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Wharton-Smith / Garney JV Project Earns Two Prestigious Award

SANFORD, FLORIDA, September 21, 2020—Wharton-Smith Construction Group announced today that their Joint-Venture project completed for Hillsborough County in Florida with Garney Construction is a double award winner. The Northwest Regional Water Reclamation Facility (NWRWRF) Expansion, located in Tampa, FL, recently received the Engineering News-Record (ENR) Southeast Regional Project of the Year for 2020 and the 2020 Florida Regional Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) Water Project of the Year. 


Project Description: Aging infrastructure and a growing population were the catalysts for Hillsborough County’s Northwest Hillsborough Wastewater Consolidation Program. The County provides wastewater service to 500,000 customers and reclaimed water to more than 15,000 residents. The County’s population is expected to increase 46 percent by 2040. The cornerstone of the program was the Northwest Regional Water Reclamation Facility expansion. The single largest capital improvement project in County history, the $193.2 million project retired two 40-year-old facilities and transferred flows to the NWRWRF. 


Benefits included:

  • Improved overall operation, functionality, and treatment efficiencies by consolidating plant maintenance/operations to one site/facility.  Incorporated flow equalization reduced peak demands for power and buffered influent water quality to allowed more consistent and uniform treatment; 

  • Increased capacity to triple previous rated capacity; 

  • Minimized community impacts by implementing advanced technologies, strategically siting treatment components, enhancing wetland buffers to reduce odor and noise, and adding a trail system; and 

  • Meet the region’s wastewater needs through 2040 through greater capacity and improved technologies. 


Hillsborough County selected a traditional design-build delivery method and chose the joint/venture team of Wharton Smith/Garney as the designer-builder along with partners Tetra Tech and Stantec serving as their designers.


The Design-Build process accelerated project delivery, allowed the older facilities to be abandoned more quickly, and avoided the added expense of interim rehabilitation of those facilities. At the height of construction, the project team included 17 engineering firms and nearly 100 subcontractors with more than 300 workers on site. The team included 14 local MBE/DBE firms that were responsible for $21 million of the project scope, helping to stimulate the local economy. Value engineering resulted in $10.7 million in owner savings. 


Wharton-Smith President and CEO, Ron Davoli, said, “This was a great project and a great partnership. Being able to bring together the state’s best Design-Builders, designers, and engineers made this project one of the most exciting and successful projects we have ever built. NWRWRF is Florida's first wastewater treatment plant to be powered by a natural gas microturbine, providing electricity throughout the complex and enabling it to remain operational during power outages. This six-megawatt microturbine at NWRWRF is the first in the country to fully power a facility. We are very proud to be a part of such a historic build.”


About Wharton-Smith:

Wharton-Smith, Inc. is a construction manager and general contractor with a focus on building communities. We specialize in water treatment, municipal, education, entertainment, senior living and hospitality projects – all the things a community needs to thrive. The company was founded in 1984 and is headquartered in Sanford, Florida with branch offices in Tampa, Merritt Island, Fort Myers, Jupiter, Baton Rouge, LA; Gulfport, MS; Charlotte, NC; and Houston, TX. For more information, please visit



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