WSB hires Amy Fredregill to lead the firm’s sustainability efforts

The new position will focus on renewable energy and firm-wide resiliency initiatives.

Engineering and consulting firm WSB announced today that Amy Fredregill has joined the organization as their senior director of sustainability. Fredregill joins the firm’s Golden Valley office where she will lead WSB’s renewables and resiliency strategy.

Fredregill was most recently the managing director of the Sustainable Growth Coalition at the Environmental Initiative, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit. Throughout her career Fredregill has supported the Minnesota Association of Cooperatives, Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System Inc. and Xcel Energy.

“Amy brings a wealth of knowledge to this position with both her public and private sector experience,” said Andi Moffatt, vice president of environmental services at WSB. “Many of our clients and their communities are prioritizing resiliency and we will continue to see a demand for sustainable approaches and initiatives in the future.”

This new role will strengthen and expand the firm’s sustainability services and solutions. For years, WSB has been delivering sustainable solutions, such as stormwater and flood management, water reuse, municipal resiliency planning, materials, smart cities and renewable energy. Fredregill will help form the foundation for WSB’s sustainability strategy across markets and divisions.

“WSB’s clients face complex infrastructure challenges and we must find innovative and sustainable solutions to service our client’s needs now and into the future,” said Fredregill. “I’m thrilled to join a fast-growing firm that is committed to resiliency and innovation.”

Sustainability is a long-term goal for WSB as communities throughout the nation continue to prioritize resiliency. As part of WSB’s environmental team, Fredregill will work with many service areas and support the team in terms of knowledge, expertise, business development and execution of the firm’s sustainability strategy.

Construction projects: 5 ways a Constructability Review improves success

By Paul Kyle, Project Engineer, WSB

Construction projects are complicated and include many moving parts. One way to help assure a project’s success, is to engage in a constructability review early in the design phase of a project to make sure all those moving parts are working together as efficiently as possible. These reviews give a second set of eyes to examine your project’s plans and specifications to address areas of risk, identify areas for cost savings, and reduce claims during construction with minimal additional cost or turnaround time. Having an experienced professional provide independent review and suggestions from the viewpoint of a contractor bidding on the project can result in more bidders, better and more competitive pricing, as well as a high-quality and less risky bidding and construction experience.

However, constructability reviews can often become superficial and ineffective due to a lack of understanding of the process, improper implementation, and limited resources. By better understanding the process, the odds of success increase. Below is a list of 5 ways a constructability review can impact a project.

Knowledge of Construction Means and Methods

Effective constructability reviews begin with an in-depth evaluation using knowledge of standard construction methods, materials, and techniques so a project can be analyzed from a construction or field standpoint. Reviewing a project from this perspective evaluates things like the equipment needed to complete the work, environmental or spatial constraints, and installation procedures for the materials being used. Considering these items results in fewer issues during construction and fewer changes in scope.

Understanding of Contract Documents, Specifications, and Special Provisions

Providing a constructable project with transparent and well-defined expectations in the plans and specifications increases the likelihood of more potential bidders on the contract. Clarity in these project documents and specifications supports a clear approach to the project allowing contractors to provide more competitive and accurate bids.

Discipline-Specific Expertise and Resources

Discipline-specific knowledge and resources eliminate the potential for missed or overlooked details resulting in delays or open-ended contract requirements. Expert understanding of specific materials, practices, and specifications leads to an efficiently planned construction project that will stand the test of time.

Understanding of Contractor Scheduling and Bid Methods

Understanding contractor production rates and bid methods reduces the risk of project delays, missed completion dates, and uncertainty in bidding. Knowing how to accurately predict the contractor’s approach, sequencing of work, and bid methods will result in reduction of claims, change orders, and non-competitive or high bidding. Thus, increasing the overall likelihood of an on-time and on-budget completion of the project.

Delivering Intended Project Scope

The goals and purpose of a project often have significant influence over the design process but can sometimes be lost in the transition between design and construction. Incorporating construction specific personnel into the design process ensures the project’s original objectives are integrated into the plans and maintained during construction.

Paul has nine years of experience in construction services and is MnDOT certified in several disciplines. His expertise includes project management, quality engineer, project design, construction inspection, contract administration, record documentation, and materials testing. Paul’s experience as a contract administrator and quality assurance make him a valuable asset to any project.

[email protected] | 612.360.1310

Understanding the TMDL application in the 2020 MS4 permit

By Earth Evans, Director of Water Resources, WSB

The new 2020 MS4 General Permit is now available from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). While there are lots of familiar questions in the permit, the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) application form is new territory for many MS4s. The goal of the TMDL application form is to document progress towards meeting waste load allocations (WLA) for impaired waterbodies that the MS4 discharges to. Unlike previous applications that allowed for a simple qualitative tracking of progress (i.e. listing education programs, ordinance updates, etc.), it is now a requirement to provide documentation of quantitative load reductions, for example how many pounds of phosphorus does your new infiltration basin remove? 

The MPCA has developed a guidance document and a template TMDL spreadsheet unique to each MS4.

But like any new process, there may be some growing pains, so we recommend starting early.

Below are some steps to follow for a smooth transition. 
  1. Identify the subwatersheds in your jurisdiction that are tributary to the TMDL waterbody.
  2. Gather information on structural BMPs that have been constructed or retrofitted in the subwatershed. 
    • Did you complete a pond maintenance project?
    • Have you coordinated with a Watershed District, Soil Water Conservation District or other agency to construct a BMP?
    • Did you include BMPs with a street reconstruction project?
    • Street sweeping?
    • Have you constructed streambank or slope stabilization repairs?
  3. Model to determine the BMP load reduction
  4. Input the load reductions into the TMDL spreadsheet

The spreadsheet will need to be updated annually with the MS4 permit application. The bulk of the effort will be invested with this first application form. 

Reminder that the spreadsheet is due on April 15, 2021 with the Phase II application.

Now that the spreadsheet is updated and there is an understanding of what progress has been made towards meeting waste load allocation and water quality improvements – the next step is outlining a plan to achieve compliance. Subwatershed Assessments are a great method for evaluating, ranking and prioritizing BMPs to continue progress towards WLAs that aren’t met. These assessments focus on identification of drainage areas with little to no stormwater treatment or opportunities for large increases in treatment.  These assessments help the MS4 achieve TMDL requirements or keep waterbodies from being added to the impaired waters list.

The BMP load reductions and cost from the Subwatershed Assessment can be used to apply for grant funding. Reach out to partnering agencies, watersheds, conservation districts to gain momentum, buy-in and funding. There are multiple grants that prioritize funding for projects that work towards compliance with TMDLs.

Earth has 20 years of experience as a project engineer and project manager on technically diverse projects in water resources. She is a technical resource in hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, flood damage reduction and floodplain modeling, water quality modeling and evaluation of best management practices, permitting, and hydraulic design. She has has worked extensively with MnDOT and state aid requirements and coordinated with local, regional, and state permitting agencies.

[email protected] | 763.231.4877