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City of Lawrence Selects McCarthy for Wastewater Project

Tue November 22, 2022 - Midwest Edition #24
McCarthy Building Companies

McCarthy Building Companies was selected as the general contractor of the $70M improvement project for the Kansas River Wastewater Treatment Plant in Lawrence, Kan. (McCarthy Building Companies photo)
McCarthy Building Companies was selected as the general contractor of the $70M improvement project for the Kansas River Wastewater Treatment Plant in Lawrence, Kan. (McCarthy Building Companies photo)

McCarthy Building Companies Inc.'s Water Services team was recently selected as the general contractor for the $70M improvement project for the Kansas River Wastewater Treatment Plant in Lawrence, Kan.

The improvement project, which aligns with the city of Lawrence's strategic plan and sustainability goals, marks the city's second-largest funded wastewater project. The improvements are required to meet the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulatory permit requirements issued by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Lawrence Wastewater Treatment Plant Updates

The plant, which receives nearly 80 percent of the city's wastewater, was originally opened in 1956 and has an average daily flow of 8 million gal. per day (MGD). As an end-of-line facility that processes and discharges effluent (treated wastewater) into the Kansas River, it's critical that the plant utilizes current technology and remain functional throughout the construction process.

"We are excited to be moving forward on this very important project for the city of Lawrence with McCarthy. This is a complex project to enhance our treatment processes to reduce nutrients in order to meet our regulatory permit requirements," said Trevor Flynn, assistant director of municipal services and operations of the city of Lawrence. "As part of our strategic plan, this project will ensure we stay in compliance with our discharge standards and achieve our wastewater reliability and sustainability goals".

The robust scope of work, which will be completed by McCarthy as the project's CMAR (construction manager at risk), includes:

  • replacing major motor control centers and upgrading electrical equipment, including transferring from city-owned transformers to utility-owned transformers;
  • converting from aeration to a biological nutrient removal (BNR) treatment process, which includes converting four aeration basins to BNR basins, converting the existing sludge holding tank to a return activated sludge (RAS) fermenter, as well as upgrading to gearless, high-speed turbo blowers and a new thickened waste-activated sludge tank;
  • building a new supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) facility with a new fiber loop, which will help plant staff more efficiently monitor and address system challenges;
  • converting a chlorine contact basin into a new UV facility, which utilizes a different disinfectant process that is more environmentally friendly and sustainable; and
  • upgrading grit handling equipment to current standards as well as additional upgrades, including valve replacements.
Advantages of CMAR Delivery

"This is the city's first wastewater project using CMAR delivery, which will be an asset since it fosters more flexibility for the city along with a collaborative team environment and provides a seamless improvement process while maintaining plant operations," said William Brennan, project manager of McCarthy. "With so many of our national water group team members and their families living in communities across the Midwest, we are proud be part of this project, and to be supporting the city of Lawrence in its strategic plan that makes health, safety and sustainability a priority."

The wastewater treatment plant has a dry weather capacity of 25 MGD and an additional 40 MGD for wet weather. Black & Veatch is the project consultant and McCarthy is in the process of soliciting experienced trade partners for the improvement project. Preconstruction is under way currently with the project's construction slated to begin in May 2023 and completion is expected to be in fall 2026.

About McCarthy Building Companies

McCarthy Building Companies Inc. is the oldest privately held national construction company in the country — with nearly 160 years spent collaborating with partners to solve complex building challenges on behalf of its clients. McCarthy utilizes design phase and construction techniques combined with value-add technology to maximize outcomes.

McCarthy has offices in St. Louis; Atlanta; Collinsville, Ill.; Kansas City, Kan.; Omaha, Neb.; Phoenix; Las Vegas; Denver; Austin, Channelview, Dallas and Houston, Texas; and San Diego, Newport Beach, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento, Calif. McCarthy is 100 percent employee owned.

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