Guest Column | May 11, 2023

5 Large Wastewater Projects For 2023

By Dave Cox


Municipal wastewater treatment operations continue to evolve as they replace and upgrade aging infrastructure and adapt to regulatory changes. As a business developer involved in this market, it can be instructive to keep a pulse on projects that are being planned, let, and awarded by these organizations. Proactive market participants will use forward-looking information gleaned from capital improvement plans, meeting minutes, consent decrees, and other public information sources.

Here are some high-level insights about five large wastewater projects managed by Publicly Owned Treatment Works starting in 2023.

5 Large Wastewater Projects

It's not surprising that some of the biggest projects are coming from the services that have the largest population served. The leading states are Virginia, Texas, Florida, Arizona, and Nevada.

Project Summaries

Noman Cole Treatment Plant Rehabilitation and Replacement

Managed by Fairfax County Public Works and Environmental Services, Virginia, this project is a multiyear investment worth around $344 million. The Noman M. Cole Jr. Pollution Control Plant is an award-winning wastewater treatment plant owned and operated by Fairfax County Government and is located in Lorton, VA. The continuous operations result in effluent quality that consistently meets, or surpasses, strict national and state water quality requirements. This project represents an investment in improving plant rehabilitation and providing necessary replacements.

Walnut Creek WWTP Expansion to 100 MGD

The Walnut Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) expansion is managed by the City of Austin Water, Texas. Austin Water serves more than 1 million customers and operates water and wastewater treatment plants daily. The Walnut Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, as one of the two treatment plants under Austin Water, has been operating for more than 35 years. It receives wastewater flow from Austin Water Utility's sanitary sewer collection system and treats it before returning it to the Colorado River, ensuring that the water is safe for the environment. This project is focused on the expansion of the wastewater treatment plant to 100 MGD, starting in 2023 in order to increase the volume and effectiveness of the wastewater treatment. The project is valued a little over $284 million.

South County One Water Campus Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility

The design and construction of a new Regional Water Reclamation Facility in the South County Service Area is planned to provide additional wastewater treatment capacity. The new facility is needed to meet increasing wastewater demands due to continuing population growth in the South County Area and will ensure the utility system continues to provide an acceptable level of service to customers. The project also includes installation of various wastewater collection system force mains, pump stations, and reclaimed water mains connecting the new facility to the existing utility infrastructure system. Total value of the project is $275 million. The project is managed by Hillsborough County Water & Sewer, Florida.

Cave Creek Water Reclamation Plant Rehabilitation

Cave Creek Water Reclamation Plant Rehabilitation project is managed by the City of Phoenix Water Services Department, Arizona. The project is valued at around $213 million, with almost 70% of the total value planned for allocation in 2024. Cave Creek Water Reclamation Plant is a conventional activated sludge wastewater treatment plant with nitrogen removal and final filtration and with proper phased treatment and disinfection processes. In order to continue its optimal operation, rehabilitation actions are required. The project is a set of activities related to assessment, design, and rehabilitation of the equipment used in the Cave Creek Water Reclamation Plant.

FWRC Preliminary and Primary Treatment Improvements

This project will construct new preliminary and primary treatment facilities at the Flamingo Water Resource Center (FWRC). Per the Master Plan, a new bar screen facility, four grit chambers, and a chemical feed facility, collectively known as headworks, are proposed to be constructed. Additionally, a new odor-control biofilter is required to treat odors from the preliminary and primary treatment facilities. Three new covered primary clarifiers will also be constructed. The three new primary clarifiers will be located southwest of the existing primary clarifiers and downstream of the new preliminary treatment facilities. Managed by Clark County Water Reclamation District, Nevada, this project is worth a little over $191 million.

Dave Cox is the president and founder of FirmoGraphs, a business focused on applying Business Intelligence (BI) to North American industrial and utility operations (see He earned a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, and an MS from the University of Texas at Austin in environmental engineering. He is a California Professional Civil Engineer. Dave has spent his 30-year career doing engineering, marketing, and sales work with asset-intensive organizations in the energy, water, oil, and technology industries. He is passionate about using data to help North American industry make better decisions to improve both financial performance and the environment.