Council discusses Master Water and Wastewater Plan

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Manvel City Council workshop was an update by HDR, on the Master Water Plan. The elevated storage tank was the topic of conversation. There are several steps necessary before the construction phase of the water tower. The existing water system and capital improvement projects for the next few years would need to be in line with the needs of the water tank to make sure the projects would be cost effective and beneficial to the overall master water plan. After looking at these items it was decided that, no changes were needed in those areas.

There were three possible sites chosen for the construction of the elevated storage tank. Option one would be land already owned by the city, which would cut cost on purchasing property and it would require fewer pipes going in the ground. The other two properties were not owned by the city and would require more pipes. The city had originally allocated 1.4 million for the project, but the cost is estimated to be 2 million or more. That is due in part to underestimating the accurate size needed of the tank.

Councilman Cox was upset that council does not get accurate estimates of the cost of projects, like that of the water tank. The mayor stated, “The problem we’re in now is we’re in a corner, because we have development lined up that wants to come here. God Bless them, but we don’t have the infrastructure to serve them. We are going to have to bite the bullet and make some hard decisions and move forward or we’re going to sit just like we are now.”

There are several steps necessary in the process, such as operations of the tank, performance specifications and the bidding process. An estimated time frame of 6 to 9 months was given to complete the project with the tank estimated to last some fifty plus years. If the tank is installed at the size recommended it would not require an upgrade in the future. More tanks will be necessary as the city grows, to meet the TCEQ guidelines, but this tank would be around for years to come.

Ground water wells are a good back up system and most developers have ground water wells. Surface water is something to look at for the future, collecting run off rain water allows underground aquifers to replenish. Surface water is not a requirement within Brazoria County today, but it is a requirement with all neighboring counties, such as Fortbend, Harris and Galveston. Pearland has a surface water pipe that goes through Manvel and they may have some 6 million gallons available for purchase. The Gulf Coast Water Authority is also a good avenue to get surface water. It is the hope to have 80% surface water and 20% ground water for future water needs.

Freese and Nichols gave an update on the Master Wastewater Plan. The process starts with identifying what treatment facilities, collection pipelines and lift stations are needed. MEDC put pipes in the ground and the city is responsible for getting water and wastewater flowing through them. Developers in the area were contacted to get their plans on connections, wastewater infrastructure and times lines. It was evaluated by the needs of today, in 5 years, 10 years and 20 years down the road.

Wastewater treatment plants take about five years to permit, design and construct. The key is to buy the land and fortunately the City of Manvel has the land. The comprehensive plan, the master drainage plan and historical wastewater flow was reviewed when making the determination of what would be needed. The city currently has a capacity of 315 per gallon per connection per day and is currently at about the 250’s per gallons per day. Wastewater systems only get worse and gallons per day will go up over time. You must also allow for peak flow which is what you get when rain water gets in the system. You must measure your gallons per day (315) times 4 to get your peak flow number. Your pipelines and lift stations must be sized for that amount to prevent overflow and action from the TCEQ. It is a huge investment and a five-year process. When you get to 75% of capacity you have to start planning for another facility and at 90% it must be under construction or you will be fined by TCEQ.

Story by Terry Ruiz

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