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The Southeast Water Purification Plant Phase I 80 MGD expansion completed in 2011 was the largest city of Houston project undertaken, at $168 million. The capacity expanision was needed not only to increase the water available to the 1.4 million customers in the southeastern portion of Houston and seven adjacent municipalities, but to also satisfy a deadline-driven subsidence district mandate to reduce groundwater use.  Teamwork, coordination, the "unexpected" and innovations were trademarks of this most successful project spanning three years, hurricanes (even snow days in Houston!), and 14 acres. And it involved 11 stakeholder groups (nearby municipalities, water districts and other cities).

Treatment Module Two included the construction of four new flocculation and sediment basins, seven new filters, blower systems, high service sump station 2,750 horsepower split-case pump and variable frequency drive, transfer and backwash waste pump stations, chemical storage, chemical treatment facilities; installation of an upgraded SCADA system and site security system  and main plant entrance; electrical and instrumentation; 2,100 LF of 96” waterlines; a new 13.4 million gallon precast ground storage tank; two new 100 ft. diameter thickeners; and new sample pump buildings; and modifications to two existing lift stations and the chlorine system. The project was completed ahead of schedule and with $200,000 savings to the owner.


Engineering Design Firm
CDM Smith
Construction Inspector
Weston Solutions, Inc.
Construction Manager
Project Location
Houston, Texas


In anticipation of this project, PepperLawson Waterworks initiated meetings with potential project partners. This extended project team among construction firms, engineers, subconsultants, speciality contractors and the pertinent City department personnel participated in team-building exercises early-on, before any dirt was turned; and met quarterly to identify potential obstacles and discuss remedies. This world-class team proved itself by turning in the project m-o-n-t-h-s ahead of schedule!


Earlyon the project team decided to use a new approach to acquiring equipment. No "just-in-time" method of logistics would suffice. Due to ample storage onsite and an extensive schedule, long lead items were released for fabrication early in the project. City personnel allowed a temporary warehouse facility to be erected onsite equipped with power and rack shelving which the project team used as a warehouse. The project team also used a field onsite for storage of items which could be exposed to the weather.

Quality construction

The project received the Associated Builders and Contractors Certificate of Merit for Excellence in Construction in 2011.