City of Houston to Build New 16-Mile Transmission Line

The City of Houston will be advertising for bid in December 2016 the first three segments of a new 16.5 mile Northeast Transmission Waterline that will transmit surface water from the Northeast Water Purification Plant to four regional water authorities, Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs) and the City of Houston.

The city is building the waterline as part of its Surface Water Transmission Program (SWTP) to meet the region’s projected 2040 water demand. Ultimately, the waterline will provide up to 96 million-gallons-per-day (MGD) to the City of Houston and 269 MGD to local water authorities, enough to serve approximately nine hundred thousand homes. Along the way, the water line will also provide additional water to Bush Intercontinental Airport, the Greater Greenspoint Area, and surrounding areas currently receiving water from the existing 66-in. water line extending along the Greens Road corridor.

The water line, which includes 11 segments of large diameter pipe varying from 108 to 120 in., will be built in three phases. Planning, engineering and program management firm Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc. (LAN) designed two of the 108-in. segments and program managed the third segment.  The city also selected LAN as program manager for the remaining segments of the waterline. The 120-in. waterline at the Northeast Water Purification Plant will be the largest pipe built by the city since the program’s inception.

In 1985, the city created the SWTP in response to a mandate issued by the Harris-Galveston Subsidence District to decrease the use of groundwater and increase surface water usage. The goals of the program are to increase surface water usage, decommission and minimize the use of groundwater pump stations, increase water system pressures, and address other large diameter waterline issues. As part of meeting these goals, the city is constructing the northeast waterline.

“The new transmission waterline is another step toward meeting the city’s goals,” said Tony Boyd, P.E., LAN’s senior vice president and SWTP’s program manager. “It provides additional capacity and will address the region’s long-term water needs.”

Waterline interconnects will be constructed between the northeast transmission waterline and the existing 66-in. waterline at multiple locations to provide emergency connections. The emergency connections may be used in the future to provide a backup for both the existing and new waterlines if a shutdown is required for repairs or condition assessment.

The northeast water transmission line is part of a number of transmission line projects that will be constructed between 2017-2021 by the city in partnership with North Harris County Regional Water Authority, Central Harris County Regional Water Authority, West Harris County Regional Water Authority, North Fort Bend Water Authority, and the Texas Water Development Board’s SWIFT Program.

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