In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the LID 19 board diligently worked to find the best solutions for our area. Instead of spending your money without knowing the full benefit of an action, they chose a more thoughtful approach. Through a great deal of analysis from district consultants plus engaging additional technical experts, they have developed key strategies to best prepare for the next water emergency.
One of the major projects going to construction is the expansion of the Steep Bank Creek pump station. The currently existing pump station was designed to remove 80,000 gallons of water per minute (GPM). Last year the board approved the purchase of twelve mobile pumps. These are portable pumps that can be moved across the district as needed. The pumps added 81,000GPM capacity to the pump station for a total of 161,000 GPM. These pumps will remain on-site until the expansion project is completed.
The expansion project adds three 50,000 GPM pumps to the pump station. These will be permanent pumps inside the current pump station. Not including the mobile pumps, after the project, the station will be able to pump a maximum capacity of over 230,000 gallons per minute. Including the portable pumps at this location increases the capacity to 311,000 gallons per minute. Please note that the largest capacity pump is always considered a spare pump. However, during an emergency, all functioning pumps are pressed into service, including the spare pump.
“Our first priority is to protect the levees that protect our homes and increase the flood resiliency of LID 19. The initial steps after Harvey was to understand what would be required, not just for today but for future needs as well. All of that research and planning brings us to today. There are more steps to come, but the Steep Bank Creek expansion is a significant upgrade to the flood resiliency of our community. “- Kalapi Sheth, President LID 19
In addition to the increased capacity, the project also includes replacing the natural gas-fired electric power generation at the plant with a new system. This replacement is to ensure full backup power capacity in case the electrical grid fails during an emergency.
Currently, the project is out for construction bid. The district plans to have the pump station expansion construction under contract in June with completion slated for June 2021. However, the current COVID-19 pandemic could create delivery delays, or critical parts could be on backorder until manufacturing ramps up. In that case, the project completion could be extended.
In total, the cost of the project will be close to $7 million. The expense is born by the two LID’s that benefit from the project; LID 19 and LID 15. Geographically LID 15 shares over half of the watershed, so the payment of the project is split based on geographic borders. 55% paid by LID 15 and 45% by LID 19.
During construction, at all times, we will continue to have currently installed pumping capacity available and operational to handle any needed pumping events. As the new pumps come online, we will only be adding to that capacity.