Fritz Island Wastewater Treatment Plant

Location Reading, PA

Client City of Reading, PA

Services Construction Management

Project Value $250 million

This project involved the renovation and upgrade of the Fritz Island wastewater treatment plant. The plant treats effluent from 14 municipalities near Philadelphia in southeastern Pennsylvania. The plant serves an estimated 85,000 people in the city of Reading and an estimated 105,000 people from the region.

The existing plant was located on Fritz Island, near the boundary of Cumru Township and the City of Reading. The plant had a permitted treatment capacity of 28.5 million gallons per day on average and a maximum of 42.75 million gallons per day with discharge to the Schuylkill River.

Reading required a new plant with construction improvements totaling over $300 million. Hill was originally retained to assist the City in reassessing the City’s wastewater treatment needs and developing the requirements for an Amended Consent Decree. Our preliminary estimates for wastewater treatment plant upgrades totaled approximately $150 million, representing a 50% savings over the initial estimate. Following this work, Hill served as lead for the project management/construction management team. 

Specific services our team provided included project administration, introducing project management information systems, master scheduling, document control, communication with regulatory agencies, assistance with inter-municipal agreements, budget and cost control, grant and loan applications, cost estimating, budget monitoring, project reporting, environmental monitoring, technical support, design and constructability reviews, inspection, and value engineering. 

As part of this work, Hill managed the installation and construction of a new 8,400 LF, 42 inch ductile iron pipe force main from the Sixth and Canal Street Pump Station to the wastewater treatment plant on Fritz Island. The project also included more than 420 LF of ductile iron pipe installed under the Schuylkill River. A specialty contractor bore a microtunnel 5 feet below the river bottom and installed a 60 inch diameter steel casing pipe through which the 42 inch force main was installed. To access the microtunnel locations, a sending shaft composed of 3 foot diameter concrete secant piles was constructed and excavated to 38 feet deep on one side of the river and a 9 foot diameter receiving pit was drilled to 34 feet deep on the opposite side.

To install the section of the force main under the Schuylkill River, the contractor installed a secant pile shaft consisting of 42 and 36 inch diameter overlapping concrete piers. The secant piles were installed with a specialized rotary drill rig in a concentric ring measuring approximately 31 feet in diameter, and the piles were advanced to various depths of up to 49 feet below ground. Once the secant pile ring was constructed, the soils and bedrock within the ring were excavated to the terminal design depth to allow for installation of the horizontal force main beneath the river.

“I would like to express my appreciation on behalf of the City of Reading and its citizens to Hill International, Inc. for its superb work in executing the Project Management/Construction Management Services contract in support of the Fritz Island Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrades program.” -Carl Geffken, Managing Director, Reading, PA