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2 minutes read

Construction group chosen for preconstruction of new water treatment plant

The city of Ocala has awarded a bid to Wharton-Smith Construction for the preliminary construction of the city’s second water treatment plant.

The 30-million-gallon-per-day plant, to be located at 3744 S Pine Ave., will provide relief to the Upper Floridan Aquifer and Silver Springs with four aquifer wells that will be drilled 1,300 feet deep.

Wharton-Smith will be paid more than $680,000 for the preconstruction process, which includes coordinating architectural, landscaping and engineering design.

“Wharton-Smith Inc. has successfully performed similar services on similar projects in scope and scale and was evaluated and selected by the selection committee,” said City Engineer Sean Lanier.

The Sanford-based construction group has also completed these services for water-treatment projects in Eustis, Gainesville, Mount Dora, Leesburg and Volusia County, among others.

Wharton-Smith will provide construction manager at-risk services for the city’s project, while the architect and engineer Kimley-Horn and Associates will provide design services.

The bid for the design of the treatment plant was awarded to Kimley-Horn in December 2022. The design costs are nearly $5 million, which is only a small piece of the total cost to construct the plant, which is estimated to cost between $135 million and $150 million.

Wharton-Smith will provide leadership for the project team when it comes to the construction of the plant, while Kimley-Horn will provide leadership on design. Construction of the project is planned to be executed in eight stages, spanning into 2030.

Including the cost of the bid awarded to Wharton-Smith, the city’s budget for the entire project is $69.5 million, which covers about half of the total cost of the water treatment plant. The remaining costs will be funded by grants pledged by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the St. Johns River Water Management District.

The city’s current water-treatment plant produces about 12 million gallons of water per day and serves about 59,000 people, utilizing lime softening treatment and an emergency site located at the second water treatment plant.

The construction of the new second water-treatment plant is an expansion on what currently exists, which is 38 acres and has one well with a chlorination system that is connected to the water network, as well as four wells that aren’t connected to the network.

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