Project Details

  • Location:
    Winchester, CA
  • Delivery Method:
  • Constructed Value:
    $83.7 million
  • Completed:
    June 2007
  • Project Highlights:
    • Expansion of major water
      treatment facility serving
      Riverside and San Diego
    • Accelerated work to recover
      from schedule delay due to
      record setting rains
    • Coordination needed with
      two other major construction
      projects at the plant that were
      being constructed in parallel
    • Used construction crews
      and equipment to help MWD
      respond to flooding and brush
      fire incidents
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Robert A. Skinner Water Filtration Plant Expansion

Metropolitan Water District
of Southern California

The Metropolitan Water District’s (MWD) Robert A. Skinner Water Treatment Plant is the primary source of drinking water for residents of Riverside and San Diego counties. Due to continued population growth in the two counties, the plant was running at maximum capacity and needed to expand to support future water demands in the region. The MWD contracted with Filanc to construct an expansion of the plant’s capacity from 520 million gallons per day (mgd) to 630 mgd. The expansion project included:

  • Two sanitation basins
  • 16 filter cells
  • Three electrical/utility buildings
  • One fire/potable water supply building
Coordination with Related Projects:

The construction of the expansion occurred in tandem with two other major projects at the plant: a new ozone treatment facility and an expansion of the chemical facility. Filanc needed to coordinate with the other two contractors to ensure that there were no activity conflicts or disruptions to other projects or operations. This coordination included working around shut downs, milestones, and materials deliveries related to the adjacent projects. Bi-weekly coordination meetings with MWD, Filanc and the other contractors allowed all of the projects to progress smoothly.


Part of the construction required a shutdown of the plant. Filanc’s contract with the MWD allowed only a seven-day window for the shutdown; therefore, this timeframe was planned during the winter when water usage is historically lower. However, coordination with pump stations and reservoirs throughout the region was needed to ensure adequate water supplies during the shutdown. Filanc was able to perform the construction needed faster than anticipated, thereby reducing the number of days the plant was shut down.

Weather Delay:

The project ramped up in the winter of 2004, a time that saw record-setting rainfall. During this period was when much of the earthwork was slated to occur. While Filanc was accorded days in the schedule to compensate for rainy weather, additional re-work had to be done on the earthwork due to erosion from the rain. This additional re-work resulted in minor schedule delays. In order to meet schedule milestones and commissioning deadlines later in the project, Filanc pulled qualified labor from nearby projects on the weekends to recover the schedule.

“Good Neighbor”

The Filanc team on site went above and beyond to serve the MWD and the community surrounding the Skinner Water Treatment Plant. At one point, an error by those operating the plant caused the construction area to flood. Not only did Filanc respond quickly to contain the flooding with our equipment, but we also built berms to protect the property of homeowners nearby. In another case, a small brushfire started on the plant’s grounds. Filanc sent our crews with water trucks to help extinguish the fire.

Value Engineering

As the largest and most sophisticated potable water supplier in California, MWD did not want to explore value engineering solutions on this fully designed project. Concurrent with our work, there were three other contractors onsite performing in excess of $500M worth of work to support the distribution, filtration and disinfection process. Design packages were closely intertwined between the various work phases. There was a great deal of concern that any design changes, either as a result of value engineering, existing conditions, etc. would impact the other phases of the program and result in delay to the Owner’s ability to produce more water.

However, as the team recognized opportunities for value engineering they made recommendations. Filanc went above and beyond the scope of work to accommodate the Owner with respect to the exterior finish, in particular, the concrete specifications. Filanc came to an agreement with the Owner as to how the final structure finish would look. Filanc presented different finish options, consulted various team members and created test panels so that the Owner could decide. The final outcome was a pleasing aesthetic finish to the structure.


Filanc met all of MWD’s quality, budget and schedule expectations on the Skinner Water Filtration Plant Expansion. Since our work on this project, we have been awarded two more projects with the MWD.