Tetra Tech Receives ACEC Massachusetts 2019 Engineering Excellence Gold Award

Providing innovative water treatment design and construction oversight services in Liberia
May 24, 2019 9:00 AM ET

International Development

The American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts (ACEC/MA) honored Tetra Tech with the 2019 Engineering Excellence Gold Award for its achievements on the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Liberia Municipal Water Project (LMWP) I & II. This award recognizes engineering projects for innovation, complexity, fulfillment of client needs, socio-economic considerations, and future value to the profession. Tetra Tech provided engineering design, construction oversight, and institutional reform on LMWP, while building the capacity of the water utility and local engineers.

Through LMWP, the project team retrofitted dilapidated water treatment plants and expanded water utility infrastructure with renewable energy, slow sand filters, water treatment, distribution, and storage, while mentoring the Liberian water utility. The project provides clean water to 33,000 people. Tetra Tech strategically placed distribution kiosks within 500 meters of nearly every household in each of three cities included in the project, eliminating the safety risks associated with traveling up to 2,000 meters into remote areas in search of water. The intervention incorporated solar technology to reduce diesel fuel consumption and a slow sand filter that eliminates the need for costly chemicals, delivering an affordable solution that can be maintained at the local level. By pairing context-appropriate solutions with capacity building, Tetra Tech set these communities on a path towards self-reliance, training locals to operate and maintain the systems.

To ensure continued, effective management of the new systems, Tetra Tech provides ongoing operation and maintenance training and utility management support to the local private operator. Tetra Tech’s context-appropriate approach on LMWP enables the local water utility to replicate the infrastructure in other parts of the country. LMWP also considered socioeconomic factors throughout project implementation by safeguarding water revenue within the sector—accounting for education levels and developing institutional capacity—which stimulated the economy, boosted public health, and improved sustainability.

Tetra Tech mitigated endemic corruption within the water sector by instituting a public-private partnership between the water utility and a private operator, leading to improved transparency in the water sector and safeguarding USAID’s investment. To establish local ownership and improve accountability, Tetra Tech used community representatives to oversee day-to-day functions.

Tetra Tech provides ongoing support for LMWP, which already has increased daily water production by 180 percent and achieved USAID’s goal to advance Liberia on its path towards self-reliance.