Wharton-Smith Celebrates Grand Opening of Tarpon Spring’s Reverse Osmosis Water Facility

water plant team

Sanford, FL – December 22, 2015 – After more than a decade of challenges and delays, the new Tarpon Springs Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant celebrated the facility’s grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony on December 16, 2015. More than 150 gathered at the plant’s entrance to commemorate the occasion. The grand opening marks a new milestone for the City of Tarpon Springs, making the city an independent water supplier with the ability to supply its residents their own drinking water.

The $36 million project includes four major components: the reverse-osmosis water treatment facility, the outfitting of 15 wells (drilled by the City) with pumps, the raw water transmission pipelines and concentrate disposal pipeline.  The facility also included a 5 MG water storage tank with an internal 2.5 MG separate tank.

Reverse osmosis is a water treatment process that purifies brackish water by removing dissolved particles, minerals and ions.  The groundwater pumped from wells is boosted to high pressure to force the salty water through membranes to remove impurities. The process is permitted to produce 6.4  million gallons of drinking water per day, giving the City control over its water supply to ensure the quality is consistent.

The new treatment plant was funded by a grant from the Southwest Florida Water Management District due to the alternative upper Floridan aquifer water source for the project. It will help diversify the water supply in the region. “This is a great day for the City of Tarpon Springs,” remarked Paul Smith, Director of the city’s Public Services Department. “This project is a great example of what can be accomplished with teamwork and leadership,” he added.

The project was designed and constructed by the design-build team of Wharton-Smith, Tetra Tech and Harn RO who were all hailed for their team effort to get the project done on budget and without any further delays. In fact, the complex project was completed without a single change order, something that rarely occurs during construction these days. Clyde Burgess, Project Director for Wharton-Smith led the design-build team and commented that he was honored and privileged to have been a part of this effort. He stated, “We all shared the City’s vision for quality and excellence and were successful because of three C’s – cooperation, collaboration and coordination.”