City hires five firms to help with water expansion project

City hires five firms to help with water expansion project Main Photo

13 Feb 2023

News, City Council, City of Seguin, Infrastructure

Seguin, TX, USA / Seguin Today
Cindy Aguirre

(Seguin) — The city of Seguin is moving forward with its plans to greatly expand its water service territory to the north.  The Seguin City Council on Tuesday approved several professional service contracts that will allow several projects to move forward for design and construction of infrastructure work needed for the city to expand its water service area.

Tim Howe, director of water and wastewater utilities, says the city acquired a sizable area from the Springs Hill Water Supply Corporation. When the deal was approved in the fall, it was called a “win-win” for the city and for Springs Hill. Howe says the expansion of the city’s water service territory helps it meet future demands for growth. It also allowed Springs Hill to focus on other areas within its boundaries. Howe says the growth in Seguin has been rapid, and this helps to address some of those issues.

“With that growth came high demands on a on our water supply, and in order to ensure that our water supply is there for our community and to meet the demands in the future, it takes strategic planning and a collaborative effort among the different water purveyors here in the city.  So, in early 2022, Springs Hill found themselves in a place where they were not able to make a commitment to developers, based on their water supply. So cognizant of the potential impact that might have on our community, city management began discussions with Springs Hill to transfer about 9,500 acres of their service area over to the city of Seguin. The effort was to free up some water supplies, so that then Springs Hill could begin making water commitments to developers in different parts of their service area,” said Howe.

The deal was approved last fall. In all, it covers about 9,500 acres, including land where the new Navarro High School is slated to be built.

“On October 18th, city council approved an agreement between the city and Springs Hill that transfers an area that’s bounded by State Highway 46 to the west, north to Link Road, south to IH 10, and east to State Highway 123,” said Howe.  

The city hired the engineering firm Freese & Nichols to work up some models that would show how to best get the city’s water flowing into those properties. The modeling help to map out a pathway forward, and allowed the city to specify what projects need to be done at this time.

“Freese & Nichols did modeling for our distribution system and identified eight separate capital improvement projects that are necessary for the city to provide service to this part of our community. Subsequently, the city organized the strategic focus group, with the objective of identifying a method that could help us design and construct these eight projects as quickly as possible. The city has a set of aggressive goal to complete this construction by this first quarter of 2026,” said Howe.

The eight projects were packaged together and the council on Tuesday approved contracts with several different firms to handle all of that work.

“The focus group recommended that we take eight projects and condense them into three projects — what we’re calling project packages. The city has solicited proposals from three different design firms to handle design and construction management. A fourth engineering firm will do quality control plan review and construction inspections. A fifth (firm) will handle all land acquisition or real estate acquisition that’s necessary to complete these eight projects,” said Howe.

City Manager Steve Parker sang the praises of Howe, Assistant City Manager Rick Cortes, City Engineer Melissa Reynolds and other staff for working so diligently over the last several months to get these projects started. Parker says it’s important to the city’s future to get this water flowing into that area as quickly as possible.

“So we’ve got a lot of major projects going on right now, especially with our wastewater treatment plant (expansion). We’re counting on growth to make a lot of those things happen. If we stall, then that’s just a (potential) impact on the rates that people will have to pay for this. The quicker we get these things up, and get these customers connected — the more developments we’re going to have, and the more commercial or retail that we’re going to have. Also, the more industrial properties, because a lot of these…are key industrial areas. I just can’t say enough about the team and how quickly and how well thought out their plan is and how well they’ve executed this,” said Parker.

The firms hired include TRC Engineering, Trihydro Corporation, Kimley-Horn & Associates, Freese & Nichols, and HDR Incorporated. Each firm was assigned a specific task and that work will all be done in an effort to complete the overall water expansion project over the next three years.

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