Water Treatment and Desalination

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Sustainable water treatment solutions that deliver safe & palatable water are an essential service for human wellbeing and a healthy community.

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).


  • Water quality risk assessment & HACCP plans
  • Treatment facilities planning and options assessment
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Treatability studies & pilot plant work
  • Treatment process selection & concept design
  • Detail design for bid/tender
  • Design Build owner’s engineering services
  • Design Build & alliance partnerships
  • Construction & commissioning management
    Automation/SCADA design & implementation
  • Operation & Maintenance manuals
    Residuals processing design
  • Catchment & distribution water quality modelling
  • Research & development of new treatment ideas, risk quantification and minimum energy solutions
  • Permitting and regulatory assistance

For further information, contact:

Calvin Lai
+61 2 9239 7274
E: Calvin Lai
Regional contacts can be found on key people tab.

Clear Harbour Alliance


With the growth of Auckland City, the combined stormwater/wastewater system was exceeding capacity during rainfall events, resulting in pollution of the Waitemata Harbour. A conventional project model could not guarantee the level of service that Metrowater wanted for their customers during the separation process so they decided on an Alliance model – one that was strongly customer focussed. The project goal of cleaning up Auckland’s harbour was a philosophy of shared ownership and responsibility reflected in the principle – "it's ours".

Metrowater is Auckland City's water and wastewater utility and was established by Auckland City Council to provide water and wastewater services to over 142,000 homes and businesses, reaching 420,000 people across Auckland City.  The area of operation covers 153 square kilometres with a water and wastewater network of more than 3,600 km of pipes. Metrowater’s expectation is that their customers receive the highest quality, reliable water supply possible and that Auckland City’s wastewater networks are managed in a cost effective, environmentally sound and sustainable manner.

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Dong Tam water supply project


A private investment was made to build a reservoir, water treatment plant with capacity of 90,000m3/day, a 45km transmission pipeline system with diameter of 800-900mm from Dong Tam to Go Cong town, and a booster pumping station in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, Vietnam. GHD Vietnam was appointed to provide technical assistance, project management and supervision for the project.

The project aimed at supplying fresh water for about 590,000 inhabitants in Go Cong town and two local districts Go Cong Dong and Go Cong Tay as well as Cho Gao town and a few industrial parks in Cho Gao as a supplementary water supply. The project commenced in December 2008 under the Build Own Operate (BOO) form. Tien Giang People’s Committee and Tien Giang Water Supply and Sewerage Company will be responsible for the distribution of water and invest on construction of secondary pipe network.

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Hamilton Water Treatment Plant (New Zealand)


The Hamilton City Council in New Zealand wanted a world-class Water Treatment Station that met the city's water needs and exceeded or met New Zealand Drinking Water Standards at the lowest whole-of-life cost.

The original Hamilton Water Treatment Station (WTS) was a conventional clarification and filtration plant with a nominal capacity of 80 ML/d. The WTS drew water from the Waikato River and, in recent years, the water has shown increasing levels of unpleasant taste and odour as river algal levels increased. Cyanotoxins levels above detectable levels have also been found.

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Drenaje agua de mina


Ingeniería conceptual manejo integral de aguas de drenaje de mina - Región de O'Higgins, Chile.

Codelco-Chile, División El Teniente contrató los servicios de GHD para realizar un estudio de ingeniería conceptual para el manejo de las aguas de drenaje de mina.  En este proyecto participaron en forma conjunta los equipos de las áreas de agua y medio ambiente. El objetivo principal fue implementar una solución integral y sustentable para las descargas de las aguas de drenaje de la mina con el fin de dar cumplimiento al marco regulatorio ambiental vigente. Estas descargas provienen de los aportes de aguas subterráneas, infiltraciones de aguas de deshielo y/o aguas lluvia que ingresan a la mina a través de la superficie del cráter. Luego de su paso a través de la roca y de la faena minera, cuentan con un alto contenido de metales, sulfatos y condiciones de acidez que pueden afectar al río Coya, ubicado en la Región de O'Higgins, aproximadamente 120 km al sur de Santiago. Los principales alcances considerados en el proyecto fueron: análisis de riesgos ambientales y sociales, intercepción de aguas antes de su ingreso a la mina, segregación de aguas ácidas al interior de la mina, tratamiento de aguas de drenaje de mina, transporte y recirculación de aguas de drenaje de mina, y embalse regulador de aguas de drenaje.

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Octoraro Water Treatment Plant Improvements, Little Britain Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA


The Octoraro Water Treatment Plant (WTP) pretreatment project was recognized with a Diamond Award Certificate for Engineering Excellence from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania.

Located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the Chester Water Authority’s 60 mgd Octoraro WTP is a conventional surface water filtration plant. The plant treats water from the Octoraro Reservoir and/or raw water from the reservoir supplemented with raw water pumped from the Susquehanna River.

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Water Treatment Plant Improvements, Onondaga County Water Authority


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.

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Scottsdale Booster Station


Scottsdale Booster Station

The City of Scottsdale commissioned GHD to design Booster Pump Station Number 179 (BPS179) to provide water pressure to the downtown Scottsdale area. The station serves as a dual purpose facility. It supplies potable water at a higher pressure to serve new high rise commercial and residential condominium projects.  It also serves as a link to the downtown arts district. The project’s architecture complements the atmosphere of downtown Scottsdale.

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Sydney Desalination Project


In early 2005, GHD, and its partner Fichtner, were engaged by Sydney Water to undertake a feasibility study to determine if desalination was practical as an alternative water source that would complement Sydney’s existing water sources. The feasibility study, undertaken together with Sydney Water, in an integrated project team set the foundation for this milestone project.

The project comprised three main components, a 250ML/day capacity reverse osmosis desalination plant, the intake and outlet tunnels and associated marine works, and the delivery pump station and 18km long transfer pipeline across Botany Bay to the centre of the city. In a world first cement lined steel pipes of this size had never before been laid simultaneously in a string and placed in an underwater trench.

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Water & Wastewater Operations – Arizona Department of Corrections


Since July 2006, GHD Environmental Services Inc. (GHDESI) has been responsible for operating and maintaining advanced water and wastewater facilities for the Arizona Department of Corrections at Lewis, Yuma, and Winslow-Apache Prison Complexes.   

We are directly responsible for all activities, performance, and regulatory compliance. Our services include 7 days per week on-site operation of all facilities and systems, water and wastewater sampling and analyses, maintenance and repair of equipment, and management of biosolids, electrical, and other subcontractors. Working closely with prison facilities staff, we also provide support to the prisons such as operations and maintenance planning and budgeting, engineering support, oversight of upgrades and modifications, and utilization of inmates in operation and maintenance of the facilities.

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Waterproofing the South Stage 1


GHD was engaged as the lead consultant for the detailed design of two wetlands, two detention basins, a 93 ML storage dam at Wilfred Taylor Reserve and approximately 18 km of non-potable water distribution network to harvest 850 ML per annum of stormwater runoff from the Christie Creek catchment.

The scope of the project includes:

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Western Corridor Recycled Water Project (Qld, Australia)


The AUD$2.5 billion Western Corridor Recycled Water Project is Australia’s largest water recycling scheme and the third-largest advanced water treatment project in the world.

It uses secondary wastewater from Brisbane and Ipswich, to produce 232Ml of purified recycled water a day. The project is the Queensland State Government’s response to unprecedented demand on its water supply due to population growth, climate change and the worst drought in recorded history.

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Calvin Lai

Calvain Lai

Calvin has more than 20 years’ experience in drinking water supply and assessment/design of water treatment plants. His experience covers all areas of water treatment including coagulation, clarification, filtration, membrane processes, ozonation, granular and powdered activated carbon, chemical feed systems and disinfection.

With an in-depth understanding of the water quality management framework as described by the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, Calvin is frequently called upon to help assess the effectiveness of the critical control points in a water treatment plant. Most recently, he was Design Manager for the delivery of the 180 ML/d Wyaralong Water Treatment Plant for Seqwater.

Positon: Service Line Leader, Water Quality & Treatment
Tel: +61 2 9239 7274
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New Zealand

Ryan Rose - New Zealand

Ryan Rose

Ryan is a professional engineer who specializes in water infrastructure and utility design, studies, contract documentation and site management. Ryan has concept and detail design experience in water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure as well as on-site project and design management with government authorities and consulting firms in New Zealand and the Middle East.

Position: Business Leader, Rail for the Middle East and UK
Tel: +64 4 570 0417


Aileen Huelgas

Aileen Huelgas

Aileen obtained her PhD in Environmental Engineering in Hokkaido University, Japan and was a member of the faculty of Chemical Engineering at De La Salle University before joining GHD. Her specialist area of research is the use of MBR for the treatment of greywater using micro-filter and ultra-filter membranes. She has published widely in her field of study.

Tel: +63 2 479 5753


Christopher Owen

Christopher Owen

Chris has over 17 years of experience in the water industry, including seven years as a water utility executive manager with responsibilities that included strategy and business planning and performance reporting, infrastructure project delivery and contract management; environment, safety product quality and emergency management systems, and laboratory management. His consulting experience has included the delivery of a range of projects across industries including water, power manufacturing and transport industries, as well as across the government sector.

Tel: +971 2 696 8779


Kevin Castro - USA East

Kevin Castro

Kevin has over 22 years of extensive experience in all areas of waterworks engineering. His expertise includes planning, study, design, and construction management of water supply, treatment, distribution, pumping, and storage facilities.

Position: Business Leader, Water US East
Tel: +1 315 679 5785

Dawn Guendert - USA West

Dawn Guendert

Dawn specializes in the development and design of membrane systems for drinking water, recycled water, and wastewater applications and has served as Project Manager for recycled water and seawater desalination projects in California. She has approximately 20 years of extensive experience in all aspects of the development of a membrane treatment plant, including feasibility studies, pilot studies, preliminary and final design, and procurement.

Tel: +1 949 250 5207
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GHD Library

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