By Betsy Dolan
Sugar Land took another critical step forward in changing the way residents receive their drinking water when the city council approved over $18 million dollars to begin two important phases of the Surface Water Conversion Project(SWCP). The SWCP requires that the city receive 60 percent of their total water use from sources other than groundwater beginning in 2013.
On January 17, the city council approved a $6.8 million dollar upgrade to the city’s six groundwater treatment plants which Jessie Li, Assistant Utilities Director says will allow them to be online with the surface water treatment plant that is currently under construction near Gannoway Lake.
“We need to get the existing plants ready to receive treated surface water and that involves installing chemical feed systems, contact tanks, tank mixing improvements and other upgrades to be ready a year from now, ” Li said.
LEM Construction was awarded the bid and came in two million dollars under the city’s projected budget. Li says since they are already building the surface water treatment plant, they were able to dodge scheduling challenges because crews can go back and forth between projects saving time and money.
“The schedule is unique because it will be going on during the summer and we have to keep up with supply. We cannot interrupt peak production because we have to be able to continuously meet our customer’s needs,” he added.
The city council also approved $11 million dollars to install a 36-inch surface water transmission line from the surface water treatment plant to the First Colony water plant, a distance of nearly five miles. A similar project involving a 24-inch water line to the Lakeview water plant will be finished next month.
“We’re mindful that this project will be next to Kempner High School and our plan is to get the Voss Road section done over the summer so we don’t have any conflicts or safety issues”, says Tim Jahn, City Engineer.