Black & Veatch is an employee-owned, global leader in building critical human infrastructure in Energy, Water, Telecommunications and Government Services. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of people in over 100 countries through consulting, engineering, construction, operations and program management. Our revenues in 2017 were US$3.4 billion.
Main: 1 913-458-2000
Locations: Headquarters: Kansas City
with 110 offices around the world.
Why Kansas City?
In the run-up to America’s entry into World War I, two University of Kansas engineering classmates – Ernest Bateman Black and Nathan Thomas Veatch – partnered in 1915 to found Black & Veatch just down the highway from their alma mater. In a small downtown Kansas City office, the fledgling company that began with just a dozen professionals focused in its early years on water and power systems, both in great demand then in the Midwest. The first contract of what would become a multibillion-dollar company – construction of an electric light plant in Kansas – totaled just $15,000. A century later, Black & Veatch still calls Kansas City home, based in a Kansas suburb as a linchpin of the region’s renown as home to global engineering companies.
Black & Veatch has been a global leader in innovation. Share with us some of the highlights.
Black & Veatch has a long history of technological innovation including Powertrak, a comprehensive information system that integrated design and project management data in a single relational database that helped the company complete major construction projects faster, cheaper and with fewer errors than our competition, and ASSET360TM, our a cloud-based data analytics platform that improves the effectiveness and efficiency of operations and planning for complex and distributed assets. Purpose-developed to serve the needs of owners and operators of complex infrastructures such as power generation and distribution systems, water utilities, industrial assets and smart cities. Atonix Digital customers leverage our products through the life-cycle - including design, construction and operation phases - to improve ROI, reduce risk and improve decision-making.
Black & Veatch has received many awards throughout the years, what are some recent ones?
Fueled by growth across its networked infrastructure, smart city applications, and grid modernization services, Black & Veatch has retained the top global telecommunications ranking among U.S.-based engineering companies – the eighth time in the past nine years the company has held that distinction in the Engineering News-Record’s “Top 500 Design Firms” report.
Global demand for infrastructure services also drove the company’s performance in ENR’s power and water rankings, reflecting the diversified company’s leadership status among global engineering, construction and consulting companies.
Please share a handful of projects that represent the work of Black & Veatch.
Volta EV Charging Network
San Francisco, California-based Volta Charging aims to help alleviate range anxiety by rapidly scaling its portfolio of free public electric car charging stations.
As all-electric cars increase in popularity, a critical issue for drivers is having sufficient charging resources to stay on the road during longer trips, not to mention paying for the power. San Francisco, California-based Volta Charging aims to help alleviate range anxiety by rapidly scaling its portfolio of free public electric car charging stations. Black & Veatch brings the engineering and permitting expertise Volta needs to bring many of its charging stations to life as quickly as possible.
Liverpool Wastewater Treatment Plant
MEDINA COUNTY, OH
A Wastewater Treatment Plant that Pays for Itself
A Design-Build Performance Contract Guarantees Energy Savings, Sustainable Benefits, for Ohio Community. Black & Veatch is the designer and builder of a new, $35 million solids treatment system for the Liverpool Wastewater Treatment Plant in Medina County, Ohio. The system provides energy performance savings and other sustainable benefits through an innovative Design-Build Performance Contract. As a result, the county expects to be able to pay for the new system without increasing customer rates. Built into the system are advanced technologies that are new or emerging in the United States. They significantly reduce energy and construction costs, and enable Medina County to remove, and recover, phosphorous.
Housatonic River Crossing
An innovative way to remove transmission lines with minimal disruption to auto, train and traffic below.
Aging infrastructure is a critical issue for the power industry, as utilities work to fill our modern demand for power on equipment built more than a century ago. The United Illuminating Company (UI) ran into this issue near New Haven, Connecticut, when it faced the daunting task of replacing existing transmission line conductors that were located on 100-year-old lattice towers that had been built on a historic railroad bridge.
The towers carry transmission lines that are part of the state power grid, which consists of hundreds of miles of high-voltage transmission lines that run across New England. The towers had been constructed in the early 1900s atop the Housatonic River Railroad Bridge (aka the Devon Bridge), a historic bridge that carries the Metro-North Railroad’s (MNR) New Haven commuter rail line over the lower Housatonic River. The project had many challenges. The conductors rose at a height of 200 feet over the river’s surface. The towers where the conductors were located were initially unsafe to climb. To remedy this, CTDOT replaced the existing ladders and added steel members at key locations to strengthen the towers.
Plus, the bridge is located 30 feet from the Moses Wheeler Bridge, a heavily trafficked, six-lane bridge that carries I-95 traffic over the Housatonic River. Due to this proximity, public safety was a major concern. The project team had to erect (and then remove) a safe work zone across the bridge and completely re-stripe the highway to make room for the work zone. After careful consideration, it was decided to use a helicopter to remove the conductors on the North Circuit and place a large man lift on the Moses Wheeler Bridge to remove the conductors on the South Circuit.
Black & Veatch also handled the construction of the 14 new transmission structures, which were built on the riverbanks just north of the railroad bridge. The two monopoles that carry 1,200 feet of new high-tension wire at a height of 94 feet over the Housatonic River were each 180-feet tall, supported on 10-foot diameter piers. The tower construction was performed primarily from the land, although a boat was used to carry the wire across the river.
Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Microgrid
SAN DIEGO, CA
Once fully operational, the microgrid solution will provide resiliency, incorporate renewable energy, and allow operations at mission-critical facilities to continue if the utility power grid is compromised or damaged
Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Microgrid: From Design and Construction to Operations and Commissioning. Black & Veatch and Schneider Electric are designing and constructing an energy security microgrid at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar, in San Diego, California. The MCAS Miramar microgrid project has reached a new milestone as part of the construction of a new diesel and natural gas power plant. The generators at the power plant are sized to cover the critical loads in the case that there is a primary grid failure.
Renewable energy sources are included to make the microgrid more resilient and less reliant on fossil fuels. When operational, the system will ensure that the distributed energy resources can economically manage the critical loads. In the last few months, the Black & Veatch and Schneider Electric team worked together to set the generators on the concrete foundation, erect the building’s structural steel and finishing the masonry block facade. With the masonry scaffolding removed, the team is now cleared to finish exterior construction, including pouring the exterior foundations for the plant’s radiators and transformers.
This project milestone sets up the project team for construction of the 4 MW tier 4 diesel generator set and 3 MW natural gas BACT (Best Available Control Technology) generator set. The power plant will serve as one of three main energy sources for the microgrid, along with landfill gas and solar photovoltaic power. The plant will allow the microgrid to run on “island”, or “economic mode” to optimize these resources and reduced MCAS Miramar’s utility bills while supporting the grid for the community.
Happy Valley Underground Stormwater Storage Scheme
HONG KONG, CHINA
Happy Valley, located in the Wan Chai District of Hong Kong, is a cultural, economic and entertainment centre for the city. Despite its metropolitan development, the area was prone to flooding as it is located on low-lying ground near the Victoria Harbor.
The Happy Valley Racecourse, one of Hong Kong’s most popular attractions, was submerged under nearly three feet of stormwater during a severe rainfall event in 2008. The traditional solution to resolve this type of flooding would be “throwing more drains at the problem areas" said Black & Veatch Project Director Andy Kwok. However, enlarging and multiplying the number of drains would involve opening up busy roads in Wanchai and around the racetrack and disrupting popular racing and sporting events.
Furthermore, even with all these disruptions, this strategy wouldn't effectively reduce flooding risk because part of the low-lying drains adjacent to the sea would still be occupied by tidal water, thus reducing the flood protection efficiency. In view of the effectiveness and public interest, the Drainage Services Department (DSD) of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region decided to implement an underground storage scheme, comprising a large tank to store stormwater runoff for reduction of downstream flooding risk during severe rainfall events.
Black & Veatch was contracted by DSD for optimizing the scheme’s design through the adoption of the integrated 1D network, 2D overland flow and 3D computational fluid dynamics models, a first for flood alleviation in Hong Kong. The resulting award-winning design uses Supervisory and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system monitoring to monitor water levels, which automatically triggers an adjustable weir system, another first for flood alleviation in Hong Kong. At the center of SCADA system is a network of sensors, which capture tidal levels in Victoria Harbor and water levels at several strategic locations, including the storage tank and upstream and downstream of the culvert.
With the adjustable weirs and SCADA system, the tank remains dry most of the time as stormwater flows along the culvert adjacent to the storage tank straight to the downstream drainage network. During heavy rain, water level rises and SCADA triggers the adjustable weir system in which excess runoff enters the storage tank. After a rainfall event when the water level in the culvert drops, the movable weirs can be further lowered to drain the stored stormwater to the downstream drainage network by gravity.
Black & Veatch’s innovative design optimized the required volume of the tank by 25 to 30 percent, reduced excavation and material requirements and shortened the construction time by nearly one year, resulting in considerable cost savings, as well as minimizing public disruption and environmental impacts.