Sanford, FL – October 17, 2016 – The City of Tarpon Springs Reverse Osmosis Facility and Supply Systems project, constructed by the design-build team of Wharton-Smith, TetraTech and Harn R/O, was recently recognized with a prestigious Merit Award in the Water/Environmental category of ENR Southeast’s Best Projects. The project team will be honored at the ENR Southeast Best Projects Awards event November 15, 2016 in Orlando.
For over a decade, the City of Tarpon Springs has worked towards finding its own independent water supply. The new alternative water facility at Tarpon Springs is the City’s first water plant which has made this dream a reality. Prior to this facility, the City purchased about 80 percent of its water from Pinellas County, which is supplied by the Tampa Bay Water regional system. The complex, $36 million project consists of four major components: a reverse osmosis water treatment facility, the outfitting of 15 wells with pumps, raw water transmission pipelines, and a concentrate disposal pipeline. The project also includes an operations building including labs, offices, electrical rooms, RO skids, and a 5 million gallons (MG) water storage tank with an internal 2.5 MG separate tank. The City of Tarpon Springs has a population of about 25,000 and the new plant produces up to 6.4 million gallons of water per day.
The project also demonstrates the importance of partnerships in meeting a regional environmental challenge. The Tampa Bay region is growing rapidly, which places stress upon our natural resources, particularly the water supply. Inland freshwater wellfields have provided the historical water supply for the region. Over time, the concentrated pumping from these freshwater wellfields has produced measurable environmental damage. In response to this problem, the regional water management district has placed limits on the withdrawals from 11 overstressed regional facilities. The City of Tarpon Spring’s Alternative Water Supply Plan provides a cost-effective approach to achieving a sustainable quality water supply thus reducing the amount of water previously pumped from inland wellfields and allowing them to recover so that the environment can be sustained and protected. Recognizing the importance of this project in diversifying the water supply in the region, the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) partnered with the City to fund the project.
ENR Southeast’s annual competition recognizes the “best” construction and design efforts in the Southeast region of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Puerto Rico. Projects are evaluated on the project team’s ability to overcome challenges, as well as the project’s construction and design quality, safety record, and contribution to the industry and community.