International joint venture wins Singapore’s used-water ‘superhighway’ project

Singapore has awarded the extension of the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System to Black & Veatch and AECOM, a project which will increase water sustainability.

Black & Veatch and AECOM
Chew Men Leong, PUB chief executive; Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore Minister for the Environment and Water Resources; Cheong Hoe Wai, executive vice president and executive director of EPC Projects – Energy, Black & Veatch; Tony Shum, AECOM president for APAC; and Peter C.S. Lee, AECOM regional executive for SSEA at the contract signing of the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System Phase Two project. Image: AECOM

Global engineering and construction firms Black & Veatch and AECOM (B&V+AECOM) announced a joint venture to engineer the extension of the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS) in Singapore, a ‘superhighway’ of underground infrastructure stretching across the city-state.

PUB, Singapore’s national water agency, awarded this second phase of the DTSS project to the two companies on Tuesday at the sidelines of the Singapore International Water Week, a four-day conference held in Marina Bay Sands that saw a total of S$14.5 billion in announced and awarded projects, tenders, investments and MOUs.

A highly anticipated project that could set a benchmark in water services such as water collection and water treatment in Asia, Phase Two of the DTSS aims to enhance the energy efficiency of these processes and improve the country’s water security, as well as save valuable land space for urban development.

This second phase will extend the existing tunnel  which covers the north, east and central areas of Singapore  to the western side of Singapore through a 30-kilometre-long South Tunnel, 70 kilometres of link sewers and about 12 kilometres of deep sea outfall, or the outlet of a drain to a body of water. It will also include the Tuas Water Reclamation Plant (WRP), said B&V+AECOM.

The entire DTSS will lead to a 50 per cent reduction in land occupied by used-water infrastructure, leaving three centralised collection and water treatment points above ground – the Changi WRP in the east, Kranji WRP in the north, and Tuas WRP in the west.

“The project’s vision underlines PUB’s innovation and global leadership in sustainable water solutions,” said Cindy Wallis-Lage, president of Black & Veatch’s water business.

“The Deep Tunnel Sewerage System is an efficient and cost-efficient solution to meet Singapore’s long-term needs for used water collection, treatment, reclamation and disposal,” PUB noted on their website.

We are honoured to be a part of the DTSS project, which will enhance Singapore’s water sustainability and resilience — solidifying its place as a leader in the global water industry

Michael S. Burke, AECOM president and CEO

The used water that has been collected and treated is then further purified into ultra-clean, high-grade reclaimed water called NEWater, or discharged to the sea through the outfalls,” they explained.

Prior to starting the DTSS Phase Two, B&V+AECOM will first conduct a feasibility study and preliminary design. As the lead consultants of the project, they will also manage the delivery of DTSS Phase 2 in coordination with supporting firms, such as Ramboll, a consulting engineering company from Denmark, and global auditing and professional services firm KPMG. They will also seek to collaborate on ideas with key tertiary institutions in Singapore, noted B&V+AECOM. 

Michael S. Burke, AECOM president and chief executive officer, said: “We have assembled a compelling joint venture team of world-class local and global experts, who look forward to delivering a sustainable infrastructure solution.”

“We are honoured to be a part of the DTSS project, which will enhance Singapore’s water sustainability and resilience — solidifying its place as a leader in the global water industry,” he added.

Aside from freeing up land for higher-value developments, the DTSS will also enhance the energy efficiency of water collection and treatment. A NEWater factory will also be integrated with the Tuas WRP, which will help Singapore’s long-term goal of increasing processed water production to up to 55 per cent of its total water demand, according to the joint venture team.

This NEWater, since it is high-grade clean water, is supplied to wafer fabrication, electronics and power generation industries, as well as commercial and institutional complexes for air-conditioning cooling use. Potable water, on the other hand, is used for domestic or residential purposes.

An Integrated Waste Management Facility will also be located at the upcoming Tuas WRP site. This will be in coordination with the National Environment Agency to integrate used water and solid-waste treatments to maximise energy and resource recovery, said B&V+AECOM.

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