On Tuesday, September 19, the Engineering & Public Works Roadshow series made its third stop, this time in Dallas, Texas, at the award-winning Able Pump Station. The Roadshow celebrated the sump station’s contributions to resilience and safety for a four-square mile area of Dallas that had been inundated with frequent flooding events for years prior to the facility’s construction, which finished in 2019.
The roadshow is a partnership between the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the American Public Works Association (APWA), and the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) to highlight the meaningful, transformational work of engineers and public works professionals and to encourage students and young professionals to pursue rewarding careers in engineering and public works.
“Flooding is the most common and most devastating form of environmental hazards,” said Marsia Geldert-Murphey, ASCE President-elect, stressing the need to protect against these events.
The Able Pump Station, located on the south side of Riverfront Boulevard between the Houston and Jefferson Street viaducts, is designed to provide 100-year flood protection to approximately four-square miles of highly desirable land. The sump complex included nine separate and interconnected ponds that store stormwater, as well as two existing pump stations, constructed in the 1930s and 1950s, with a combined capacity of 220,000 gallons per minute. To help prevent the loss of life as a result of flooding, the City of Dallas hired HDR to design the new Able Pump Station, which increases the pumping capacity nearly fourfold, to 875,000 gallons per minute.
It also lowers the 100-year flood elevation from 399.0 to a design elevation of 392.5 feet, a 6.5-foot difference. This difference in flood elevation has opened 128 square acres for commercial development that was previously ineligible for development due to flooding risks.
At the press conference, U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, Dallas Water Utilities Interim Director Sarah Standifer, HDR North Texas Water Business Group Manager Lance Ferland, and the leaders of ACEC, APWA and ASCE offered comments on the importance of projects like the Able Pump Station.
“Protecting the health and safety of American communities is a top priority of civil engineers, and the Able Pump Station in Dallas is a good example of infrastructure projects working to provide better security and peace of mind for Texas families and businesses,” said ASCE Executive Director Tom Smith.
ACEC estimates 82,000 new engineers will be needed to fulfill the mandate of the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Projects like the Able Pump Station should inspire the next generation of the engineering workforce to pursue this rewarding career and help create more facilities with similar impacts.
As the federal government continues to implement this monumental legislation, the second year of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will not be fully realized without an expanded and robust workforce. It is imperative that students nationwide are educated on the rewarding careers of civil engineering and public works so that these professions have the necessary staffing to complete transformative projects.