The City of Omaha is in the process of implementing a $2 billion Long Term Control Plan to control combined sewer overflows (CSOs). While significant portions of the controls are structural, including tunnels, tanks, treatment systems and sewer separation, the City is also including Green Infrastructure projects. Join CH2Mers Patricia Nelson and Tom Heinemann, along with Jim Theiler with the City, for an update on the program at this year’s WEFTEC.

By: Patricia Nelson, CH2M Vice President and Principal Technologist; Jim Theiler, City of Omaha CSO Program Coordinator; and Tom Heinemann, CSO Program Manager

Patricia will present the paper, “The City of Omaha Program’s Incorporation of Green Infrastructure to Control CSOs,” co-authored by CH2M’s Emily Holtzclaw, Cory Hooper and Luke Heyerdahl, during the Water Environment Federation’s Technical Exhibition Conference (WEFTEC) on Wednesday, September 30.

See CH2M’s complete list of WEFTEC presentations.

The City of Omaha, Nebraska, is in the process of implementing a $2 billion Long Term Control Plan as part of the City’s Clean Solutions for Omaha—a major Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Program to bring the City into compliance with the requirements of the Clean Water Act. Taking a holistic and efficient approach, the City is looking at its CSO Program as an investment to improve its water quality and to get multiple community benefits, in a cost effective manner that does not burden the ratepayers.

Omaha is not alone in being required to meet this mandate; more than 770 other communities nationwide are also implementing solutions to reach compliance with requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency CSO Control Policy of 1994.

As the Program Manager for the approximately $2 billion CSO Program, CH2M has been working with the City and other firm members of a Program Management Team since 2006 to develop a plan—known as the Long Term Control Plan (LTCP), which was submitted in September 2009 and approved in February 2010—and to implement the LTCP to control overflows from the Omaha combined sewer system. The City has committed to implement the full plan by October 2027.

The original LTCP included 92 projects, including 71 targeted sewer separation projects, a CSO Deep Tunnel, improvements to the Missouri River Wastewater Treatment Plant, high-rate treatment facilities, a stormwater conveyance sewer and storage tanks.

When finished in 2027, the LTCP will:

  • Reduce overflows of raw sewage to improve water quality
  • Make significant progress toward the elimination of sewer backups into basements
  • Replace aging sewer, gas, water, and street infrastructure
  • Integrate infrastructure upgrades with continued redeveloped to leverage efficiencies
  • Improve drainage and reduce street flooding

Also included in the LTCP is a requirement for all project teams to consider green infrastructure solutions to improve water quality, reduce stormwater flows into the combined sewer system, and ultimately reduce overall costs of the CSO Program. Where cost effective, green infrastructure elements are being implemented into designs, replacing or reducing grey infrastructure. A suitability analysis was conducted during the LTCP development and GIS maps were created, which ranked possible green infrastructure sites for consideration. Thus far, the CSO Program, in conjunction with the City of Omaha Parks and Recreation, has successfully created large-scale centralized stormwater management practices that have saved Omaha ratepayers more than $15 million. Parks and boulevards are helping convey and store stormwater.

To learn more about implementing green infrastructure solutions and the City of Omaha’s Green Infrastructure Pilot Program, connect with Patricia, Jim and Tom at WEFTEC. Can’t make this year’s conference? Follow us on Twitter and use the #WEFTEC15 hashtag to follow what’s happening in Chicago this year.

Patricia Nelson is a Vice President and Principal Technologist at CH2M. She has 34 years of experience, 20 with CH2M. Pat specializes in water quality, regulatory, and permitting. Extensive experience in developing and negotiating various types of permits nationally. Earned an “Outstanding Achievement Award” from EPA for her “extraordinary leadership in developing Colorado’s Stormwater Permit Program” while working for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. She has a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado at Denver, and is a registered PE in Colorado and Nebraska.

Jim Theiler is the Program Coordinator for the City of Omaha Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Program. He has been an employee with the City of Omaha Public Works Department since 2000. Prior to working for the City he worked for the US Army Corps of Engineers, and for HGM Associates. Mr. Theiler graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1994, and has over 20 years of experience in the field of Civil Engineering, focused primarily in water resources and collections system planning and management. He is a Licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Nebraska.

Tom Heinemann is a Vice President with CH2M. He has been serving in the role of CSO Program Manager for the Omaha Program since 2006. He has 35 years of experience, all with CH2M, and has been working on projects with the City of Omaha for most of that time (since 1984). Tom graduated from Colorado State University (BS in 1978 and MS in 1982). He is a registered PE in Nebraska and Colorado.