Florence Water Treatment Plant Chemical Building Rehabilitation

hdr employee in front of Florence Water Treatment Plant Chemical Building

Florence Water Treatment Plant Chemical Building Rehabilitation

Restoring and Modernising a 60-Year-Old Critical Chemical Building

The Florence Water Treatment Plant is the oldest and largest water treatment facility in the Metropolitan Utilities District’s system. Its chemical building has served the plant for over 60 years but needed upgrades and improvements to reduce operations and maintenance requirements, optimise laboratory and administrative space, enhance the building’s aesthetics and improve reliability. 

Due to the water-reactive nature of chemicals stored and handled in the building, the team was prevented from using a fire suppression system. Working alongside local authorities, they developed an innovative approach to code compliance that implemented a fire detection and alarm system in lieu of the suppression system. Further, the District sought a cleaner, more automated fill system for the large steel bins that store the chemicals. The project also included new, more efficient and operator-friendly feed systems for the water treatment chemicals. With limited clearance to install 16 new screw conveyors and nine new chemical tanks beneath the existing steel bins, the team used light detection and ranging 3D scanning technology to precisely document the locations and elevations of the bins. This provided the detail for the fabricator to thread the new conveyance system in. 

The plant site sits within one of Omaha’s historic neighbourhoods, closely hemmed in by houses and small businesses. By reusing the existing building, the team avoided a costly property acquisition need. The team also made significant improvements to the building’s energy efficiency, including to the ventilation system, high-efficiency heating system, high-efficiency lighting and replaced the elevator. Further, the upgrades bring the building into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and include a private room for nursing mothers. Electronically adjustable workstations and modular laboratory casework are adaptable to user needs. 

One of the team’s biggest challenges was meeting building codes. The singular, three-story building only had one stair tower and one service elevator. Because of the building layout and differing foundation depths, there was only one location for an additional stair tower while satisfying egress requirements. Challenged by utilities, process lines, an access road, and an adjacent shallow foundation, the project team installed an earth retention system to maintain structural stability of the adjacent foundation and protect utilities. 

After more than 60 years of service, the chemical building is new again. The restored facility features modern feed equipment, reduces operations and maintenance requirements, improves the safety of water treatment operators and expands laboratory and administrative space.

hdr employee in front of Florence Water Treatment Plant Chemical Building
Metropolitan Utilities District

Omaha, NE
United States