Thomas P. Smith Water Reclamation Facility

City of Tallahassee  |  Tallahassee, Florida


MWH Constructors performed construction management at-risk services to improve and incorporate a more efficient, enhanced nutrient removal treatment process to meet environmental standards. Capacity was nearly doubled from 14.3 mgd to 26.5 mgd, with a future upgrade to 30.5 mgd.

Project Scope

MWH Constructors worked closely with the City of Tallahassee in support of their environmental commitment to protect Wakulla Springs and the City’s water supply. The City has made an environmental commitment to protect Wakulla Springs and the City’s water supply. Their main goal for this project was to provide a more efficient and enhanced nutrient removal treatment process that would produce effluent that meets the new Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) permitting requirements.

MWH Constructors served as the construction manager at-risk for this wastewater expansion project, doubling plant capacity to 26.5 mgd, with a future upgrade to 30.5 mgd. The original project scope included upgrades to two plants, one of which was to be expanded. MWH Constructors eliminated the need for one treatment plant, sending the flow to the other plant and ultimately saving the City $40 million.The construction included a new headworks facility; a new preliminary treatment facility; new primary treatment clarifiers and primary effluent pumping station; a 5-stage Bardenpho secondary treatment system with a new blower and pump building, new mixed liquor conveyance system; new secondary treatment clarifier and RAS/WAS pump station and piping; new deep bed denitrification sand filters; new effluence pumping MCC building; and a new biosolids processing building.


Millions of Dollars Saved to Owner


Concrete and steel construction debris recycled from demoition

Manhours worked without a lost time incident

Project Challenge

The Thomas P. Smith WRF had to remain fully operational during construction. The overall project contained intricate piping and electrical utility modifications that required a great deal of planning to successfully tie in new services to existing facilities. The tie-ins require careful coordination between the contractor and the plant’s operations staff to ensure the required plant shutdowns, or the shutdown of individual facilities, are quick and safe.

Project Solution / Result

The updated facility was able to reduce the nitrogen levels in the water to a record low. (The lower nitrogen level helps to improve the water quality of area lakes, streams and springs, preventing the growth of invasive plants, such as hydrilla and algae.)The project team achieved FDEP permit requirements more than two years ahead of schedule. In October 2012, their annual average effluent nitrogen level was approximately 2.4 milligrams per liter (mg/L). Their permit did not require them to be under 2.5 mg/L until 2015. The key success factors involved in the completion of this project included the installation of process piping. The detailed planning and coordination conducted by MWH Constructors and the City’s plant operations staff was a true testament to teamwork. This project was successfully completed one week early.



“Everyone in the City, including myself and upper management, are very pleased with the success of this project. We’re meeting the permit requirements and we’ve had minimal impact on City airport operations; we have a glowing safety record, no lost time accidents; and we’ve been able to maintain continuous operations of our existing treatment plant. We have met every challenge with success, and yes, I can say unhesitatingly that we are extremely pleased with this project.”

Jim Oskowis

Construction Manager, City of Tallahassee