Major Tampa wastewater project to be completed this week

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Florida Construction News staff writer

After four years of a design-build wastewater project to replace an aging 54″ force main, crews are expected to complete work on Friday.

A pipeline extending about 13,700 linear feet runs from the Howard F. Curren Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant and is connected to a pipeline under South Franklin Street. All wastewater flow from the force main on Harbour Island has been diverted to the new one.

Led by Reliable Tampa Partners, a joint venture partnership between Garney Construction and Wharton Smith, Inc., the project enhanced the plant’s capacity and effectiveness in treating an average flow of 96 million gallons per day (MGD).

Nova Engineering and Environmental provided environmental consulting, and geotechnical engineering, including in-situ soil infiltration testing and pavement design.

Formally called a ‘microtunnel,’ the new 78″ diameter pipeline runs from the wastewater treatment plant at Port Tampa Bay to Cotanchobee Park.

Workers drilled 60 feet below the water surface to directionally drill the pipeline under Tampa Bay. The microtunnel transports 30%, or 15 million gallons per day, of Tampa’s wastewater. The $83 million project is the third largest microtunnel of its kind in North America and was funded through the City of Tampa’s PIPES Program (Progressive Infrastructure Plan to Ensure Sustainability).

“Tampa’s Wastewater Department is hitting major milestones as we work toward updating and upgrading our infrastructure,” said Eric Weiss, Director of Wastewater for the City of Tampa. “While we are usually out of sight and out of mind, it is critical to keep investing in our infrastructure to continue to provide both reliable and sustainable services now and for future generations.”

In March 2024, construction began to connect the new pipeline to the existing pipeline on Franklin Street and Water Street.

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