Update as of September 20, 2023:
The well is running properly, and the contractor is filling the ground storage tank (GST). The GST must be initially filled at a slow rate, to reduce the risk of cracking and settlement. The GST is expected to be full today. We must receive 3 days of passing bacteriological samples in the GST prior to sending water to the distribution system, which is anticipated on Thursday afternoon.
There is a startup of the booster pumps scheduled for Thursday. If the booster pumps are running properly, the operator and contractor can begin adjusting the system controls to put the plant online Friday or Monday. Putting the plant online on Friday can be difficult from an operational standpoint, due to limited availability of personnel and backup resources, so Monday is preferred. The District’s Operator understands the need to have this plant online, but do not want to rush the process and risk a major malfunction over the weekend.
The transformer has been set by CenterPoint. CenterPoint should be installing a meter later this week or early next week, so the on-site generator may not be needed to run the facilities.
When the plant is online, there may be discolored or unfamiliar tasting/smelling water coming from the taps. This is normal when the source of water changes as sediment in the distribution system can be stirred up. The District’s operator will be on standby to flush the lines and help relieve potential water quality concerns. They will also be testing and monitoring the new water plant and distribution system to ensure compliance with the TCEQ’s drinking water standards, as they normally do.
The Willow Creek Farms MUD’s well runtimes have been below the drought control threshold, which is a positive sign that the restrictions are working. We plan to reduce the District to Stage 2 by Monday and will likely go to Stage 1 as soon as the water plant is confidently up and running.
Update as of September 13, 2023:
The well motor, column, and pump have been installed. The electrician has wired up the motor and is working on other wiring and controls within the water plant site. The well motor manufacturer and well controls manufacturers are scheduled to test their equipment today. We expect all equipment to be up and running by the end of the week, but it may be mid-next week before water can be safely provided to the system.
Once a passing bacteriological sample is received on the well, we can begin filling the ground storage tank and test the booster pumps. The well pumps water out of the ground, but booster pumps are needed to send water throughout the distribution system. It will take a few more days to fill the ground storage tank, get passing bacteriological samples, ensure the booster pumps are working properly, and begin providing water to the residents.
The equipment will be run on generator power, while we wait for the transformer from CenterPoint. The generator is capable of running the plant under normal operating conditions and during the initial startup and testing of the facilities.
We continue to monitor the drought stages between Willow Creek Farms and the District. We will likely remain in the current Stage 3 for the District and Stage 2 for Willow Creek Farms MUD, unless the weather or usage allow us to make a change for either district.
Update as of September 6, 2023:
The well column and pump were delivered last week. The column is being installed by the contractor, and they are awaiting the delivery of the motor. Unfortunately, there was a delay in the delivery of the motor, but it should be delivered today, and the electricians are scheduled to have it hooked up this week.
Additionally, we have received authorization from the TCEQ to put the well into service for public use. Once the well is complete, tested, and put into service, we will notify the TCEQ that the well is online. As I have stated previously, having the FMUD3A well online will essentially double the production capacity of the joint water system with Willow Creek Farms MUD, reducing the existing well runtime by approximately half, and allowing the drought restrictions to be lifted.
We will remain in Stage 3 Drought Restrictions until the well is online. This has been the most successful means of preserving the integrity of the joint water distribution system. Willow Creek Farms MUD is considering lowering their drought stage level to Stage 2, to determine impacts on the well runtime.
Update as of 8/30/2023:
The well column, motor, and pump are scheduled for delivery today. It will take the remainder of the week to complete installation of these items, and the contractor plans to begin filling the ground storage tank early next week. The generator is capable of running the plant as we await the transformer from CenterPoint.
Once we receive passing bacteriological samples, and approval from the TCEQ (which we expect this week), the well can be put in service for public use.
Please continue to follow the drought protocol as we work diligently with the contractor, their subcontractors, suppliers, and many other parties involved with getting the well online.
The Fulshear Municipal Utility District No. 3A Water Plant No. 1 project started design in February 2020, and was publicly bid and awarded to R&B Group in June 2021, for $4.8 million dollars. A notice to proceed for the Water Plant No. 1 project was issued on November 1, 2021. The scope of the project includes a water well, ground storage tank, hydropneumatic tank, booster pumps, electrical building, chemical building, and associated site work. The water well is a 1,350 gallon per minute well, with a 24” diameter well casing that is approximately 900 feet deep.
The well driller was one of the first subcontractors to arrive onsite, as they require the most space to construct the well, and it is one of the longest items on the site. They completed a test well in December 2021, which allows the hydrogeologist to review the potential production of the well, and make recommendations for the size of the pumps and motors, location of the screens, casing diameter, etc. The material settings were submitted by the contractor in January 2022, reviewed, finalized in February 2022, and the well casing and screens were ordered. Due to the supply chain issues, the screens took longer than expected to be manufactured, shipped, and be installed. The screens were installed, and a production test was completed in November 2022. The production (specific capacity) of the well was less than the project specifications allowed, so additional treatment and testing was performed as an attempt to increase the capacity of the well until February 2023. Once we agreed on the amended capacity, the updated pump and motor specifications were reviewed, and ordered in April 2023. We are still waiting on the well motor to arrive from the subcontractor’s supplier, and the pump has arrived. We are using a rental motor to get the plant online.
Today, the critical path items for the project’s completion include installation of the well column, followed by the pump, and motor. The well column is expected to be installed by Monday, August 28th, with the rental well motor. During the last MUD meeting, we also discussed the power to the site, which is in process of being delivered by CenterPoint. We have an on-site generator, which can run the water plant, will be tested on Friday, August 25th.
It will take several days after installation of all equipment to complete testing, adjustment, and sampling to ensure the water is safe for public use in the distribution system. It is difficult to provide specific dates as to when items will be completed, as with projects of this size and complexity, it is impossible to predict every delay or issue that may occur. We will continue to provide regular updates as the project progresses, and more information is available.