gallons per day (MGD) design capacity treats wastewater before it is recycled or discharged to the San Francisco Bay. Upgrades are viewed as a key driver in the city achieving long-term utility performance and value as it manages population growth-driven capacity constraints, heightened effluent quality regulations, and aging infrastructure challenges. Having undergone several expansions and improvements, primarily occurring in the 1970s and 1980s, many assets are now in need of rehabilitation and replacement.

“This is another critical project that we are undertaking to upgrade this facility to meet anticipated nutrient limitations, while also replacing equipment, that in some cases, is beyond its useful life,” said Tom Kapushinski, City of Palo Alto Public Works project manager.

Brown and Caldwell will provide engineering services during all phases of the $31 million project from preliminary design, design, bid period services, engineering services during construction, and support during commissioning and start-up.

The four-year project will be conceptualized through energy-saving design principles with the goal of achieving energy use reduction throughout the plant. Innovations within Brown and Caldwell’s design include improved aeration and pumping systems and reconfiguration of the treatment process to provide higher quality, energy-efficient wastewater treatment.

“We’re at a crossroads with aging infrastructure challenges, population growth, and anticipated nutrient regulations. Embarking on this project is a critical step for us to proactively and cost-effectively address these issues for our community and continue our mission to protect San Francisco Bay,” said Jamie Allen, RWQCP manager.

The contract marks a continuation of Brown and Caldwell’s legacy of conceptualizing and designing numerous secondary treatment projects nationwide.

“Our rich history of proven treatment solutions puts the city in an excellent position to adapt and thrive as it updates its infrastructure to serve a growing population,” said Jeff Kivett, Brown and Caldwell vice president. “We look forward to a collaborative partnership with the city to achieve their financial, environmental, and public health objectives.”

Following an 18-month design phase, construction activities are expected to commence in 2020 with the upgraded facility fully operational by spring 2022.

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Washington, D.C. — Building Innovation 2019: The National Institute of Building Sciences Seventh Annual Conference and Expo, Jan. 7-10, 2019, has a compelling schedule of educational sessions, including a number of building enclosure design presentations. Building enclosure professionals who attend the conference will want to take part in the Building Enclosure Technology and Environment Council (BETEC) meeting Monday, the sessions on building enclosure design Tuesday and Wednesday, then stay for the building enclosure commissioning (BECx) Workshop Thursday, Jan. 10, all at the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, D.C.

BETEC began developing a building enclosure commissioning (BECx) certification training program in 2015. Following three days of conference events and education sessions, BETEC will host the latest two BECx Certificate Course Modules at the Thursday BECx Workshop. The new BECx Modules include the BECx Standards and Process Module and the BECx Lab Testing Module.

The Institute has long maintained that BECx is an important pathway to achieving high-performance buildings. The BECx training program is intended to help bring the building industry up to speed on enforced codes and rating systems and prepare professionals for taking the ASTM International exam for certification. Subject matter experts William Babbington, AIA, PE, Studio NYL; Andrea Delguidice, PE, Wiss Janney Elstner Associates; and Brian Neely, AIA, Gale Associates, will present the two new modules, which are based on source material developed by the late building enclosure expert Wagdy Anis, FAIA.

BECx Standards and Process — Thursday, Jan. 10, 8:00 am – 10:00 am — This module will provide an introduction to the BECx process and requirements outlined in the following documents: ASTM E2813: Standard Practice for Building Enclosure Commissioning (the standard upon which this course is based); ASTM E2947: Standard Guide for Building Enclosure Commissioning; LEED v4 for Building Design and Construction; and the International Green Building Code. NIBS Guideline 3-2012: Building Enclosure Commissioning Process will also be discussed as it relates to ASTM E2947 and LEED v4. The program will include an overview of the requirements for the BECx process in each of these documents; discussion of potential challenges, as well as opportunities for implementing BECx within each of these standards.

BECx Lab Testing — Thursday, Jan. 10, 10:15 am – 12:15 pm — This module will introduce laboratory test standards and manufacturer testing that is used to set performance standards in project specifications. The process and requirements for project laboratory mock-up tests, including for structural, air leakage and water penetration, etc., will be reviewed.  The program will explain the methodologies and rationales for specific tests required by ASTM International, National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC) and American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA). The presentation will cover manufacturer testing and performance laboratory mock-up testing, as well as specific protocols for testing.

With these two new modules, five modules are now complete as part of the full course. The first three modules of the planned 16-hour course were previewed earlier this year at the fifth BEST Building Enclosure Science & Technology Conference (BEST5) in April. Participants will be able to earn an ASTM/NIBS BECx certificate by successfully passing an exam after completing all of the modules.

Come for Building Innovation 2019 to hear from building enclosure design professionals and other leading industry experts on a wide variety of topics focused on Optimizing for Tomorrow. Then stay for the BECx Workshops to continue the learning. Or choose to attend just the Workshops for only $75 each. Online registration ends Dec. 31, 2018. See the full schedule of events and register at https://www.nibs.org/page/conference19_program.

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A distinctive building design and sinking soils were among the challenges the project team tackled on this massive effort at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

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