Back River WWTP Baltimore, Maryland

Archer Western is leading the efforts to clean and protect Chesapeake Bay through $500 million in improvements at the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant.

On the Shore of the Back River

Owned and operated by the City of Baltimore, the project is located on the west shore of the Back River; just off of the Chesapeake Bay.

Two Projects Across 466 Acres

Crews are constructing two projects that include one the world’s largest nitrogen-removal filters, a dozen clarifiers, six large activated-sludge reactors and new pumps stations, as well as numerous facility upgrades across the plant’s 466 acres.


The $263 million enhanced nutrient-removal upgrade will create a massive nitrogen filtration system nearly 250 ft long by 350 ft wide, with 52 filter cells, which are each approximately 100 ft long and 30 ft deep.


The $282 million Activated Sludge Plant 4 project, will provide an additional 90 mgd of capacity at the facility via six activated-sludge reactors, with a combined volume of 40 million gallons.

One Million Cubic Yards of Material

Archer Western is excavating nearly one million cubic yards of material, pouring 225,000 cu yd of concrete and installing approximately 7,500 16-in. auger-cast piles that will total 102 miles in length.

14 miles of underground pipe, 26 miles of interior pipe and 13 miles of buried duct banks will be installed throughout the project.

Conquering Challenges

With proven self-performing capabilities, Archer Western was able to overcome manpower, schedule and material constraints on the project.

Recouping Lost Time

In the early stages of the project, active winter weather caused delays in the teams concrete schedule.

In an effort to recoup lost time, Archer Western implemented double shifts in the following spring and summer months.

Accelerated Self Performance

With weather conditions on their side, crews poured the last three quarters of concrete in the same amount of time it took them to pour the first quarter.

Limited Workforce for Massive Project

One of the largest challenges was presented before any work began. To properly staff both projects, Archer Western needed to employ hundreds of workers on the massive site.

Assembling a Dedicated Team

By utilizing resources and hiring new professionals, Archer Western was able to successfully assemble a project staff that included nearly 700 dedicated tradespeople, along with local MBE and WBE partners.

On the Right Track

As one of the largest Wastewater Treatment Plant Builders, Archer Western brings a history of proven experience and leadership necessary to deliver this massive treatment plant upgrade to the City of Baltimore and the citizens surrounding Chesapeake Bay.

The Back River WWTP will be the first line of defense to protect Chesapeake Bay. Archer Western is scheduled to complete the upgrades that will enhance the facility and directly benefit the waterway by May 2017.
Photo Credit: Bruce Buckley, ENR MidAtlantic

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