Rafael Ortega is nationally known as one of the leading engineers in water and wastewater pipeline engineering, condition assessment and rehabilitation. With more than 36 years of experience serving clients from California to Florida, the Great Lakes to Texas, he set out on his own and opened Aurora Technical Services, LLC (Aurora). Mr. Ortega has spent his entire career serving municipalities and agencies on some of the largest and most complicated water and wastewater systems in the U.S. This experience, coupled with serving on multiple national standards committees and pipeline-focused organizations, has taught him to successfully meet project challenges requires a high level of expertise, current and relevant technical aptitude, and knowing how to construct the project.

Prior to starting Aurora, Mr. Ortega served as a Vice President and Director of Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc.’s (LAN) Large Diameter Infrastructure Division. With LAN for more than 33 years, he led the firm’s team serving the City of Houston’s multi-year, multi-phase, multi-million-dollar Surface Water Transmission Program and oversaw the design of more than 500 miles of large diameter pipelines including nearly 100 miles of tunnels. This work has included route alignment studies, development of project-specific phasing plans to mitigate potential operational impacts, detail design including development of technical specifications, coordination with the general public in order to address community concerns, and constructability reviews.  This work also included modifications to several groundwater pump stations, metering stations and pressure reducing valve stations.

Mr. Ortega’s designs have included various materials such as PCCP, steel, ductile iron, PVC, HDPE and FRP as well as different installation methods, including open cut and trenchless construction such as HDD, micro-tunneling, TBM, augering/bore-and-jack and pipe insertions.

Mr. Ortega takes an active part in the total quality of design for all projects. As part of this effort, he performs technical engineering, constructability reviews, and quality control checks of each design. Mr. Ortega reviews encompass the various reports prepared by others (geotechnical, environmental, etc.) and the project specifications. He has also performed these quality control tasks on numerous other projects for public-sector clients.


Master of Business Administration, Business Administration; University of Houston
Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering; University of Houston

Professional Engineer No. 60253, Texas

Houston Water Main Inspectionconcrete assessment

Rafael Ortega, PE; President