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LEE + RO Recognized by Engineering News-Record with the 2020 Best Water/Environment Project for the California Region

LEE + RO is honored to be recognized by Engineer News-Record for the design work on the Hyperion Secondary Effluent Pump Station for West Basin Municipal Water District (WBMWD). Due to the extremely small size footprint for the pump station, there were some doubts about the feasibility and constructability of the design. Working in partnership with WBMWD's general contractor PCL, the LEE + RO team tackled every challenge to successfully deliver an outstanding result. 

Said CEO Dhiru Patel, "We're proud of the collaborative approach that our team brought to this project. These improvements to Hyperion will save millions of gallons of potable water each year, protect our coastal aquifers from seawater intrusion, provide an economical alternative to using potable water for industrial processes, and reduce the amount of (treated) sewage released into the ocean—all while making beneficial reuse of an underappreciated, untapped resource: Los Angeles’ raw wastewater."

Click here to read the case study.

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LEE + RO at CWEA's 2020 Virtual Conference

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. October 15, 2020 – Aneal Shah, P.E., has joined the firm’s Walnut Creek office as a supervising engineer. Shah brings to the team more than 25 years of engineering and leadership experience in sustainable water. His professional areas of expertise include design and operational knowledge of activated sludge processes, membrane bioreactors, anaerobic digestion, advanced water treatment, and water re-use.
To learn more about Aneal, please click HERE.


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LEE + RO's Zaheer Shaikh to Moderate the CWEA's Session "Engineering & Research: Operation & Management Practices"

On October 21st, LEE + RO's Zaheer Shaikh, PE, will be moderating one of the key sessions at CWEA's virtual conference. The featured speaker is Jean-Marc Petit, PE, the Director of Engineering and Technical Services at Central Contra Costa Sanitary District. He's a 30-year industry veteran who oversees the Planning and Development, Regulatory and Environmental Compliance, and Capital Projects divisions for the District. 

LEE + RO is proud to be the PURE WATER PLUS sponsor of CWEA's virtual conference.

CWEA Featured Speaker
September 2020


LEE + RO is proud to be the PURE WATER PLUS sponsor of CWEA’s first virtual conference from October 19-22. As fellow Californians, we understand the challenges that we’re all dealing with during this pandemic. We also know how important it is to ensure that you and your team are delivering safe and secure water to your communities.

We hope that you are planning on attending. And if you are, we’d love to schedule a chat on Zoom to learn about your current challenges and explore how we can assist you and your team during these difficult times. We’ll even treat you to a cup of Starbucks coffee!

To schedule your 1-on-1 Zoom call, please email our VP of Marketing, Rick Liskow, at

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LEE + RO Launches LinkedIn Recruiting Campaign

LEE + RO today launched its "Make LEE + RO Your Choice" recruiting campaign on LinkedIn. The campaign is focused on its employees and why they chose to come to the company to either start their careers or to make the next move in their established careers. The fact is they're all looking for the same thing: a place where they can have the greatest impact.

The idea for the campaign came from the many interactions that company President Charles Ro had with a lot of the employees. "Our employees are the reason for our success and our ability to take the company to the next level. And we’re looking for people just like them: passionate professionals who will help move all of us and the great work we do forward."

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September 2020

Water Infrastructure Veteran Eric Magee Joins LEE +RO

Eric Magee, PE MBA, has joined LEE + RO as a supervising engineer. He’s an established civil engineer and a certified Envision Sustainability Professional. He brings more than two decades of experience and a passion for solving some of the most complex water infrastructure challenges facing California. Eric has extensive experience in water, wastewater, and recycled water engineering. To learn more about Eric, please click HERE .

Eric Magee News Lockup
September 2020

LEE + RO Donates to California Food Banks Struggling to Meet Increased Demand Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

LEE + RO has made donations to four food banks representing Northern, Central and Southern California. The recipients of $1,000 each are the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, The Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, and the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.

“Our company has a commitment to providing water security for Californians for generations,” said LEE + RO President Charles Ro. “But with so many Americans struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic, we saw our mission reflected perfectly in this first focus on the urgent issue of food insecurity.”

With roughly 30 million Americans unemployed and 54 million facing hunger – including more than 18 million children – every community in the United States is at risk.

Fortunately, everyone can make a difference in the way that’s most meaningful for them:

Donations Sept 2020 New Lockup
June 2020

Riverside Regional Water Quality Control Plant Tequesquite Landfill Blowers Rehabilitation Project

The City has contracted with LEE + RO to replace the three-existing single-stage rotary sliding vane gas compressors with a new centrifugal blower system with two blowers. LEE + RO’s scope of work covers the demolition of the existing compressor system, design of the new VFD driven blower system, including an overhead canopy structure, condensate management, electrical, instrumentation and controls, and permitting assistance.

The City of Riverside is the owner and operator of the now closed Tequesquite Landfill. In 1988, a landfill gas collection system was installed to comply with regulatory requirements. Landfill gas was conditioned and compressed utilizing three rotary sliding vane compressors and transported via pipeline to the Co-Generation Facility at the City’s Regional Water Quality Control Plant (RWQCP). Gas strength and quality degraded over time and a gas flare was installed onsite to flare the landfill gas. In 2019, an ultra-low emission flare was installed to replace the original flare. However, the existing compressors are improperly sized for the new flare, generating inadequate vacuum to efficiently pull the landfill gas from the collection wells at the Tequesquite Landfill’s collection head and convey it to the new flare.

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June 2020

Secondary Effluent Line Replacement and Davis St. Manhole Replacement

The City of San Leandro has issued a contract to LEE + RO to provide engineering services for a project to rehabilitate the 36”diameter Secondary Effluent (SE) line at the City’s Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP), replace the sanitary sewer junction structure adjacent to the WPCP, and rehabilitate the existing 30” diameter and 33” diameter sanitary sewer pipes entering the plant from the junction structure. LEE + RO will provide the preliminary design, final design, bid phase and engineering support services during construction. Final design documents will be provided within 5 months of the notice to proceed. Project design elements include:

  • Install a CIPP liner in approximately 500 LF of the existing 36" diameter SE pipeline between the SE effluent box at Secondary Clarifier No. 1 and the Effluent Pump Station at the City's Water Pollution Control Plant
  • Provide a bypass plan for a temporary bypass pumping system to bypass the entire plant flow during the rehabilitation work
  • Clean the inverted siphon in the pipe prior to the rehabilitation work
  • Replace the existing influent junction box structure located in front of the old abandoned headworks with new manholes located in front of the new headworks
  • Install two new manholes on the two influent sanitary sewer pipes (30” diameter and 33” diameter) to reroute flow directly to the new headworks at the WPCP
  • Coordination with various agencies to relocate utilities, if necessary
  • Conduct CCTV inspection of approximately 3,200 LF of the 30" and 33" diameter sanitary sewer pipes
City of San Leandro - Secondary June 2020 Lockup
May 2020

Treatment Plant 1Water System Hydraulic Modeling Services

Central Contra Costa Sanitary District has contracted LEE + RO to perform hydraulic modeling of the 1Water (1W) system at their 54 MGD treatment plant. A computer-based model of the plant’s 1W system will be created in InfoWater and steady-state simulations of the existing system will be performed to analyze different demand scenarios such as Average Day, Maximum Day, and Peak Hour flows. Field testing will be performed to record flow and pressure measurements with the temporary flow and pressure loggers and the data will be used to calibrate the model.

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April 2020

Ely Booster Station Hazard Mitigation Project

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded a $2.3 million Hazard Mitigation Grant to Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water) to provide Ely Booster Station protection against a 500-year flood and 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Ely Booster Station is located within 5 miles of the Rodgers Creek Fault and sits in a 100-year floodplain, and local assessments identified issues that threaten its reliability during a flood or a seismic event. Historically, the station has been inundated by floodwater during the rainy season, where extreme elevations of water threatened operability and raised safety concerns for onsite personnel.

Sonoma Water has contracted with LEE + RO to provide engineering design services for the improvements to Sonoma Water's Ely Booster Station. The result will be a long term, independent solution to the risks posed by flood and earthquake events. These actions will effectively provide protection against a 500-year flood event and a magnitude 7.0 earthquake and completion of the project will mitigate the risk of Sonoma County residents losing this precious water resource in the event of a disaster.

The engineering design services will include sealing and elevating electrical appurtenances above the 500-year floodplain, replacing the pump motor housing structures and anchoring equipment critical to the operation of the booster station. The project will also replace the existing medium voltage switchgear with a new switchgear, complete with new motor starters. The switchgear feeds two 500-hp pumps.

Sonoma County Ely Booster April 2020 Lockup
April 2020

Treatment Plant Piping Renovations Phase 10

LEE + RO has been awarded a project to design various mechanical and electrical improvements throughout the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District’s 54 MGD treatment plant. The scope of work includes:

  • Replacing the sodium hypochlorite piping
  • Replacing the secondary scum piping
  • Replacing the potable 1Water (1W) hydropneumatic tanks, pumps and piping system
  • Installing stop gates upstream of the UV basin inlet gate and replacing the UV inlet gates
  • Replacing the plant water (3W) system VFDs with smart VFDs
  • Replacing secondary clarifier conduit and conductors
  • Replacing corroding UV junction boxes in the pipe chase
  • Replacing lighting transformers for Substation Nos. 33, 34, 40, & 52
  • Replacing VFDs for UV air handler and hypochlorite pumps at hypochlorite site 1
  • Replacing the primary effluent pump 300HP VFD with a smart VFD
  • Replacing 8 Rexa actuator controllers on the aeration basin air headers
  • Resizing the hypochlorite dilution water centrifugal pumps at hypochlorite site 1
  • Replacing the boiler chemical piping with stainless steel tubing
  • Installing new chlorine analyzers for the 3W system
  • Replacing the secondary clarifier inlet gates
Center CC Lockup
April 2020

Rehabilitation and Betterment CIP: Electrical Upgrades

The Solano Irrigation District owns and operates approximately 200 agricultural electrical facilities that power pumps and wells at isolated locations throughout the District’s service area. The existing power distribution at the sites does not meet current NEC requirements. The District desires to update these electrical facilities to (1) upgrade all services to 4-wire; (2) meet current electrical code requirements; (3) provide shelter from the elements for the electrical equipment; and (4) harden the sites against tampering, theft, and vandalism.

The project includes developing standard details for installing or upgrading electrical infrastructure and preparing plans and specifications for upgrading 12 existing electrical facilities, including permitting and coordinating with PG&E. All of the identified facilities have 3-wire services and most exhibit additional issues such as no visible grounding, exposed wiring, cracked wiring insulation, broken conduits, lack of equipment shelters, weathered and unstable electrical panels and electrical service power poles. Design services also include sizing portable generators for 11 remote pump sites. In addition to the electrical improvement designs, LEE + RO will prepare design plans for necessary civil improvements, including grading, access roads and fencing, structures and foundations for panels and shade structures.

Solano Irrigation District April 2020 New Lockup
December 2019

Pressure Reducing Station Upgrades for the City of San Diego

Dokken Engineering has partnered with LEE + RO to provide the civil, structural (vault sizing and layout), mechanical, electrical and I+C engineering work for the upgrades to 11 of the City of San Diego’s pressure reducing stations at various locations within the City and to develop a Radio Repeating Station. The project consists of the design and construction of replacement pressure reducing stations, complete with supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) instrumentation, water main removal or abandonment and replacement, appurtenances, revegetation of the existing parkway areas, pavement resurfacing, curbs, gutters and sidewalks.

LEE + RO will prepare the civil, mechanical, structural, electrical and I&C plans for the pressure reducing stations, including piping in the streets and paving repairs. In addition to the design services, LEE + RO will also provide bid phase services and engineering support services during construction.

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December 2019

Seal Beach Pump Station Replacement

LEE + RO has been awarded a contract by the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) to replace the existing 50-year old Seal Beach Pump Station with a new 34 MGD capacity pump station. The new Seal Beach Pump Station will feature a deeper wet well to facilitate the bypassing and eventual decommissioning and demolition of the upstream Westside Pump Station. The new Seal Beach Pump Station, located on the same site as the existing Seal Beach Pump Station, will meet current and future flow demands to year 2040. Due to a contaminated groundwater plume in the vicinity of the project, there is no allowance for water table drawdown or dewatering of the approximately 50-foot deep excavation.

The site layout is tightly constrained by the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, large arterial roads, and the existing Seal Beach Pump Station that must remain operational throughout construction. The new $45 million replacement pump station includes demolition, civil, mechanical, structural, architectural, HVAC, electrical, instrumentation and control systems design, site improvements including above ground buildings, underground vaults, manholes, new gravity sewer and force main segments, odor control, facilities for drainage, paving, landscaping and irrigation, perimeter walls and security, storm drains and other utilities, in addition to temporary facilities as required to maintain operation of the pump station during construction.

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October 2019

Potable Water Steel Reservoir Seismic Retrofits

Moulton Niguel Water District (MNWD) owns and operates a total of 38 reservoirs as part of their potable and recycled water distribution systems. Of the 38 reservoirs, 32 are above grade/partially buried steel tanks with 26 tanks in the potable water system and 6 tanks in the recycled water system. An assessment study completed for the District in 2015 concluded that 18 of the 26 steel potable water reservoirs require one or more of the following improvements to comply with current seismic codes and standards:

  • Retrofit of the existing concrete ring wall footing
  • Installation of a flexible inlet/outlet coupling
  • Installation of a flexible drain coupling

In October 2019, the District engaged LEE + RO to provide the seismic retrofit designs for the 18 potable water steel reservoirs. The scope of work includes preliminary and final design; preparation of construction documents and construction cost estimates; FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant requirements research and implementing procurement requirements into the construction documents; bid phase support; and construction phase engineering support services.

LEE + RO reviewed the structural calculations from the 2015 assessment study for one of the tanks and determined that tank does not require the concrete ring wall footing retrofits recommended in the study. The District requested that LEE + RO conduct a structural analysis on each of the other seven tanks that the assessment study recommended retrofitting the ring wall footings. This could potentially result in substantial savings to the District from not having to drain each of these tanks and take them out of service in addition to the cost of the retrofit work itself.

Moulton Niguel October 2019 New Lockup
October 2019

Sewer Lift Stations Nos. 9 & 11, Sewer Collection and Water Distribution System Improvements

The City of Calexico contracted with LEE + RO to provide engineering and design services necessary to increase the capacities and upgrade existing Lift Station No. 9 and Lift Station No. 11 and replace associated force mains and collection system gravity sewers, in addition to replacing domestic water pipelines to accommodate additional development in the area.

The project consists of the following items:

  • Increase capacities of two existing 250 GPM self-priming duplex lift stations to 1000 GPM each
  • Replace the lift stations’ existing 6-ft diameter wet wells with new 12-ft diameter wet wells.
  • The new skid-mounted centrifugal sewer lift stations shall be fully equipped with all associated piping, valves, and instrumentation.
  • New motor control centers (MCCs), control systems and alarms
  • New emergency backup generator
  • Lighting and perimeter fencing
  • Replace existing 12" AC waterline with new 12" PVC waterline
  • Replace existing 15" gravity sewer with new 24" gravity sewer
  • Replace existing 8" gravity sewer with a new 18" gravity sewer
  • Replace existing 8" and 10" force mains with new 8" and 10" force mains
  • Sewer bypass pumping
Calexico Lockup
October 2019

RP-4 Influent Screen Replacement Project - Stanek Constructors, Inc.

LEE + RO, as design engineer, partnered with Stanek Constructors to replace the existing influent screens at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency’s (IEUA) Reclamation Plant 4 (RP-4) with more reliable and efficient screens. This $2 million design-build project is intended to replace the two existing perforated plate fine screens with two new ¼” multi-rake bar screens. IEUA pre-negotiated and selected multi-rake bar screens from Duperon Corporation

LEE + RO’s scope of services includes:

  • Reviewing the existing As-Built drawings
  • Conducting a rag study to estimate the rag load and to size the new screenings washer compactor
  • Performing a 3-D scan of the influent channels to identify any issues with the channel walls potentially being out of plumb
  • Preparing design plans and specifications
  • Providing startup, testing, and commissioning services and operator training
  • Providing engineering support services during construction
  • Preparing new As-Built drawings
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April 2019

Regional Treatment Plant MCC Upgrades

The South Orange County Wastewater Authority's (SOCWA) Regional Treatment Plant (RTP) was constructed in 1982 and although there have been a series of upgrade projects over the last 20 years, much of the electrical system remains as originally installed in 1982.

In 2015 LEE + RO was commissioned to conduct an evaluation of the electrical manholes and handholes within the plant’s electrical distribution system. The improvement recommendations included reinforcement of the exterior concrete structures, repair of exposed reinforcing steel, replacement of the sump pump system, and additional support for the cable system for electrical Manhole #3.

Five motor control centers (MCCs) were installed within the Energy Building as part of the original construction. In 2019 LEE + RO was contracted by SOCWA to complete a condition assessment of the MCCs along with five VFD panels and prepare engineering and design documents for the replacement of the MCCs and the rehabilitation of electrical Manhole #3. As part of the MCC condition assessment, LEE + RO will also conduct a MCC utilization assessment to (1) determine the number of MCC buckets no longer in use and develop a plan for providing spare system capacity in the replacement MCCs; (2) conduct a safety assessment by evaluating conformance of area space with NEC, OSHA, and other Code requirements; and (3) develop an implementation plan to layout the procedures and protocol for addressing how the construction of the MCC replacements can be completed while maintaining the plant in operation, which includes construction phasing and identifying methods of providing temporary and standby power during construction.
SOCWA Regional April 2019 Lockup
MARCH 2019

Calexico WWTP Upgrading and Expansion

The City of Calexico owns and operates a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) with a permitted capacity of 4.3 MGD. The existing WWTP consists of two treatment plants; the 2.5 MGD Plant 1 conventional activated sludge plant, and the 1.8 MGD Plant 2 aerated lagoons.

In December of 2017, LEE+RO was contracted by the City of Calexico to prepare a WWTP Master Plan to (1) determine the future wastewater treatment capacity for the next 10 to 20 years based on the current population trends and development projections; (2) perform a condition assessment and determine the life expectancy of the existing process units; (3) identify the unit processes with the lowest lifecycle costs; and (4) make recommendations for the WWTP capital improvements.

In March 2019, the City contracted with LEE + RO to provide the engineering and designs to implement the recommendations from the Master Plan. The upgraded WWTP will be capable of treating an average dry weather flow of 5.8 MGD and a peak wet weather flow of 11.6 MGD and will be capable of producing an effluent with low ammonia concentrations (i.e. less than 5 mg/l) in compliance with potentially reduced future regulatory requirements. LEE + RO’s design incorporates extended aeration basin technology to simultaneously treat the wastewater and reduce effluent ammonia concentrations.

The upgrades and improvements to the WWTP include:

  • New packaged septage receiving station
  • New self-cleaning bar screens
  • New influent metering structure
  • New vortex grit removal system
  • New influent pump station
  • 3 new extended aeration basins and appurtenances
  • New blower building with three new aeration blowers
  • 3 new secondary clarifiers, new RAS, WAS, and scum pump stations
  • Replacement of the existing Calgon UV system with a new Trojan UV 4000 disinfection system
  • New rotary drum sludge thickeners with polymer facility
  • New plant water storage and distribution system
  • New plant stormwater drainage system
  • New electrical buildings and electrical power distribution systems
  • New PLC/SCADA systems
  • New piping for conveyance of wastewater, mixed liquor, secondary effluent, sludges, and utility water
  • Miscellaneous site improvements including paved roads for access to main process units
Calexico WWTP March 2019 Lockup
MARCH 2019

Descanso Gardens

Descanso Gardens (Gardens) is a world-renowned botanical and horticultural garden located just north of the City of Los Angeles. The Gardens use on-site sewer collection, treatment, and disposal systems to treat the wastewater generated by on-site facilities. In 2012, they replaced their existing septic tank and leach field. In 2016, the system began experiencing capacity issues and seepage pit structure failures that resulted in untreated wastewater inundating the seepage pits forcing the Gardens to collect and haul away approximately 6,000 gallons per day of wastewater. John Robinson Consulting (JRC), contracted with LEE + RO to replace the 2012 system.

LEE + RO’s engineering and design services will center around a new membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology, which will produce Title 22-compliant tertiary (recycled water) effluent within a compact, modular footprint. In addition to restoring on-site treatment capacity, the new packaged MBR system will provide the Gardens with the opportunity to utilize the recycled water to irrigate the facility, thereby reducing the Gardens' operating costs and the facility's carbon footprint. The improvements will include:

  • A Cloacina Mempac-M MBR unit
  • Rehabilitation of two existing underground collection tanks
  • Four new 10,000-gallon above-ground recycled water storage tanks
  • New recycled water booster pumping system
  • New electrical switchgear for the Gardens’ new water recycling facility and existing electrical equipment
  • New emergency generator for the Gardens’ new water recycling facility

Descanso March 2019 New Lockup