BRAZORIA

The dirt and sweat of Brazoria jobs are turning into results.

Although some of the biggest projects are hidden in the southern part of the city, Brazoria officials have noticed progress being made across the municipality, including its wastewater plant.

A trunk line replacement to the plant is one of the major pieces, with Matula & Matula Construction in Lake Jackson starting on the work Sept. 19. Council approved the $1.75 million project over the summer.

The COVID-19 pandemic closed down earlier work done on the line by a previous contractor, which went bankrupt.

The sewage trunk line receives wastewater from many branches and serves as an outlet for a large territory. The entire reconstruction consists of 11 manholes where the workers can work on the pipe.

The manholes, also referred to as trunk sewers, are 6 feet deep and 750 feet apart, leading to the 18-inch-wide sewage pipes.

“The concrete diameter needs to be a little bit bigger, so you could slide the pipe all the way into the precast mantle, so you’ll seal it,” Brazoria Project Manager David Kocurek said.

A lot of Matula & Matula equipment is difficult to obtain, and with inflation continuing to rise, more difficult for the city to get, Mayor Philip Ray said.

“We had the leak, the waterline leak, it was the PVC fittings and it was a big stuff that we don’t have,” Ray said.

The trunk line spans about 12,000 feet — more than two miles — behind the water sewage plant between East New York Street and CR-797 on the southwestern section of the city.

A problem they want to prevent is water standing on ground level, which causes the manhole area to become an infiltration zone.

“When it rained a lot when they were doing it, it was sloppy,” Ray said. “I remember in April, there were some pretty good-sized ruts trackers left and got stuck.”

The previous company finished stretches of the trunk line, including five manholes, so the Matula & Matula is tightening the sections.

“Watching these guys is like an orchestra the way everything moves together, and they really know their stuff,” Ray said.

Matula & Matula expects the project to be done in about 200 business days, which would put it sometime next summer.

CLEANER WATER

The earthy smell that came from the sewage plant over the past six months is slowly beginning to drift off.

When Ray took office in May, he described the water’s appearance as “chocolate milk.” Wastewater operators have made strides to keep the water clean and the plant operating efficiently.

Its “race track” structure is unique compared to other sewage plants, but it helps limit unneeded maintenance work, Ray said.

Hurricane Harvey’s flooding in 2017 delivered a significant blow to the wastewater plant, inundating it and killing off a lot of the healthy bacteria needed to cleanse the water. But the issues extend beyond one incident.

“The land and the humidity and the weather and what you get just takes up a lot of room and it’s hard to clean those out,” Kocurek said.

The city has been working on cleaning the sewer plant and most recently was approved for a $3.1 million grant from the Texas General Land Office in March 2021.

After the water is sent through a system of aerators and bacteria-killing bugs, it receives a final chlorination to make sure bacteria is killed before it leaves the plant, Ray said.

The cleansed water runs along a ditch that goes from the plant and discharged into the San Bernard River more than 200 feet away.

Brazoria Wastewater Operator Delane Brown joined the staff around the beginning of Ray’s tenure and has seen everything there is to see.

He, alongside other workers on the sewage plant do minor daily testing for chlorine, while major testing is done once a week. Each test looks at ammonia levels and other potentially hazardous diseases such as toxic shock syndrome, dextran sulfate sodium and hepatic veno-occlusive disease.

STORAGE TANK

A white tarp sits on the top of the city’s elevated water storage tank, which had been consistently working since 1985, Ray said.

After a new coat of paint and one other milestone, a refurbishing of the tank is expected to be finished. The work is being paid through certificate of obligation bonds.

They have been working on the tank since May, with repairs to the metal itself on the inside.

Other projects the city is eyeing for is contracting work for the new Austin Colony subdivision and drainage ditch regrading along many roads and subdivisions in the city.

Andrew Tineo is a reporter for The Facts, contact him at 979-237-0151.

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