The city of Houston, Texas, in association with four regional water authorities, is expanding its Northeast water purification plant (NEWPP) from 80 million gallons per day (mgd) to 400 mgd, dramatically increasing its ability to support steady residential and commercial growth while reducing dependency on groundwater. The Houston Waterworks Team, a joint venture between CDM Smith and CH2M, is delivering this $1.2 billion project in partnership with the city and the four authorities. The NEWPP project is the largest progressive design-build project of its kind presently underway in the United States.
Leading Water Supply Innovation
As part of the expansion, the Houston Waterworks Team is designing and constructing a new raw water facility, including intake, pumping and conveyance to withdraw raw water from Lake Houston and deliver it about 1.5 miles away to the expanded NEWPP. The raw water from Lake Houston is challenging to treat because it is “flashy,” meaning the water quality characteristics vary widely due in part to the lake’s shallowness. During rain events, the turbidity, organics and alkalinity of the water change drastically. These changes make the water difficult to treat with a single treatment process alone. To address these challenges while meeting the city’s goals, the team is delivering significant water supply innovation.