Bringing Sustainable Water to the South | PCL

Bringing Sustainable Water to the South

San Angelo is nestled in the heart of Texas and enjoys warm and dry weather most of the year. While perfect for appreciating the great outdoors, it can be challenging to secure a reliable potable water resource for the nearly 100,000 residents. Until very recently, the City has been unable to properly treat the water from their most reliable source, the Hickory Aquifer, owing to naturally occurring radium in the nearby soil, the high cost of treatment, and limited available technology. With severe drought in the area a reality, and low reserves of surface water a certainty, the City of San Angelo needed to act. 

 The installation of wells, pump stations, and
transmission pipeline assisted in the
water-purification process.

The Hickory facility has the capacity to treat the
radium-contaminated water from the local aquifer
and provide San Angelo residents with a new,
sustainable water resource long into the future.

The City set out to install new infrastructure to transfer water from the aquifer by installing wells, pump stations, and a transmission pipeline to the treatment facility where the water was treated and radium removed, making purified water available to the City’s residents. The project also included the demolition of existing buildings and erection of new structures. The Hickory facility has the capacity to treat the radium-contaminated water from the aquifer and provide San Angelo residents with a new, sustainable water resource long into the future.


During water filtration, water called backwash is forced backwards through the system to remove built up sediment and debris. This process cleans the filter media and adds longevity and cost savings. The dislodged sediment then travels through a backwash drain to the sewage line. Sludge lagoons are temporary holding areas that deal with the excess sediment the drain is unable to handle. The original requirement at Hickory was to reline the existing lagoon with concrete to prevent radium-filled water from seeping into the ground. However, the lagoon was extremely deep and filled with poor quality, unmanageable soil, so the City was faced with large unforeseen costs to remove the sludge, backfill with high-quality soil, and line the new lagoon with concrete. 
As an equally effective, budget-friendly work-around, the project team built a large, concrete tank to hold the backwash water instead of releasing it into the lagoon, resolving any potential issues with groundwater contamination.



One component of the project included the construction of a building designed to hold three large pressure filters. The original installation plan had the filter tanks rolled into the building using Hilman rollers (a “jack-and-roll” system) and a large crane hoisting them into place. The availability and cost of the crane and jack-and-roll services required to move the tanks was a concern, however, so the team looked for another approach to install them within the budget.
After assessing options, the construction team chose to leave a larger opening in the building walls. This meant that trailers carrying the filters could pass through and also accommodate a crane small enough to fit into the building but sufficiently sturdy to move the filters from the trailers to a slab base. To make sure this would all work smoothly, the team collaborated with an engineering firm that specializes in rigging and cranes and received engineer’s approval to drive the trucks directly onto the slab. Together, they assessed the entire procedure, paying special attention to pressure points and load weights—all with an eye to ensuring that the structures and crane could manage, beyond a doubt, the weight of the filters. Once the slab base and crane were in place, the pressure filters were brought in by truck and transferred to their final destinations, and the building walls and roofing were enclosed.
With all work complete, San Angeleans can rest easy knowing that they have a first-rate water treatment facility to rely on now and into the future.

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