West Park Project Wins National Award

Project Name
West Park Wet-Weather Storage Facility
Village of Wilmette
Wilmette, Illinois
Service Period
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In 2016, RJN Group, Inc., received national recognition for a major design-build project. RJN’s West Park Wet-Weather Storage Facility project was selected by the APWA (American Public Works Association) as a Public Works Project of the Year in the Structures category, $5 Million to $25 Million.

The Village of Wilmette experienced numerous reoccurring basement backups during major rain events over the last decade. To solve this problem, the West Park Wet-Weather Storage Facility, a 5.5 million gallon, concrete, underground storage tank located below a multi-use public recreation facility on the west side of the Village of Wilmette, Illinois, was designed and constructed.

The tank provides needed collection system capacity during wet-weather events. Designed and constructed under a joint-venture design-build partnership between RJN Group, Inc., and Boller Construction Company, the West Park Wet-Weather Storage Facility project was impressively completed in a little more than a year. This complex project was completed using an alternate design-build delivery method, requiring extensive communication, public outreach, and coordination with multiple stakeholders and regulators.

For a time-lapse video of this project's construction, click here.

But it is not the project construction and completion alone that is impressive: The new wet-weather storage facility is making news with how effective it is. Recently, it was reported that "without the West Park sewer reservoir storing roughly 5 million gallons of sanitary sewer water that recent storms pushed into west Wilmette's separate sanitary system, Wilmette Public Works Director Brigitte Berger estimated that between 600 and 1,200 west Wilmette homes would have experienced some sewer backup. 'I know that some homes still experienced sewer backup in west Wilmette,' Berger said. 'But the basement flooding and resulting property loss would have been significantly worse had this improvement not been built.'" ("Flood control helping in west Wilmette, but more work necessary: Berger," Pioneer Press for the Chicago Tribune, Kathy Routliffe, 8/9/2016)  

Project Metrics

  • 5.5 million gallon concrete storage tank-310 feet long by 168 feet wide by 22 feet high
  • 20,000 tons of concrete (1,200 truckloads)
  • 1,200 tons of steel
  • 98 columns – 26 inches in diameter – poured on site
  • 90,000 cubic yards of dirt excavated

Key Factors

  • Determining the optimal size of the storage tank was accomplished by a thorough cost-benefit analysis
  • The West Park site required clear intergovernmental cooperation between the Village and the Park District
  • MWRD “buy-in” was critical