Go to Top

Veolia and Tampa Bay Water, FL, Water Treatment Partnership

2003 NCPPP Infrastructure Award Winner
Project Location: Tampa, Florida
Public Sector Partner: Tampa Bay Water
Contact Name: Michelle Robinson, Assistant to General Manager for Communications, 727.791.2304, mrobinson@tampabaywater.org
Private Sector Partner: Veolia Water North America
Contact Name: Christie Kaluza, Marketing Communications Manager, 281.985.5481, christie.kaluza@veoliawaterna.com

Project Summary
Tampa Bay Water (TBW) is Florida’s largest public wholesale water supplier. Its members include Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties and the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg and New Port Richey that together, serve approximately 2 million customers. The regional water agency draws on average 167 million gallons of water per day (MGD) from the Floridian Aquifer as well as from three other surface water sources – the Hillsborough River, Alafia River and Tampa Bypass Canal.

In 1995, TBW developed a Master Water Plan that maps out how the agency will meet the region’s water needs over the next decade. Surface water is part of Phase 1 of the Plan.

A significant part of Phase 1 involved building a new, environmentally friendly surface water treatment plant (SWTP) that would provide high-quality drinking water at the lowest possible cost. In addition to withstanding drought and seasonal variations, the system installed had to handle a wide variation of flow rates and water quality while meeting stringent drinking water quality standards set by local, state and federal agencies.

The Design-Build-Operate Process
Wanting the best available technology for the best market price, TBW selected the cost- and timesaving benefits of a design-build-operate (DBO) option. Such an agreement would enable the water agency to sign a single contract for services with one private-sector team. This team would be responsible for designing, building and operating the facility under a long-term agreement.

After evaluating several proposals, the water authority selected the Veolia Water North America (formerly USFilter Operating Services, Inc.) team of Tampa-based general contractor The Clark Construction Group, engineer Camp Dresser & McKee, Inc. (CDM) of Sarasota, Fla., and, of course, the water treatment system and service provider and project leader Veolia. The $144 million, 15-year agreement with an optional 5-year renewal is one of the largest water treatment DBO contracts in the United States.

As part of the agreement, CDM and Clark provided the process design, construction engineering and construction services for the design/build portion of the project. Veolia assumed all risk for cost, schedule and facility performance, providing overall 66-MGD water plant project and construction management, equipment supply and startup services, as well as operating and maintaining the facility. Veolia is also responsible for ensuring water quality, water production, and chemical and electrical usage, as well as compliance with all federal and state drinking water regulations.

The regional utility estimates that its partnership with the water treatment provider will save the region’s member governments approximately $85 million or 21 percent over the contract lifecycle. These savings will ultimately be passed on to ratepayers. The Tampa Bay Regional SWTP.

An important component of TBW’s Master Water Plan, the new Tampa Bay Regional SWTP will serve as the cornerstone of an enhanced surface water system. Currently, the system includes two new pumping facilities connected to the SWTP by large-diameter pipelines. Surface water system operations will fluctuate with available river flows until 2005, when a new 15-billion-gallon regional storage reservoir is completed. Once finished, the first 66 MGD of available flow will go to the SWTP, with any excess treated water pumped into the reservoir helping supply the region with water during dry periods.

The treatment process incorporates automation and some of the most advanced industry technologies, including high-rate ballasted flocculation, ozone disinfection and biologically active granular activated carbon filtration. In a large-scale, six-week pilot testing program, TBW compared this process design to the conventional flocculation-sedimentation design specified in the project’s base bid. The utility concluded that the selected compact treatment process produced better finished water quality, improved process reliability, lowered treatment costs and reduced space requirements by one-fifth.

During Veolia’s ACTIFLO® microsand ballasted high-rate clarification process, microsand and polymer are added to remove color, total organic carbon and turbidity from the raw water.

Then ozone gas disinfects the water, efficiently destroying microorganisms and pathogens, avoiding formation of chlorination byproducts, and improving taste and odor. Post-oxidation, the water flows to the granular activated carbon dual media filters to remove any remaining turbidity or solid particles and to biologically remove the dissolved organic compounds that were oxidized in the ozone process. Finally, sodium hypochlorite and aqua ammonia are added to create chloramines.

Finished water from the SWTP is blended with desalinated seawater and treated groundwater in nearby storage tanks. The blended water is then sent to TBW’s distribution system or remains stored until needed.

Solid byproducts of the water treatment process are dewatered to 18 percent, using on-site gravity thickeners and mechanical belt presses. After air-drying, the residuals are hauled away for processing as fertilizer for the citrus industry.

Originality
A significant part of Phase 1 involved building a new, environmentally friendly surface water treatment plant (SWTP) that would provide high-quality drinking water at the lowest possible cost. In addition to withstanding drought and seasonal variations, the system installed had to handle a wide variation of flow rates and water quality while meeting stringent drinking water quality standards set by local, state and federal agencies.

The treatment process incorporates automation and some of the most advanced industry technologies, including high-rate ballasted flocculation, ozone disinfection and biologically active granular activated carbon filtration. In a large-scale, six-week pilot testing program, Tampa Bay Water compared this process design to the conventional flocculation-sedimentation design specified in the project’s base bid. The utility concluded that the selected compact treatment process produced better finished water quality, improved process reliability, lowered treatment costs and reduced space requirements by one-fifth.

In the first stage of treatment, Veolia’s ACTIFLO® microsand ballasted high-rate clarification process removes color, total organic carbon and turbidity from the raw water. During the process, microsand and polymer are added to the water. While impurities in the water adhere to these substances and sink quickly to the bottom of the settling tanks, the water rises to the top for further treatment. At this point, lime is added to help raise the water’s pH level to normal.

Then ozone gas disinfects the water, efficiently destroying microorganisms and pathogens, avoiding formation of chlorination byproducts, and improving taste and odor. Generated on-site ozone is much safer for plant employees and nearby community members.

Post-oxidation, lime is again added to raise the water’s pH level before the water is sent to the granular activated carbon dual media filters. In addition to removing any remaining turbidity or solid particles, the filters also biologically remove the dissolved organic compounds that were oxidized in the ozone process.

Sodium hypochlorite and aqua ammonia are added in the final stage of water treatment, to create chloramines. Finished water from the surface water treatment plant is blended with desalinated water and groundwater in nearby storage tanks. The blended water is then sent to Tampa Bay Water’s distribution system or remains stored until needed.

Solid byproducts of the water treatment process are dewatered to 18 percent, using on-site gravity thickeners and mechanical belt presses. After air-drying, the residuals are hauled away for processing as fertilizer for the citrus industry.

In addition to the advanced and unique technologies used, the facility supplied the first nongroundwater source to the TBW regional system. For the first time ever, TBW supplied customers with a blend of treated surface water and groundwater.

Quality and Implementation
TBW’s state-of-the-art SWTP came online in Sept. 2002 – a mere 28 months after the DBO team received the contract. The facility successfully handles a wide range of flow rates and treats variable source water, with a turbidity level consistently at 0.25 NTU. TBW is also meeting water quality standards that are three times greater than those required by the U.S. EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act and state regulations.

To help preserve the area’s ecosystem and ensure the rivers maintain a minimum flow rate, the regional water agency carefully follows its water use permit and calculates daily water withdrawal amounts. When river flows are higher, more water is withdrawn; however, no water is withdrawn below a designated low-flow amount. TBW also regularly conducts environmental studies to make sure the water plant is not adversely affecting the source waters.

Economics – Appreciable Cost Savings
The regional utility estimates that its partnership with the water treatment provider will save the region’s member governments approximately $85 million or 21 percent over the contract lifecycle.

These savings will ultimately be passed on to ratepayers. Additionally, Veolia is providing water at 53.9 cents per 1000 gallons, which is significantly lower than TBW’s original estimates.

The regional water utility also saves in labor costs. The SWTP’s highly automated, user-friendly graphic interface control system allows the plant to operate with a staff of only 16.

Strong Partnership Made Project Successful – Documentation of Benefits to both Public and Private Partners
“The DBO was successful largely because of the strong partnership between TBW and members of the design/build team,” says Jerry L. Maxwell, general manager of TBW. “We faced several challenges throughout the project, but the team effort ultimately made this project a success.”

Three months into the project, a local environmentalist group filed suit to challenge the project’s construction permit for using the design/build delivery method. The challenge was ultimately defeated, but it delayed the start of construction by five months. Then mid-way through the permit challenge, TBW discovered the need to increase the designed plant capacity from 60 MGD to 66 MGD. Veolia amended the plans, without altering the project completion date.

Stewart McKenzie, vice president of development for Veolia’s Southern region, touts the utility’s patience and support as equally important to the project’s success. “TBW has been very supportive throughout the project. Utility personnel actively participated in making decisions, but deferred to the team’s expertise and knowledge on designing, building and operating the plant.”

The partnership between TBW and the DBO team is gaining industry recognition. In 2003 alone, the plant received two awards. The Associated General Contractors of America honored the utility with the 2003 Build America Award in the “Municipal & Utilities – New” category.

And the American Academy of Environmental Engineers bestowed its Grand Award – Design on TBW at the 2003 Excellence in Environmental Engineering competition.

“Partnering facilitated the fast-track delivery of this project,” says Veolia’s Jack Rebholz, P.E., PMP, senior project manager. “Without partnering, the project would not have flowed as seamlessly.”

The Tampa Bay community also appreciates the team’s efforts. In addition to reducing the strain placed on the region’s groundwater supplies and producing high-quality drinking water at a low cost, Veolia is working with local Tampa Bay elementary schools to educate children about filtration, rain and other water concepts. Many area schools are using Veolia’s Water Box teaching tools that contain an entire school year’s worth of water experiments.

NCPPP MENUS