Newport Water Treatment Center

Precast concrete architectural insulated sandwich wall panels were selected to clad the new Water Treatment facility for the City of Newport, Rhode Island. The project upgraded the treatment capabilities for the center and another nearby one. Construction is expected to be completed in December 2014.

The facilities provide drinking water to 14,500 retail customers in Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth and wholesale customers at Naval Station Newport and the Portsmouth Water & Fire District. The upgrade facilities will provide more capacity to treat drinking water and responds to a requirement by the Rhode Island Department of Health to reduce by-products, according to local reports.

“Nothing is more important than ensuring that the people of Aquidneck Island have a safe, reliable water supply that is of the highest quality,” Newport Mayor Henry F. Winthrop told Water World magazine. “This project is the means by which we will make that happen.”

Due to deterioration over time, the Newport Water Treatment Plant had lost about one-third of its capacity. The upgrades will restore the treatment capacity to 9 million gallons. The upgrades include advanced water-treatment processes and will provide the facility with the first use of the technology in the state.

The $67-million, two-facility project is being handled by the design/build team of AECOM and C.H. Nickerson & Co. Both facilities will remain operational during the construction.

The precast concrete panels used to clad the structures feature a light sandblasted finish, with a wide horizontal band of embedded thin bricks breaking up the mass. The panels, 11 inches thick, feature two wythes of precast concrete sandwiching 2½ inches of XPS insulation.

The thin-brick bands were designed to complement existing structures on the sites built with traditional masonry-wall components. Interior exposed faces on the sandwich wall panels were painted. The load-bearing panels also support the steel roof joists and decking and were supported with temporary bracing while the roof structure was installed. The panels provide the required 2-hour fire-rating as well.

Additional 8-inch-thick panels were used for interior nonload-bearing applications. All the panels were reinforced using galvanized reinforcing bars and mesh.

The panels offer a thermally efficient, durable wall section that was erected quickly and provide all of the structural requirements for these complex installations.

“Our C.H. Nickerson team will use its experience and design expertise to keep both water treatment facilities online during construction and will complete these two projects on-time and on-budget,” Jon Miller, president of C.H. Nickerson & Co. told Water World. “Both plants will be completed to the high standard of excellence the City of Newport requires and deserves.”

Coreslab Structures Inc. fabricated all of the precast concrete components.

Project Details










City of Newport, Newport, RI


AECOM, Wakefield, MA


C.H. Nickerson & Co., Torrington, CT

Sq. Footage:

24,000-square-foot, three-building facility (operations, AWT building, Station One building).

Architectural Precast Elements:

• 136 precast concrete architectural insulated sandwich
wall panels encompassing 28,500 square feet.


Back to