The New York Association of Consulting Engineers (NYACE) presented 90 engineering excellence awards to New York State engineering firms for the design of outstanding projects in the United States, Canada, the Philippines and Korea. This year, NYACE member firms also captured 20 national awards for engineering achievement from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), NYACE's national organization.

Eleven firms won NYACE's Diamond Award, the highest award for excellence at the state level, for 14 projects in six categories including: building/technology systems; environmental engineering; structural systems; studies, research, consulting engineering; transportation and special projects. Three firms, Hazen and Sawyer, P.C., Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers and Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas, Inc., each won Diamond Awards in two categories.

Some of the Diamond Award winners include the following:

    --Hazen and Sawyer, P.C., New York, NY. The 322-acre Blue Heron Watershed in Staten Island was an area that lacked sufficient drainage/sewage infrastructure to handle flooding and water quality. Since a conventional piped sewer system would permanently eliminate the area's protected wetlands, Hazen and Sawyer solved the problem by enhancing the capabilities of the natural waterways drainage corridors with seven engineered systems strategically located at pipe-to-stream interfaces along three drainage corridors. The method, known as "best management practices" (BMPs), saved the wetlands and $18 million in construction costs compared to traditional sewerage methods.

    --Atkinson Koven Feinberg Engineers, New York, NY. AKF was charged with the design of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems for the FDNY's new state-of-the-art Live Fire Training Facility at the Randall's Island Training Academy. The two-story, 5,900-square-foot facility permits multiple training scenarios to be conducted simultaneously. The complicated m/e and plumbing systems and the equipment connections for the building had to meet the dynamics of all fire emergency simulations--flame, heat, smoke, noise, flashover--more than 100 times a day. The facility's ventilation system was designed to withstand the high temperatures produced by the fire simulators, each of which is required to have a dedicated exhaust fan that provides at least two air changes a minute.

    --Hazen and Sawyer, P.C., New York, NY/Camp Dresser & McKee, Woodbury, NY, joint venture. In 1993, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection entered into a Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD) for the Catskill/Delaware water supply, which provides nearly 2 billion gallons of water a day to city residents. The NYCDEP selected Hazen and Sawyer/Camp Dresser & McKee to perform conceptual/preliminary design for a filtration plant. While that work progressed, H&S/CDM explored filtration alternatives, which included ultraviolet light (UV) disinfection. H&S/CDM's feasibility study and conceptual design report, supported by in-depth computer modeling, concluded that UV disinfection was effective against water-borne pathogens, thereby laying the groundwork for what will be the world's largest UV disinfection facility, providing the same or better health protection against pathogens for less than one-fifth the cost of filtration.

    --Metcalf & Eddy of New York, Inc., New York, NY. The huge cost to New York City of removing nitrogen from wastewater sludge has been lowered dramatically with the innovative design by Metcalf & Eddy of an acetogenic bioreactor. The bioreactor, housed at the 26th Ward Pollution Control Plant in Brooklyn, converts waste sludge to environmentally friendly organic acids. The acids can be used in the wastewater treatment process, offering the potential savings to the city of more than $170 million in lifecycle costs.