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Highland Avenue WTP Expansion

Plant expansion preserves the past while preparing for the future.

  • New Highland Avenue Water Treatment Plant-Gannett Fleming

    A new facility houses seven new filters, the new chemical feed, and administrative offices. 

Augusta Utilities Department

Augusta, Georgia

Our Role
Lead Design Engineer, Construction Support.

65 mgd
Construction Cost
$70.5 million
  • Generated a reliable water supply for more than 160,000 customers

  • Expanded capacity from 45 mgd to 60 mgd

  • Implemented numerous process upgrades.

Faced with increasing water consumption demands from a growing population, the century-old Highland Avenue Water Treatment Plant required an upgrade and expansion. Because the plant required that the expansion take place on its existing plot of land, an inventive approach to meeting the need for additional capacity was required.

As a 100-year old facility in a residential neighborhood, this expansion project required innovative thinking and design to address its challenges. The client had limited resources for expanding the plant beyond its existing footprint, and the age of some of the supporting areas required in-depth planning and extra measures to ensure that the aging infrastructure could continue to serve the plant. In addition, the new design incorporated the striking Art Deco and Art Moderne architecture of the existing facility. 

What We Did

Gannett Fleming’s design solution included detailed plans to stage construction in order to maintain service during the expansion. The firm also performed in-depth evaluations for various process modifications, including a study of existing filter performance, a feasibility study of adding an air scour system to replace the existing surface sweeps, and an evaluation of operating costs for replacing gas chlorine with a bulk commercial hypochlorite solution or on-site hypochlorite generation system to ensure the lowest possible life-cycle costs for the plant.

In addition to the technical components of the plant expansion, an important element of the project was the consideration for Mockingbird Hill, a popular local landmark situated on the property. This landmark is a re-creation of an Augusta neighborhood formed by local firefighters in 1953. It was important to the client and the community to preserve this historic gathering site. Gannett Fleming provided preliminary design for the dismantling and new location for the Mockingbird Hill display. The new display was unveiled at the completion of the plant expansion and well received by the community.

Key Features

  • Installation of an on-site hypochlorite generator system eliminated the need to store and handle hazardous chlorine gas at the facility. This system is the second largest operating on-site hypochlorite generation system at a water treatment plant in the state of Georgia.
  • Developed a four-tiered safety approach to protect the existing uncompacted embankment of two, 60 million gallon holding ponds originally constructed in 1899 and 1937
  • Utilized the CM at-risk method of project delivery
  • Designed for future enhanced treatment using ultraviolet disinfection.

Sustainability Features & Outcomes

  • The new facilities were designed so the water from the holding basins continues to flow through the plant using gravity
  • In cooperation with a local school for the arts, murals depicting the Savannah River basin were painted on the large exposed concrete walls of the clearwells along Highland Avenue.  

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