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City of Houston Water Plant, TX


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The Southeast Water Purification Plant Phase I 80 MGD expansion completed in 2011 was the largest project undertaken in the city of Houston at $168 million.

The capacity expansion was needed not only to increase the water available to the 1.4 million customers in the southeastern portion of Houston and seven adjacent municipalities, but to also satisfy a deadline-driven subsidence district mandate to reduce groundwater usage. Teamwork, coordination, the “unexpected” and innovations were some of the trademarks of this successful project spanning three years, hurricanes (even snow days in Houston), and 14 acres.

Treatment Module Two included the construction of four new flocculation and sediment basins, seven new filters, blower systems, a high service sump station, a 2,750 horsepower splitcase pump and variable frequency drive, transfer and backwash waste pump stations, chemical storage, chemical treatment facilities; installation of an upgraded SCADA system and site security system and main plant entrance; electrical and instrumentation; 2,100 LF of 96” waterlines; a new 13.4 million gallon precast ground storage tank; two new 100 ft. diameter thickeners; and new sample pump buildings; and modifications to two existing lift stations and the chlorine system.

The project was completed ahead of schedule and with $200,000 savings to the owner. In the early stages of the project, the team decided to use a new approach to acquire equipment as the “just-in-time” method of logistics would not be sufficient enough to cover the needs. Due to ample storage onsite and an extensive schedule, long lead items were released for fabrication early in the project. City personnel allowed a temporary warehouse facility to be erected onsite, equipped with power and rack shelving for the project’s team to use as a warehouse. The team in charge also used a field onsite for the storage of items which could be exposed to outside weather conditions.

During the three-year schedule, many opportunities arose for inclement weather to hamper construction including tropical storm Edouard, hurricane Ike, and several snow days. Despite Mother Nature’s best attempts to delay construction, thanks to the team’s smooth coordination, the time lost was recouped later in the schedule. This was done by testing equipment without the presence of water.

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