Dallas Water Utilities’ (DWU) 2010 Wastewater Treatment Facility Strategic Plan specifically includes Capital Improvement blanket line funding items every five years to address “major maintenance” projects for all DWU’s major treatment facilities. Identifying major maintenance items early, capitalizing the maintenance projects, and planning well in advance to address critical infrastructure needs from a maintenance standpoint, allows DWU to alleviate ever-tightening operating budgets and involve stakeholders from all facets of the treatment facility’s staff.

When DWU identified major maintenance and improvements at Southside Wastewater Treatment Plant for the 2015 planning year, the City chose to work with Gresham Smith for engineering and contract administration services. We helped identify, prioritize and build consensus for the projects at the plant that would drive the greatest value for the budget. Gresham Smith successfully completed evaluation, prioritization, and conceptual design of 41 projects touching most unit processes throughout the campus.


operations and infrastructure projects identified


wastewater treatment plant


coordinated with five subconsultants to complete the projects

Where to Start? Working with Stakeholders to Drive Value

Where to Start? Working with Stakeholders to Drive Value

While there were several projects identified from the start, we began with a thorough evaluation to help the City get the most for its budget. A lot of technology was out of date and some equipment was obsolete, meaning replacement parts weren’t even available. We brought together the many, diverse stakeholders to come to consensus about which projects would go to construction and coordinated with five subconsultants to complete the work.

The perspective from those intimately involved in day-to-day plant operations helped Gresham Smith adjust and confirm project prioritization as well as guided the development of alternatives and the final evaluation process.

Improving Efficiency and Reliability Across the Plant

Improving Efficiency and Reliability Across the Plant

Gresham Smith evaluated, design and provided construction-phase services for projects throughout the plant, touching virtually every process including:

  • Replacement of corroded equipment and miscellaneous large valves, gates, instrumentation, equipment control panels, etc.
  • Influent and effluent pump station variable frequency drive upgrades
  • Replacement of an old chlorine scrubber system
  • Electrical upgrades to the Administration Building air conditioning system
  • Replacement of Gravity Belt Thickener control panels and building gas monitoring system
  • Primary and secondary clarifier drives, chlorine and sulfur dioxide safety equipment upgrades
  • Replacement of building-heat hot water loop yard piping system throughout the plant that was originally constructed out of 30-year old fiberglass pipe

Focused on Construction Sequencing to Maintain Operations

Focused on Construction Sequencing to Maintain Operations

Because we were touching nearly every process at the plant, Gresham Smith worked from the very beginning to understand the needs of operations and maintenance staff in order for each process to remain in operation. We partnered with DWU to develop detailed construction sequencing plans for specific construction constraints and phasing to successfully maintain operations of the plant.
Consensus Drives Cost Savings

Consensus Drives Cost Savings

Ultimately through Gresham Smith’s prioritization process, stakeholder involvement through workshops, and evaluation of non-economic and economic factors, 14 of the 41 projects proceeded to detailed design and construction. Additionally, Gresham Smith provided enough of a design direction during the evaluation phase for projects that were below the prioritization and $15M budget “cut-line” which allowed the plant staff to make sound decisions for implementing specific projects in-house under their O&M budget, further maximizing DWU’s budget.


“It was a great experience working with Gresham Smith on the Southside WWTP Major Maintenance project. Throughout the design process, Gresham Smith managed the project along with their  subconsultants in such a manner that the project management and plant staff were continually updated and involved throughout the process. The Gresham Smith team delivered a project that was completed on time and construction bid was on budget.”

Leslie Castillo, P.E., Project Manager, City of Dallas

“It has been a real pleasure to work with the professionals at Gresham Smith. They have been very attentive to our needs and very flexible with their schedules.”

Tom Foster, Operations Manager, City of Dallas


Project Contact

Our team designs with genuine care for ingenious solutions.

Design with us.

Chris Kaakaty, P.E.
Chris Kaakaty, P.E.
Senior Vice President