Water Treatment and Desalination

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Sustainable water treatment solutions that deliver safe and palatable water are an essential service for human well-being and a healthy community.

All untreated water sources have unique water quality characteristics. We have 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 have 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).


  • Municipal Infrastructure and Planning
  • 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 modeling
  • Research & development of new treatment ideas, risk quantification and minimum energy solutions
  • Permitting and regulatory assistance

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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Smith River Highway 199 diesel spill clean up

In 2008, an accident involving a diesel truck released 4000 gallons of red-dyed diesel fuel into an inboard ditch along Highway 199 in Del Norte County, CA. Diesel fuel soaked the ground through the road prism and into the gravel bar adjacent to Smith River, a federally-designated wild and scenic river. GHD was selected to lead the emergency response, including efforts to contain the spilled diesel and prevent impacts to the Smith River.

This project was challenging due to the steep forested slopes, the urgency of cleanup and the magnitude of the spill. Our team worked with nine contractors and 12 public regulatory agencies in a showcase of collaborative effort between stakeholders toward a common goal. The remediation strategy negotiated with stakeholders was a combination of source removal, flushing of the road fill, and recovery and treatment of the water used for flushing. Only 117 days after the spill occurred, regulatory agencies concurred that necessary remediation and restoration were satisfactorily complete.

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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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Water Treatment Plant Improvements, Binghamton, New York USA

GHD provided evaluation, design and construction services for comprehensive improvements to the City of Binghamton’s water filtration facilities and Water and Sewer Department offices.

The facility is a 20 million gallons a day (76Ml/d) conventional filtration plant, including: a raw water pumping station and intake on the Susquehanna River; chemical feed building housing alum, chlorine dioxide, sodium chlorite, powder-activated carbon, acid, caustic and polymer; four flocculation/sedimentation basins; and 10 rapid sand filters, chlorination, corrosion control and fluoridation.

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GHD Library

The GHD library is a collection of relevant resources to this service line.