Water infrastructure is essential, life sustaining, and immense, with the purpose to deliver our precious resource. Water infrastructure in America is a physical system “… made up of 2.2 million miles of underground pipes that deliver safe, reliable water to millions of people.” 1
However, our nation’s water/wastewater systems were not made to last forever.
Many of the pipes that deliver our drinking water were laid in the early to mid-20th century with a lifespan of 75 to 100 years. The quality of drinking water in the United States remains high, but legacy and emerging contaminants continue to require close attention. While water consumption per capita is down, there are still an estimated 240,000 water main breaks per year, wasting over 2 trillion gallons. According to the American Water Works Association, an estimated $1 trillion is necessary to maintain and expand service to meet demands over the next 25 years.
Aging infrastructure is the main market driver for the water/wastewater industry. Our nation’s 14,748 wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) are the most basic and critical infrastructure systems for protecting public health and the environment. Years of treatment plant upgrades and more stringent federal and state regulations have significantly reduced untreated releases and improved water quality nationwide. More than 56 million new users will be connected to centralized wastewater treatment systems over the next two decades, and approximately $271 billion is needed to meet current and future demands. 3
Texas provides an alarmingly perfect example of the aging infrastructure issue compounded by potential new users.
Growing at a rate of 400,000 users per year, Texas is projected to reach over 51 million people by 2070. 3
Water/Wastewater Client Account Director Sam Irrinki leads our successful Texas water/wastewater program. In 2021, with offices in Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Houston and El Paso, we have a mission to improve Texas water infrastructure. 4 Sam says that “Texas infrastructure is already rated ‘C’ according to the 2021 Texas Infrastructure Report Card released by Texas Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). 2 Population growth will put more strain on the water/wastewater infrastructure. Economic and climate factors can also exacerbate the effects. Weston is poised to provide sustainable, resilient solutions to water/wastewater utilities.”
Weston Solutions brings over four decades of service in Texas. Our dedicated efforts have improved water quality; brought water and wastewater systems into permit compliance; and increased resiliency of infrastructure assets and eliminated sanitary sewer overflows. Additionally, our firm has a track record of developing models to confirm capacity and regulatory compliance before construction and securing cost savings using risk-based capital improvements prioritization. 4
Our technical teams are recognized in the industry as problem solvers who take on complex challenges. But what is a problem solver if not one who runs toward the problem, who goes direct to the source? In Texas, those sources are the interconnected water treatment plants, lift stations, and pipeline to be literally rehabilitated and reconstructed by the mile.
Specifically, we have stood up the following in Texas:
- 27 WWTP upgrades, including 200 million gallons per day (MGD) WWTP capacity
- 142 lift stations assessment and design (0.1 to 28 MGD capacity)
- 13 metering stations from 2 to 200 MGD capacity
- Over 24 miles of pipelines and 10 miles using a trenchless method including rehabilitation of one of the largest sewer diameters (132 inches) in the country 4
Weston’s top tier client in Texas is San Antonio Water System (SAWS), and we were proud to bring several recent SAWS projects to successful completion. Mr. Irrinki reflects that “our team was relentlessly thorough and provided good alternative solutions when there were challenges.”
Project Success Stories
Lift Station Assessment and Design-Phase 2,3,4,5,6 Lift Stations Rehabilitation; 2008-2021.
Weston designed lift station improvements to meet regulatory requirements and make them safer and more reliable.
SAWS assessment phase recommendations included improvements for regulatory compliance, safety and security, operational and maintenance improvements, accessibility, and floodplain protection. Recommendations were made based on the corrective action priorities, lift station elimination potential, and other special considerations. An elimination study of lift stations was performed to determine the feasibility of decommissioning the facilities with a gravity main alternative. To compare cost alternatives for rehabilitation versus lift station elimination/gravity relief main installation, Weston performed a net present value analysis.
Analysis of lift station capacity was performed for some lift stations to provide data related to future development, lift station elimination, evaluation of force main, verification of minimum flows, evaluation of backup storage capacities, system upgrades, and lift station and force main retention time.
Rehabilitation design included wet well rehabilitation, electrical system replacements, back-up power generators, the addition of a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA) monitoring system, and safety, security, and operational upgrades. Additional work included the replacement of existing self-priming pumps with submersible pumps.
Benefits to our client:
- Increased reliability of the lift station, no overflows that can contaminate water sources.
- Energy efficient pumps, less utility power costs.
- Improved safety and security of the site.
- Increased longevity of the mechanical and electrical components, fewer O&M costs.
Olmos Basin Central Watershed Sewer Relief Line; 2009-2018.
Weston rehabilitated over 10 miles of 12 to 60-inch aging sewer infrastructure including use of trenchless technology to eliminate sewer overflows and meet the consent decree.
Weston performed preliminary engineering, design, bidding, and construction-phase services for rehabilitation and/or replacement of approximately 50,000 linear feet (LF) of sewer line ranging in diameter from 12 inches to 60 inches. The project extended adjacent to Brackenridge Park, through Witte Museum, Incarnate Word University, and Olmos Park. The preliminary engineering phase included overall condition assessment of the existing sewer line infrastructure including closed-circuit television (CCTV) inspection and line cleaning. The scope required associated surveying, geotechnical, structural, hydraulic modeling, environmental, and cultural resources investigation.
The design phase included design around numerous existing utilities and projects by others, complex connections to the existing sanitary sewer collection system, environmentally sensitive areas, and areas with sensitive cultural resources potential. Weston coordinated with numerous stakeholders to sequence construction to minimize impact to surrounding area and with regulatory agencies for project permitting.
Benefits to our client:
- Implemented trenchless technology that expedited construction and minimized disruptions to traffic.
- Designed bypass pumping plan so that sewer system is operational during construction.
- Coordinated with numerous stakeholders to sequence construction to minimize impact to surrounding area and with regulatory agencies for project permitting.
- The team has developed separate construction bid packages to facilitate joint-bid opportunities with the City of San Antonio and to meet SAWS’s capital improvements budgets.
Various Water/Wastewater Improvements in Northeast, Austin, TX; 2017-2021.
Weston performed preliminary and final design of replacement of approximately 7,000 LF of 6-inch, 8-inch, and 12-inch deteriorated water mains and appurtenances by open cut and trenchless methods; removal of approximately 5,500 LF of 6-inch and 8-inch asbestos cement (AC) pipe; and installation of approximately 2,000 LF of 8-inch wastewater main by open cut and trenchless methods.
Evaluated various trenchless methods and designed Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) for one of the segments under a drainage culvert. Scope included evaluation of trenchless construction methods and open trench replacement.
The project involved special specifications for handling and disposal of asbestos, and trenchless methods design (both pipe bursting and HDD). AC pipe removals consisted of 5,500 LF of 6-inch AC pipe. The project site is included in a critical water quality zone that required a special permit from the city for construction.
Benefits to our client:
- Removed AC water lines.
- Replaced aged water lines.
We’ve always been there for our Texas clients and the local communities, and our firm looks forward to continuing to make a difference for them through this important work in 2021.
Mr. Irrinki says, “2021 is off to a great start building from the momentum and growth of 2020, growing both our wastewater and potable water business.” Teamwork is a Weston core value and Mr. Irrinki cites a remarkable “core team” as the most essential component of our high-performing operation.
It’s not every day most of us think about how the intricate underground water systems that support us daily are the single barrier protecting basic health and safety, the sanitation of the surrounding environment, and by extension, our communities. In fact, it’s not every day that most of us think about infrastructure at all, but it’s time we all did. Weston is accelerating the resiliency of water/wastewater infrastructure in Texas; we’re meeting the problem at the source.
3 Weston Business Plan (Customer Profile): Accelerate Texas Water & Wastewater Services Business Growth
4 Weston Business Plan Presentation 2021