H2M’s Project with New York American Water Receives NYSAWWA Project of the Year Award

H2M is honored to have received a Project of the Year award from the New York State section of the American Water Works Association (NYAWWA).  The Project of the Year award was established to promote excellence in the management and administration in the water industry by recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, consultant, engineer, and contractor that by working together complete potable water projects.

In the “Transmissions – less than 24 inch” category, H2M’s Reynolds Channel Crossing East project with New York American Water won.  Read below for a project description and photos.


New York American Water (NYAW) authorized a large capital investment for the installation of a new 20 inch high density polyethylene (HDPE) transmission water main underneath Reynolds Channel from mainland community of Lawrence to the barrier beach residential community of Atlantic Beach.  The new water main will fortify and improve delivery of water to the Atlantic Beach consumers during high water demand periods.  The project replaced 2,500 feet of 16 inch water main installed in the 1970s with new HDPE water main.  New York American Water and H2M architects + engineers (H2M) spearheaded this engineering project which is crucial in providing adequate and reliable water supply to the barrier beach community.

An analysis performed by H2M and New York American Water revealed that the existing 16-inch water main is of the bell and spigot type and is currently located approximately five feet below the channel. The main was found to be at an inadequate depth making it vulnerable to damage and potential leaks. It was determined that this pipe crossing should be replaced to minimize susceptibility to failure and improve flow to Atlantic Beach.

The installation of the new 20-inch HDPE water main was completed earlier this year via horizontal directional drilling. In accordance with the requisite environmental permits, the water main was installed at a minimum depth of 25 feet below the channel bed to provide proper protection of the pipe. The directional drilling operation consisted of multiple phases, including the pilot drill and multiple backreaming passes to achieve an adequate bore for the 20-inch diameter pipe.  The HDPE pipe is then fused together in sections and pulled back through the bore hole and then connected to the existing water mains for a complete installation. The new HDPE pipe is more resistant to corrosion than the typical ductile iron main and has a projected lifespan of over 100 years.

In terms of construction management, multiple pre-construction meetings were conducted to coordinate work.  NYAW and H2M provided construction observation to ensure installation was in accordance with design plans prepared by H2M and the environmental permits received for the project.  The contractor completed daily reports for all phases of construction as well.

The contractor established a safety plan for the project which adhered to NYAW construction safety protocols.  Contractor supervisors completed daily job site hazard analysis reports and reviewed them with onsite personnel.

NYAW and H2M worked closely with the Village of Atlantic Beach to coordinate disturbances on Vernon Avenue, where the new 20 inch water main terminated.  Work areas were properly barricaded and secured from public intrusion.  A traffic control plan was developed which  provided access for homeowners on Vernon Avenue.  Furthermore, we worked with the local Yacht club to coordinate access and use of their property for drilling operations.

H2M worked with a subconsultant to obtain environmental permits prior to construction, including NYSDEC Tidal Wetlands permit and authorization from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the New York State Department of State to begin construction.  During construction, the wetlands in the vicinity were delineated and protected and erosion control was established to protect the surrounding water bodies.

The installation of 2,500 linear feet of HDPE pipe within a limited working area was a huge accomplishment.  The HDPE pipe had to be fused together in long sections prior to installation, but there was not much space available to do this.  NYAW worked with the Village of Atlantic Beach to use the beach to layout the pipes for fusing and installation.

Furthermore, the project was completed during the winter when there were periods of low water demand. The project was on schedule despite some adverse weather conditions during construction.

Click on the photos below to expand.