Somerset ACEC Award

The City of Somerset, Kentucky, and Bell Engineering were presented an Engineering Excellence Grand Award by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Kentucky for the City of Somerset Water Treatment Plant at the ACEC-KY reception held Wednesday, March 29, 2017 in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Bell Engineering and the City of Somerset began developing the project in 2005. At that time, the City had a variety of issues with the existing water treatment system. Rapid growth in the area meant the plant was quickly approaching its 10 mgd rated capacity. The City had also received a request to change its operational mode from a combination conventional/superpulsator to one treatment type. Finally, proposed regulations were going to impact Somerset’s ability to remain in compliance with the KYDOW.

Bell completed a feasibility study that projected demands through 2040 and determined a 16 mgd membrane filtration treatment plant with improvements at the existing site was the best solution. Membrane filtration offers a small footprint allowing the existing site to be utilized while also creating an absolute barrier to microbial contaminants. Bell worked with local and state representatives to secure funding including a $20,000,000 Rural Development (RD) Grant/Loan package making it the largest ARRA funded water project in the U.S. While Somerset is ineligible for RD funding, Bell determined that 80% of their process water is sold to customers outside the City limits, all of which are eligible to receive RD funds. This lowered the rate increase required to support the project, which was the first since 1993.

Construction of the project was difficult due to tight site conditions and Karst features including a large sinkhole. Site remediation was required to shore the foundation and ultimately the team was able to complete the new structures and re-purpose several existing structures while maintaining full treatment capacity. Finally, construction of the project began on the heels of the recession. This allowed the project not only to impact the water quantity/quality in the region, but also provided a substantial financial boost to the citizens of Somerset and Pulaski County.
Receiving Engineering Excellence Award from ACEC


The University of Kentucky and Bell Engineering were presented an Engineering Excellence Grand Award by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Kentucky for the UK Nicholasville Road FEMA Flood Mitigation Project at the ACEC-KY reception held Wednesday, March 29, 2017, in Frankfort, Kentucky. This project was also submitted to the national level where it was awarded a National Recognition Award.

Bell Engineering began working with the University of Kentucky in 2012 to alleviate repetitive flooding issues on the south end of campus. Due to increased runoff volume the storm drainage system was, at times, overwhelmed and would then overtop a major urban arterial highway, causing both traffic and safety concerns. The University was awarded a FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant to address the need for more detention to control flow rates and reduce flooding.

Bell prepared a detailed evaluation of the watershed including flow monitoring, stormwater modeling, land use determinations/green space protection, and utility needs. The project incorporated several surface and underground detention basins, stream restoration, and bio-swale concepts into a linear stormwater park that provides storage in the upper reaches of the watershed while reducing downstream flooding. There were numerous challenges in achieving these goals, including a need to reduce the peak flow for the 100-year, 24-hour event by over 50 percent. Usable surface areas for detention were at a premium due to the growth of the University. The watershed contains the football stadium, family housing, and a child care center, requiring continuous coordination of multiple stakeholders and causing potential safety concerns for open basins. The owner also wanted a pleasing, park-like feel in this high profile area.

Prior to the project, the watershed had 14.9 acre-feet of detention. There is now 22.7 acre-feet of detention including 13.4 acre-feet in open basins and 9.3 acre-feet in underground detention including underneath parking areas. This project was completed while a separate contract to realign a roadway through the site was constructed and stadium renovations were being completed, requiring coordination with multiple contractors and engineers to accommodate design and construction impacts.
Receiving Engineering Excellence Award from ACEC

McLean NADO Innovation Award

The Green River Area Development District (GRADD) was awarded a 2016 National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Innovation Award for the McLean County Regional Water Plant. The NADO Innovation Award honors significant advances in community and economic development that help improve the quality of life for diverse communities. Esri and NADO are working together to promote innovation for regional governments across the country. More information regarding NADO and the 2016 Innovation Award winners can be found at NADO Innovation Awards 2016.

The McLean County Regional Water Commission (MCRWC), created in 2012, includes the cities of Calhoun, Island, Livermore, and Sacramento, Kentucky; along with the North McLean County Water District and the McLean County Fiscal Court. With a goal of regionalizing the area’s water operations, the commission worked to plan and secure funding for a new 2 mgd conventional water treatment plant. Currently under construction, the project, designed by Bell Engineering, also includes upgrades to the existing raw water intake and raw water pump station at Calhoun, new transmission mains to serve Sacramento and Livermore, and a new booster pumping station to serve the region.

McLean NADO Award map
Bell Engineering worked with the MCRWC and determined that a regional facility would be the most effective and efficient way to provide reliable and affordable water treatment and distribution to the area. Bell’s assistance, along with the cooperation of the local city and county governments, the local water district and state leadership, led to the project being awarded a $1,000,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), a $2,500,000 KIA loan, and $7,416,000 USDA Rural Development (RD) grant and loan.