HOUSTON – McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. has completed construction on the City of Houston’s Northeast Water Purification Plant (NEWPP) Intake Pump Station (IPS). The 30,000 square foot raw water Intake Pump Station building includes an access bridge constructed on pilings 1,000 feet from the shore within the middle of Lake Houston. The project will add 320 million gallons per day of drinking water for the city, substantially increasing the current 80 million gallons per day of treated water capacity. This is one part of the larger $1.765B design-build NEWPP expansion project.

To meet the needs of Houston’s rapidly growing population, the city saw a need to shift from reliance on groundwater to surface water as a drinking water source. The design-build expansion of NEWPP is currently the largest progressive design-build water treatment plant project underway in Texas and in the United States. McCarthy’s Houston Waterworks team was awarded three separate contracts on the project – the early works Central Plant foundations package, the raw water Intake Pump Station which began in early 2019, and the balance of the Central Plant which will be complete in 2024. The NEWPP project’s first 80MGD phase will be operational in early 2023, and the overall 320MGD plant will be in full operation in early 2025.

“We are pleased to be part of this exciting and massive project and are excited that McCarthy was able to successfully deliver the largest water filtration project in the U.S.,” said Doug Slattery, P.E., project manager for NEWPP. “McCarthy’s ability to self-perform gave us a competitive advantage on this project, as we combined our technical trades to create an internal joint venture with the necessary skills for each component of the project.”

McCarthy’s scope included driving 30 piles into water with a depth of 16 feet, requiring all equipment to be fully submersible. In addition to the pile driving component, McCarthy was tasked with cast-in-place concrete placement over water, precast concrete erection, and a large bore mechanical process piping phase that involved installing 108-inch-diameter pipe. McCarthy installed 193 steel pipe piles in total.  Underneath the main structure of the station, piles are 128 feet long and 30 inches in diameter, as Lake Houston has a clay bottom, and the large diameter was designed to achieve the necessary structural capacity. McCarthy self-performed each scope, as well as process equipment installation, concrete work, metal installation, and earthwork.

McCarthy faced the added challenge of working around an active intake station already drawing water from Lake Houston, as all pile driving work took place surrounding the existing facility. McCarthy was also able to put in 200,000 man hours with no recordable incidents, as part of their ongoing commitment to jobsite safety.

McCarthy has worked on various projects along the Gulf Coast for approximately 30 years; other marine/treatment plant projects include the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) surface water facilities and the Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility – Peak Flow Basin. McCarthy’s experience in marine construction spans a diverse array of project types including petrochemical liquid terminal facilities, bulk cargo handling terminals, to deep water container terminal ship docks. McCarthy undertakes complex projects for public clients such as Port Beaumont, Port Freeport and Port Houston, private mid-stream clients and is partner of choice for EPC firms servicing oil and gas and petrochemical clients. In past 15 years, McCarthy has completed over half a billion dollars’ worth of work in the Port Houston alone.

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