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Leaders Visit Dallas’ Able Pump Station to Tout Benefits of Water Infrastructure Investment

Sept. 19, 2023
City and federal officials join the Engineering & Public Works Roadshow to highlight how public works, engineering improve communities with infrastructure investment.
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DALLAS, TX — An award-winning pump station in south downtown Dallas that protects residents from the Trinity River today was showcased by the national Engineering and Public Works Roadshow as an example of how infrastructure investment can improve the resilience of a community, protect residents, and encourage economic growth.

The Able Pump Station in downtown Dallas, Texas won awards from both the American Council of Engineering Companies and the American Society of Civil Engineers since its completion in 2019 and has been credited with providing 100-year flood protection to approximately three square miles of high-profile land that was historically vulnerable to severe flooding events from the Trinity River.

The Engineering and Public Works Roadshow is a joint project of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), the American Public Works Association (APWA), and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

What Success Looks Like

The Roadshow marks the first time the leading organizations representing the designers and public operators of America’s infrastructure have joined together to shine a spotlight on what successful infrastructure investment means for the nation’s economy, jobs, the environment, and our future. 

At today’s press conference, US Rep. Marc Veasey, Dallas Water Utilities Interim Director Sarah Standifer, HDR North Texas Water Business Group Manager Lance Ferland, and the leaders of ACEC, APWA and ASCE offered comments on the importance of projects like the Able Pump Station.

“Water resilience and stewardship are fundamental qualities of healthy communities,” APWA President-Elect Lisa Rapp, said. “And the Able Pump Station delivers on both. As public works and engineers work every day to make our infrastructure stronger as climate change stirs unimaginable storms and natural disasters, Able Pump shows exactly how this can be accomplished. Dallas and the region are better protected because of this new technology. We believe it will be the inspiration for other American cities and towns to follow suit with the help of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, or IIJA, which, with full funding, will deliver many more infrastructure improvements and climate-resilient communities.”

“The Able Pump Station in Dallas is an excellent example of the research and development engineers undertake every day to produce safer, more resilient designs and improve lives," said Linda Bauer Darr, CEO of the American Council of Engineering Companies. "The people of Dallas know all too well that catastrophic weather events like flooding, hurricanes, wildfires, hail, and severe winter storms are becoming more common. That's why we're traveling the country with the Engineering and Public Works Roadshow to celebrate the ways engineers and public works professionals are standing up to the challenge. The Able Pump Station is a perfect example of how America’s engineers are responding to a changing environment. But they are also working hard to design the next generation of infrastructure that will withstand the next superstorm or 100 year flood.”

“Protecting the health and safety of American communities is a top priority of civil engineers, and the Able Pump Station in Dallas is a good example of infrastructure projects working to provide better security and peace of mind for Texas families and businesses,” said ASCE Executive Director Tom Smith. “The innovative restoration of the Able Pump Station expanded the protection of Dallas communities, including underserved areas that often took the brunt of the Trinity River’s frequent flooding events. These engineers and public works professionals truly made a difference, and funding from the IIJA can make more of these projects a reality, not only in Dallas but across the nation.” 

The Public Works Roadshow

California’s Long Beach International Gateway Bridge was the Roadshow’s first stop in November 2022 and was followed by a second stop at the Main Street Station in Richmond, Virginia this past March. The need for more people in both professions is real. ACEC estimates 82,000 new engineers will be needed to fulfill the mandate of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The Able Pump Station, located on the south side of Riverfront Boulevard between the Houston and Jefferson Street viaducts, is designed to provide 100-year flood protection to approximately three square miles of highly desirable land.

The properties adjacent to the previous Able sump complex had experienced frequent flooding. The sump complex included nine separate and interconnected ponds that store stormwater, as well as two existing pump stations, constructed in the 1930s and 1950s, with a combined capacity of 220,000 gallons per minute. To help prevent the loss of life as a result of flooding, the City of Dallas hired HDR to design the new Able Pump Station, which increases the pumping capacity nearly fourfold, to 875,000 gallons per minute. It also lowers the 100-year flood elevation from 399.0 to a design elevation of 392.5 feet.

As the federal government continues to implement this monumental legislation, the second year of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will not be fully realized without an expanded and robust workforce. It is imperative that students nationwide are educated on the rewarding careers of civil engineering and public works so that these professions have the necessary staffing to complete transformative projects.

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