WK Dickson wins engineering excellence award for helping client recover after Hurricane Florence

November 15th, 2019

WK Dickson has received an Engineering Excellence Grand Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina for our work on the Northwest Plant Disaster, Recovery, and Resilience Project for the Onslow County Water and Sewer Authority (ONWASA). Founded in 2005, ONWASA provides water and sewer services to over 140,000 customers.

Early in the morning on September 14, 2018, Hurricane Florence made landfall as a Category 1 storm in southeastern North Carolina dumping nearly 30 inches of rain over Onslow County. During the storm, floodwaters at the Northwest facility reached a height of 3-4 feet in the facility’s electrical distribution and control building, as well as in the filtration and disinfection process equipment building causing extensive damage totaling over $5,000,000.

In the week following the storm, nearly a dozen individuals including ONWASA staff, WK Dickson’s contracted wastewater operations staff, electricians, and vendors arrived and remained at the facility 24-hours a day to assess the impacts from the flooding, restart a rudimentary treatment process, and begin recovery efforts. On September 26, only 12 days after being submerged by four feet of floodwaters, the Northwest Plant was able to meet state-mandated permit limits once again.

Since then, WK Dickson has provided subsequent operations and engineering assistance to help the utility further recover from the damage incurred by the hurricane and prepare for future disasters including the development and implementation of a resiliency and reliability plan. The recommended mitigation components are now being discussed with both funding and permitting agencies, as many need to be incorporated with the immediate repairs for feasibility and to reduce overall costs. By including mitigation/resiliency improvements now, ONWASA is taking the extra steps necessary to prevent, as much as possible, a recurrence of this situation.

Although Hurricane Florence caused unforeseen and unprecedented damage, the emergency response was led by an equally unprecedented and undaunted team. The Northwest Regional Water Reclamation Facility is finding its flow again after Hurricane Florence. And should the next 1,000-year storm happen in two years or 20 years, they will be ready.

Back to News