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DC Water Oreon Ave TBM Installation (51)
DC Water Oreon Ave TBM Installation (32)


Washington, D.C.

For the last decade, The Robert B. Balter Company (Balter) has provided Geotechnical Engineering, Subsurface Exploration, Materials Laboratory Testing, Construction Management, and QA Field Inspection Services for DC Water.   These assignments has been performed under several Basic Ordering Agrrements (BOAs) and Capital Improvement Programs (CIPs).  The range of these projects inclues costs from $8 million to $270 million with work performed throughout the District of Columbia, as well as significant work at Blue Plains.   

Blue Plains

As part of the DCFA 428 Construction Management team, The Robert B. Balter Company (Balter) provides Special Inspections (per DCRA and IBC); Third-Party Inspections; QA Inspections and Field Testing; and Materials Laboratory Testing, and Geotechnical and Materials Engineering Consulting.

The scope of the project has included shallow and deep foundations; steel reinforcement; cast-in-place structural concrete; structural steel; earthwork with undercutting, stabilization, fill placement and compaction; application of geo-synthetic fabrics and membranes; pavements; temporary earth-support with soldier piles, lagging and tie-backs; jet grouting and shotcrete with soil-nailing; open-face shield tunneling; structural steel including welding and bolt connections; precast concrete plant inspections; roof insulation and built-up roofing; review of construction plans and documents; pre-construction and progress meetings; daily review and submittal of technician reports and testing forms; and Special Inspection certifications to DCRA.

Specific assignments thus far have included:

  • Enhanced Nitrogen Removal Facilities, Second Contract

  • Filtrate and Disinfection Facilities Upgrade, Phase 3

  • Nitrification Facilities Upgrade Switchgear Replacement

  • Secondary Treatment Facility Upgrades ENR – North

  • Filtrate Treatment Facility

  • Raw Wastewater Pump Station N. 2 Upgrades

In addition to our contracted role of Special Inspections, QA Inspections and Field Testing, and Materials Laboratory Testing, Balter assisted the owner (DC Water) and Construction Manager with Geotechnical and Materials Consulting to expedite the resolution of construction quality issues, as they arose. These issues included review and consulting on RFI’s and Claims, unsuitable fills and backfills, wet and unstable roadway subgrade, poor footing bearing, defective Partial Displacement Piles, mislocated steel reinforcement, weak or otherwise defective concrete, poor shotcrete conditions,  poor soil nail practices, deep shaft dewatering issues, and raveling clays in deep shafts.   

Design Services

Within the District, field investigation services were in stream valleys and creek beds on lands owned by the National Park Service, National Capital Region (Rock Creek Park) and other federal agencies. Such sites require great sensitivity to minimizing disturbance, protecting environmentally and aesthetically sensitive lands, and protecting the safety of the users, passers-by and residents. 

The scope of work for the various Task Orders include design as well as NEPA Compliance and other permitting needs.  During these contracts Balter has developed a working relationship with key agencies in the District including National Park Service, U.S. Park Police, DDOT, District Department of Energy and Environment, and District Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. 

Subsurface investigation, and geophysical studies were performed for these projects.  These services were generally provided along roads and highways, which required extensive coordination with the agencies listed above.  Particularly along Oregon Avenue, geophysical studies were tailored towards evaluating the variable bedrock surface.  These results were paramount in developing tunneling recommendations for the new sewer.  At the time of the installation, the microtunnel was installed using the longest single drive of a microtunnel boring machine (MTBM) on the eastern seaboard.  The MBTM drive is only about 50 feet short of the national record for an installation of this nature.  Based on feedback from the contractor, our geotechnical and geophysical approach greatly assisted in the successful installation of the microtunnel, with zero change orders related to tunneling or changed conditions. 

Geotechnical engineering aspects included earthwork and excavation; rock properties related to tunneling; tunneling recommendations for sewer installation; foundation systems and settlements; dewatering; instrumentation; subsurface, seismic and geophysical investigations; conventional and sophisticated materials laboratory testing; preparation of specifications and construction documents, and consultation during construction representing the Owner and reviewing RFI’s and vibration monitoring reports.

Projects have included:

  • Bingham Drive Seismic Investigation

  • Catholic University of America 2nd High Elevated Water Tank Phase I

  • Oregon Avenue NW Sewer Replacement

  • Rock Creek Main Interceptor and Beach Drive Sewer Rehabilitation

  • N St. Water Main – 66-inch and 72-inch PCCP Rehabilitations

Construction Management

The CM4E contract includes reservoir ventilation improvements at the Fort Stanton and Brentwood Reservoirs, restoration of the Pope Branch Stream, the construction of St. Elizabeth’s Water Storage Tower and the associated installations of water mains and rehabilitation of small local sewers.

Project specifics include:

  • Brentwood and Ft. Stanton Reservoirs

  • Pope Branch Stream Restoration

  • St. Elizabeth’s Water Tank

  • Rehabilitation of Sewers Under Buildings Phase 2

 CIPP Testing

Balter has been providing CIPP testing services for DC Water for the past several years.  As part of the continued rehabilitation of the aging DC Water infrastructure, pipelines of various diameters are being repaired with the use of Cured in Place Pipe (CIPP).  Our NASSCO certified personnel has provided testing services, as well as technical guidance, to ensure the quality requirements of the installed CIPP are met. 

Projects on which we have been providing these services include:

  • Watts Brach Sewer

  • Low Area Truck Sewer

  • G100: Small Diameter Pipe Repairs

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