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AECOM engineer Cherry Yau works on award-winning projects

AECOM engineer Cherry Yau works on award-winning projects

 June 26, 2023

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AECOM celebrated International Women in Engineering Day and shared how its women engineers #MakeSafetySeen by demonstrating strong safety principles in their work and committing to deliver a safer world through their engineering expertise.

As Chief Resident Engineer from AECOM's Water business line in Hong Kong, Cherry Yau describes one of her most impactful Water projects: the transformation of a traditional sewage treatment plant into a safe and green ecological campus for all.

Meeting the needs of new development areas

AECOM SWHEPP project site

The project [pictured above] started end of 2019 and involved upgrading the capacity and treatment levels of an existing Shek Wu Hui Sewage Treatment Plant to become Shek Wu Hui Effluent Polishing Plant (SWHEPP), for which AECOM continues to provide design, project management and construction supervision services.

The primary goal for the project in conjunction with the client, the Drainage Services Department (DSD) of Hong Kong SAR, is to deliver the facility in a safe, cost-effective and collaborative manner while building strong relationships with different stakeholders and the surrounding local communities. Upon completion, SWHEPP will become the largest tertiary sewage treatment plant in Hong Kong and will meet the needs of the new development areas in the region.

Applying AECOM's core safeguarding values

As Chief Resident Engineer for the project, Cherry leads a team of 130 staff overseeing four construction contracts. Given the multidisciplinary nature of the project, Cherry is also involved in the implementation of digital technologies such as Blockchain, BIM, CDE and electronic site supervision systems.

"Safeguard is one of our core values at AECOM. Due to the nature of the project and the potential hazards involved, safety is of paramount importance, especially when it comes to protecting the workers on-site. The construction of SWHEPP is a complex project that involves various risky construction activities such as deep excavation, construction of large reinforced concrete tanks in special shape, working within running sewage, and installation of hefty mechanical and electrical systems. Safety measures are in place to prevent accidents and injuries and minimize various risks such as confined space, work at heights, heavy lifting and electrical hazards," says Cherry.

Implementing a comprehensive safety program

AECOM engineer safety program
Cherry provides project team a training on safety protocols.

Cherry continues: "Together with the project team, we have implemented a comprehensive safety program that includes training on safety protocols, providing appropriate personal protective equipment, deriving alternative construction method to avoid risky construction operations, conducting regular safety inspections, and promoting a culture of safety on the job site. These safety measures have ensured that the project is completed with minimal incidents. They’ve also received wide acclaim. SWHEPP has won the Best Construction Sites Safety and Housekeeping Award (E&M Works Contracts Category) from DSD’s Construction Sites Safety and Housekeeping Award Scheme 2021, and Merits in 27th and 28th Considerate Contractors Site Award Scheme by the Development Bureau."

"Additionally, the project team conglomerated a unified BIM execution plan covering the four contracts under this project and adopts BIM360 as a Common Data Environment (CDE) to serve as the project’s centralized design information and data exchange platform. The CDE allows each discipline and each interfacing contractors to gather synchronized information with up-to-date models, based on which project team members can carry out cross discipline discussions to identify interface issues which require coordination, as well as to visualize construction methodologies and future operation modes with animations to identify potential safety concerns prior to implementation," says Cherry.

Creating positive impact on the public

Cherry adds how advanced technologies such as the Membrane Bioreactor, the plant is treating effluents efficiently and meets the tertiary standards to avoid extra pollution to the nearby Deep Bay which has high ecological value for the neighboring community. Through improved water quality in the area, the project is creating positive impact on the general public and will help preserve the local marine environment.

"We were also able to increase the treatment capacity of the plant two-fold within its existing footprint. This upgrade allows the plant to treat more sewage and meet the needs of a growing population in the New Territories. The project ensures that there is sufficient capacity to treat sewage, reducing the pollutants and improving the overall quality of life for the local community. This project was selected as Winner of Water Project (2021), Winner of Contract Innovation (2022), and Runner-up of Consultant (2023) of the Year under the Martin Barnes Awards, which recognizes excellence in project delivery and showcase examples of good practice through collaboration from across the world," says Cherry.

AECOM inwed
A front-line colleague receives Excellent Performance Award from Cherry for demonstrating strong safety principles at the project site.

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