Boston, MA

Union Park Detention Facility


The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) owns and operates five facilities that treat Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs)during storm events before it reaches Boston Harbor and its tributary rivers.  As part of the Boston Harbor restoration effort, MWRA upgraded all five facilities, including the Union Park facility.  SGH assisted Barletta Engineering (Barletta) by designing a support of excavation system and a bulkhead/cutoff wall at the pump station.

SGH designed support for a 150 ft wide by 300 ft long and 35 ft deep excavation to accommodate underground detention basins that can hold about 2.2 million gallons of combined sewage.  The earth support system consisted of steel sheet piling and two levels of steel bracing.  The struts spanned significant distances and for intermediate vertical support, we designed two lines of pin piles with built-in adjustment to maintain strut alignment due to base heave.

SGH performed a staged analysis to determine bracing loads and wall deflections.  We required all bracing to be preloaded with hydraulic jacks to minimize wall deflections and adjacent earth movements.  We coordinated the earth support design with final construction details and helped develop detailed phasing plans and construction sequences to outline the contractor’s means and methods.

At the pump station, SGH designed a bulkhead/cutoff wall that consisted of steel soldier piles and wales with timber lagging filled with a cement-bentonite mixture.  The bulkhead wall enabled Barletta to demolish and reconstruct a significant portion of the wet well and discharge chamber while maintaining operation of the MWRA pump station and maintaining a watertight bulkhead.  During construction, SGH oversaw a series of trial batches and performed laboratory testing to confirm appropriate field mixing of the bentonite in the concrete delivery trucks.

Project Summary



Completion Date


Construction Value
New Construction
Infrastructure & Transportation
Barletta Engineering Corporation | Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
Specialized Capabilities
Temporary Construction | Geotechnical

Key team members

Aaron Lewis
Aaron Lewis
Structural Engineering Region Head, East
William Konicki
William Konicki
Senior Principal