Preliminary Engineering Reports

A Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) is a document developed by the engineer to assist in the planning and assessment of a project for a utility. A completed PER is required by state and federal funding agencies prior to obtaining funding for a utility project. So, what is included in a PER? This ultimately depends on what the capital improvement project includes.

Generally, a PER includes an assessment of an existing water, wastewater, or stormwater utility with a focus on a specific need, such as (a) increasing capacity at a treatment facility to accommodate growth; (b) installing process changes to accommodate new regulatory limits; (c) upsizing capacity in a sanitary collection system to mitigate overflows; (d) extending potable water distribution to new service areas; or (e) improving stormwater management in a section of town that regularly floods. Various alternatives are developed and assessed based on costs, user rates, environmental impacts, and other non-monetary factors, culminating in a recommended project. Some PERs may require the development of a model of the utility system to explore different alternatives. Cost estimates are assembled for each alternative considered and the impact of these costs is determined based on current utility funds, user rates, and other future needs.

This report ultimately allows funding agencies to understand the needs of a community. More importantly, they allow the community to understand their needs holistically and provide guidance on how best to allocate resources in the future. A PER also provides the proper framework for proceeding with the design of a project and understanding the scope of the needed work.

To learn more about the benefits of a PER, when it is required, and how Commonwealth might be able to assist, contact Theresa-Criss Hartwig.