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Updated June 22, 2020

Project Background

The Graham Hill Water Treatment Plant (GHWTP) was commissioned in 1960 and has provided high quality potable water to the City of Santa Cruz for the last 60 years. Many modifications to GHWTP have been made over the years in response to changing regulations / permit requirements and to increase system reliability. The facility is reaching the end of its useful life and requires improvements to best implement the Water Supply Augmentation Strategy and allow the plant to continue to reliably meet current as well as future treatment objectives.

Project’s Major Components and Processes

  • Replace rapid mix basin with flash mix structure
  • Replace existing pretreatment processes with high rate clarification (HRC)
  • Convert existing filters to dual media biological filters
  • Replace recycled stream treatment process including polymer system
  • Construct residuals dewatering facility, including mechanical belt press, equalization tanks, feed pump station, building, cake pumps, and load leveling system
  • Replace or new construction of chemical storage tanks, chemical transfer pumps, and chemical piping for all plant chemicals
  • Construct structural improvements for existing operations building
  • Construct new two-story operations building
  • Replace existing filter gallery building
  • Construct ancillary improvements, including replacement/rehab of existing pipelines, storm drain improvements, flood protection, replacement of HVAC units, and various electrical and instrumentation improvements

Project Benefits

  • Upgrade treatment processes to reliably meet current and future regulations
  • Increase resiliency to address changing source water quality and emerging contaminant concerns
  • Reliably treat winter water that was previously too turbid for the plant to process

Project Costs

Estimated Construction Cost Range: $75M -$100M

Project Information

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 response the GHWTP will not offer facility tours during the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process. The City has created a treatment plant tour video to help interested design build entities gain familiarity with the project site, plant processes, and major project components. Those interested in viewing the video should fill out the Non-Disclosure Agreement and send the completed form to Shane Clements at

A formal response to questions will occur during the Request for Qualifications process.

Project background documents contain sensitive information that shall not be shared or disclosed with others. Background documents will be provided to short-listed firms upon completion of the Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) process and receipt of a signed Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with the City. One NDA will be sufficient for all project background documents.

City Consultants

HDR is acting as City’s Representative on the FIP project and as program manager for its Capital Improvements Projects.

Dudek is providing CEQA and environmental consultation services to the City for the FIP project.

Potential Funding Source

US EPA WIFIA and California Water Board Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) loans and rate-revenue financing.

Contract Type

Progressive Design-Build  

Project Schedule

Upcoming Key Dates:

RFQ target release July 2020

RFP target release November 2020

 Current Project Schedule Start-Finish Dates 




Post Construction

MAR 2018

MAY 2021

JAN 2024

JUL 2027

MAY 2020

AUG 2023

JUL 2027

APR 2028


Project Contact

Shane Clements,

(858) 610-7478