Northwest Regional Water Reclamation Facility Expansion
Best Project

Owner: Hillsborough County, Fla.
Lead Design Firm: Tetra Tech
Contractor: Garney/Wharton Smith, a Joint Venture

The $193.2-million project replaces two 40-year-old treatment plants with a combination of advanced energy-efficient technologies that collectively triple the facility’s wastewater handling capacity, provide more consistent and uniform treatment and support the region’s growth for the next 20 years. A first-of-its-kind 6-MW natural-gas microturbine keeps the facility operational during power outages.

To maintain consistent treatment operations during construction of expansion elements, the project team of Garney/Wharton Smith and lead designer Tetra Tech implemented a facility maintenance plan that adjusted treatment trains and increased capacity. Measures to ensure construction quality began during the design phase with third-party constructibility reviews, yielding innovations such as integrating junction boxes at key points in the plant’s piping system to maintain operations. The contractor team of Garney Construction and Wharton Smith also established a non-conformance quality reporting structure to identify and track corrective actions on construction items that were out of compliance. During key points in the project, complete facility-wide 30- and 60-day operational and performance tests demonstrated achievement of treatment objectives and project operational requirements.

Efforts to establish the new plant as a good neighbor began during the preconstruction phase. With a popular local sports venue serving as the primary construction entrance, the team conducted more than 20 public meetings to discuss project impacts to traffic and safety. All concrete placements and major equipment deliveries were scheduled during early-morning windows to avoid traffic congestion. A staffed checkpoint helped monitor and control traffic accessing the project area.

To address widespread community concerns about odor and noise, the project team relocated the headworks to the site interior, incorporating baffles and sound attenuation barriers into process equipment and installing odor-control scrubbers. Other community benefits include a new park with trails accessing adjacent environmental areas and more than 90 acres of new and restored wetlands.

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