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Brag Book 2010-2011


Building a New Reservoir

Firm offers construction management services to complex project By Kimberly Kayler


o meet the needs of its expanding population and as a response to existing and future development, the city of Marysville, Ohio, embarked on a project to upgrade its water storage and delivery system. With a total budget of $24 million, the Marysville (Ohio) Upground Reservoir Project consisted of four contracts providing a complete system to capture water from Mill Creek, pump it to the new reservoir, and ultimately deliver the water to the Marysville Water Plant. Although the existing system included a well and a diversion from Mill Creek, there was no real storage capacity for water; so the new reservoir was especially important for the city. One of the four contracts encompassed the construction of a dam, intake structure, and a pump station building, in addition to the installation of an inflatable dam purchased under a separate contract between the city and dam manufacturer. Depending on the flow rates and water levels in Mill Creek, the pump station is able to provide 26 million gallons of water daily to the reservoir. In order to meet the city’s desired completion, an additional contract was issued for the design and procurement of an inflatable dam and associated controls. The inflatable dam system monitors water flow and levels in Mill Creek, as well as adjusts the amount of water diverted to the new reservoir to maintain environmentally friendly flow conditions.


The city was involved in many projects at one time—including building a new wastewater treatment plant. As such, Marysville

officials realized they needed professional assistance to ensure that all projects were executed properly. In 2007, H.R. Gray was hired as the construction manager for the project by the city of Marysville’s Department of Public Services. H.R. Gray provides construction management services for complex projects, including scheduling, cost estimating, and construction inspection, as well as analysis and resolution of construction disputes. “We faced several challenges on this project,” notes Lucius “Lu” A. Marks, P.E., vice president of H.R. Gray. “The original manufacturer specified for the inflatable dam could not meet the delivery schedule, some of the design specifications and materials were outdated, construction changes had to be coordinated with the general trades’ contractor, and the adjacent residential area could not be disturbed during construction.”


Due to product delivery delays with the inflatable dam’s manufacturer, H.R. Gray assisted the city with finding an alternate product that met their timeline. H.R. Gray researched other manufacturers and found a solution that was not only more efficient, but also less expensive than the original system and could be delivered to complete the project on time. H.R. Gray recommended an inflatable dam system from Obermeyer Hydro., Inc., a manufacturer of spillway gates and dams for water control. “The Obermeyer system features a rubber bladder covered by steel gates, protecting the inflatable air bladder from the elements and from floating debris and ice,” says Kristen Braden, a

The inflatable dam has individual bladders that are used to raise and lower the structure. The contract encompassed the construction of a dam, intake structure, an inflatable dam, and a pump station building.




Founded in 1979, H.R. Gray is a unique management and consulting firm serving the public sector offering responsive, cost-effective, quality, construction management services for complex projects and resolution of construction disputes. By utilizing its unique skill set and proactive approach, H.R. Gray’s mission is to help each client successfully manage its construction project from conception to completion. H.R. Gray has offices in Columbus and Akron, Ohio; Lexington, Kentucky; and Austin, Texas. For more information, visit

project manager at H.R. Gray. “The original design called for a dam that, at any particular time, would be either all inflated or all deflated. This would limit the city’s control over the diversion of the water and could prevent the city from meeting environmental requirements. Instead, the selected system consists of four independently operating bladders and gates allowing much more precise control of the amount of water diverted.” By controlling the pressure in the bladders, the pool elevation behind the dam can be infinitely adjusted within the system control range (full inflation to full deflation) and precisely controlled by the city. With this system, the city can easily meet regulatory requirements for water flow and other environmental concerns. The system is also more aesthetically pleasing since, when the dam is completely deflated, the rubber dam is covered by the steel gates, which are curved and flush with the creek bed. Additionally, while the dam is inflated, a minimum flow over the dam will be maintained and residents downstream from the dam will still see water flow in the creek.


Due to the project’s proximity to a park and a residential subdivision, it was crucial that the surrounding area not be disrupted during construction. Through a tremendous amount of coordination, H.R. Gray was able to keep the public happy and allow continuation of normal activities. “We set up a project Web site and e-mail address to keep the neighbors informed of construction activities and progress,” Marks says. “Before construction started, we held a public meeting to address any concerns. And to keep the residents informed, we regularly handed out flyers.”

H.R. Gray stipulated that construction work take place during appropriate hours and made sure that the contractor did not damage any personal property. To alleviate dust conditions, the surrounding area was continually watered, and roads were cleaned often to remove mud tracked in by construction vehicles. Because the reservoir was also close to a school, H.R. Gray closely monitored large deliveries to avoid traffic congestion and maintain pedestrian safety. “With H.R. Gray’s involvement, the surrounding community was able to continue with its day-to-day life with as little intrusion as possible from construction-related activities,” Braden says.


The new dam allows Marysville city operators to have greater control over the water level and flows on both sides of the dam. Since multiple air bladders inflate independently, operators can vary the amount of air in the dam on a day-to-day basis, making the dam a more efficient and effective tool. For the residents, the creek that runs through the park behind their homes still exists and has been made even more appealing. Additionally, Marysville decided to make the top of the embankment around the reservoir a walking path. H.R. Gray’s construction management services proved to be a wise choice for the city of Marysville. All of the design challenges were solved, the new inflatable dam system was a much better solution than the original product, and the area’s residents were not disturbed during construction. Even with the addition of a fire suppression system in the pump station and inclement weather, the project was completed on schedule in April 2009. ■


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