Otisco Lake Water Treatment Plant Improvements, Syracuse, New York, USA

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Onondaga County Water Authority in Syracuse, New York, USA, retained GHD to provide the basis of design, final design and construction services for the ±$15 million capital improvement program to the Otisco Lake Water Treatment Plant (WTP). The project was funded through the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Program.

In addition to the expansion and replacement of the filters and several chemical and process enhancements, the project included various performance maintenance upgrades to improve the reliability and performance of building systems and process equipment. Filter run times were greatly improved and finished water quality continues to meet Partnership for Safe Water goals. Backwash process review and optimization resulted in a 30% reduction in annual backwash water usage.

Through creative construction sequencing and strategically designed components, the Otisco Lake WTP was kept operational and regulatory compliant during the entire construction period. Innovative energy efficiency improvements throughout the facility have also reduced the electrical and heating costs at the plant. The project received the 2012 Platinum Award for Engineering Excellence from the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York.

The design of the capital improvement program for the Otisco Lake WTP was initiated in 2006, construction was completed in 2010 and the plant is operating successfully.



As the world’s population grows and our standards of living improve so does our need to manage the water in our environment. We need to maximise its application for human well-being and minimise impact on the environment. GHD engineers, scientists and planners can provide sustainable, cost-effective and innovative water solutions.  We assist water utilities and others who provide water services to optimise infrastructure and adapt to environmental changes in ways that balance the needs of our communities. And we enable clients to meet compliance, improve profitability and maintain their commitment to sustainability.

GHD continually expands the boundaries by engaging in research, enhancing existing systems and strategies, evaluating new procedures and transferring technology from other industries into the water industry. We work with our clients through all project stages planning, investigation, design, delivery, operation and renewal.

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Water Treatment & Desalination


All untreated water sources have unique water quality characteristics. So we’ve assembled a team with extensive practical experience in water treatment covering chemistry, biology, hydraulics, process selection, control, residuals handling and plant layout.

Our track record includes plant capacities of 0.1 MLD to over 2500 MLD. We’ve dedicated our efforts to more than 300 treatment plants over the past 60 years. Our services include design of water treatment process solutions as diverse as Dissolved Air Floatation Filtration (DAFF), Ozone/Biological Filtration and Desalination (using Reverse Osmosis or Electrodialysis Reversal).

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