Posted: October 2015

October 20, 2015

New Hires Add Talent to Our Team

Our Charleston office recently added two new talented employees to the ranks – Jared Bramblett, PE, LEED AP and Joshua Weeks.

Jared is a civil engineer specializing in Stormwater Infrastructure, Site Design and Low Impact Development. He comes to Davis & Floyd with a Civil & Environmental Engineering degree from the University of South Carolina, and nine years of experience in modeling, designing and permitting infrastructure improvement projects as well as watershed and stormwater system analysis and design. His roles have ranged from project management to site development planning and permitting, as well as preparing hydraulic and hydrologic models across the state. Jared is also LEED accredited and a Certified Erosion Prevention & Sediment Control Inspector. An excellent addition to our statewide water team, he’s currently working on City of Charleston Drainage Improvement Projects at Calhoun West and Market Street sites, as well as contributing to the Market Street Streetscape project. For both locations, Jared is also working on the stormwater modeling and system design.

Joshua is a survey crew field technician who will assist with surveying roads, bridges and construction sites and completing fieldwork and reports data to ensure the larger scope of the project is on target. Joshua is a recent grad of Midlands Technical College and has spent the past year working with the Town of Harleyville’s maintenance team, maintaining the water and wastewater system, while performing upkeep and operations records. Now that he’s on board with Davis & Floyd, Joshua is working as the instrument man operator on the Magnolia development as well as other private development ALTA survey projects.

Davis & Floyd is pleased to welcome these two new hires. Both are already complementing our teamwork across the state and ensuring forthcoming project successes.

October 13, 2015

Assessing Damages After Record Rains

As South Carolina recovers from devastating flood damage across the state, Davis & Floyd has been working alongside state and local officials to assess damages after record rains and ensure the safety of our fellow residents. Between anticipating needs, inspecting infrastructure and leading essential conference calls, we’ve worked with counties and state departments to make assessments and give recommendations on water levels and structural safety.

Charleston County

Image of Davis & Floyd engineer Michael Horton speaking to audience at the Charleston County Emergency Operating Center about the South Carolina flood

Davis & Floyd’s Chief Engineering Officer Micheal Horton presenting at the Charleston County Emergency Operating Center on the predicted flood levels along the Edisto and Santee rivers.

Once the record-breaking rains ceased, Charleston County contacted Davis & Floyd for assistance in predicting flood levels along the Edisto and Santee rivers. As water from the Upstate added to the rivers’ capacity downstream, communities near the rivers would be at increasing risk. Using prior study information, topographic maps, National Weather Service flood stage data and predictions, we were able to prepare mapping that assisted the county in notifying at-risk residents as well as issuing timely evacuation warnings.

Our Chief Engineering Officer, Michael Horton, led a multi-county conference call about the Edisto River which led to a press conference by Charleston County to warn residents along the Edisto River and encourage them to evacuate.

Lexington County

Image of Davis & Floyd engineers inspecting bridges in Lexington County after the South Carolina flood

Davis & Floyd’s Chris Gilliland (left) and Rob Stevenson, SE (right) assist Lexington County with structural assessments of area bridges.

Lexington County also asked our structural engineers to provide bridge assessments – of 12 bridges to be inspected; Davis & Floyd was assigned to six. We pulled past inspection reports and headed out the following afternoon to assess damage and determine how much the water levels were changing. By comparing past reports and looking for additional scour at abutments and foundations, our team was able to report to the county whether bridges could be safely used, and if not, what needed to be done to repair any damage.

We’ll continue to provide expertise and partner with local and state officials to monitor the ongoing situation in order to keep South Carolinians safe.

October 8, 2015

Wastewater Retrofit Design Using Diamonds

Image of the configuration of wastewater treatment filters in the existing basin at the Wilson Creek WWTP in Greenwood,  South Carolina, designed by Davis & Floyd

Configuration of wastewater treatment filters in the existing basin at the Wilson Creek WWTP in Greenwood, SC.

Out at Davis & Floyd’s primary office in Greenwood, South Carolina, one of our longtime clients is the Greenwood Metropolitan District (GMD), which owns the Wilson Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Greenwood County. In 2012 we were engaged to retrofit the site’s traveling bridge sand filters. The outcome of our design marked an innovative and first-of-its-kind project for South Carolina.

What GMD had to overcome was that the plant’s existing filters had been installed in 1991 and were currently requiring frequent repair and became easily overloaded during storms. While those are common problems, wastewater treatment plants require upgrades and retrofits for a variety of reasons.

To create a system that could handle higher capacities in the future, heavy flows during storm events, and offer improved water quality treatment, Davis & Floyd undertook an evaluation of filter alternatives. Based on the plant’s existing infrastructure, we were able to recommend that AquaDiamond Filters be used for this particular retrofit. The advantage to these filters was that rather than vastly changing the shape of the existing filter basins or adding additional sand filters, the cloth membranes on the AquaDiamonds would fit within the basin footprints, operate with much of the same flow path as the sand filters, and require less additional construction.

When wastewater treatment plants experience more flow than they were designed to treat, it leads to hydraulic bottlenecks. These bottlenecks decrease the ability of the plant to treat wet weather flows. The cloth membrane’s additional filtration surface area can increase capacity within the basin without increasing the floor area or structure size. Every wastewater treatment plant’s capacity to grow is different, based on number of basins or the status of their current treatment method. Which means that designing a new system – especially a retrofit – is a different challenge each time.

We found that because of the configuration of the filters selected for this project, the design was able to more than double the actual filtering capacity of the Wilson Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, even during peak flows, and still only use two of the three basins available. Therefore, the third filter basin became available for future use. The new filters also increased the filtration spectrum and lowered turbidity – which both contribute to improved UV treatment.

Upon completion in 2013, the filter upgrades represented an innovative use of existing structures, provided advanced and additional filtration capacity, and came in under budget to boot. At the time this type of upgrade was the first of its kind in South Carolina – another pioneering moment by Davis & Floyd.

Explore more Water projects by Davis & Floyd.

October 6, 2015

North Charleston’s Landscape Buffer Solution

A graphic diagram created by Davis & Floyd showing a proposed landscape buffer in section as it progresses from planting to maturity.

Proposed landscape buffer in section as it progresses from planting to maturity. The above diagram represents year 5 in the maturation process.

Over the weekend, The Post and Courier reported on one of our projects that’s been praised by city leaders, residents and a nearby roadway construction business. When the city of North Charleston approved the rezoning of property that sat next to a residential neighborhood to “light industrial,” part of the compromise was to include a 20-foot-high sound wall between Banks Construction and the Lake Palmetto townhomes.

Upon further research, our team of experts found that building the sound wall would lead to unforeseen repercussions such as a significant reduction in the size of the neighborhood’s lake to build a large enough foundation to support the wall. We went back to the drawing board and were able to collaborate with teammates who’d done similar civil engineering work at the Boeing site and on transportation projects in Dorchester County.

Davis & Floyd was able to propose a new solution, a landscape buffer, which would meet the same criteria – sound and dust reduction – while requiring less lake fill-in and creating a more natural aesthetic. The article in The Post and Courier quoted the president of the neighborhood’s homeowner association as saying the compromise was “a triple win.”

Pending final approval, the landscape buffer will include tall and mid-height trees as well as shrubs. Because we want the buffer to stay healthy and functional, we put a lot of work into choosing the right plants, with an emphasis on native and evergreen plants, which will have vigorous growth and year-round protection. Moreover, since sound and dust reduction requirements were a priority, we put additional time into finding plants that had a variety of textures and leaf sizes to capture and block dust from moving between properties.

Because of our expertise in large-scale projects like Boeing and our transportation projects in Dorchester County, we’re able to pull solutions from a variety of fields – using proven ideas from one site and improving upon them at another. Thanks to our team’s recommendations, the neighbors, city and existing construction company were all pleased.

We know it’s difficult to achieve a consensus among many parties, but we’ve also seen that good design can solve a lot of the issues a community may face. As densities increase across the state, we’re inevitably left with fewer land buffers and have to get creative when different, and sometimes conflicting, land uses are located on adjacent properties. With zoning, long-term master planning and engineering expertise, we think triple wins are always within reach.