infrastructure improvement projects
The City of Natalia Governing Body, City Administrator and Public Works Director continue to seek funding options and resources to assist our efforts in making infrastructure improvements to facilities, water, wastewater, drainage and street systems; additionally, applying those same efforts in housing and community enhancement opportunities.
The City must initiate and complete several administrative procedures prior to being awarded any state or federally funded contracts; in some cases, this may take many months to achieve. Once awarded, there are numerous executive and pre-construction provisions that must be approved by funding agency. Overall, one contract, from start of application to end of construction can take as long as three (3) years to complete.
The contracts listed below are either in the executive process, or currently under construction.
TDHCA CONTRACT NO. 1002854 – HOME PROGRAM HOUSING REHABILITATION/RECONSTRUCTION
The City filed an application through Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs in 2019, and has since been awarded. The program funds rehabilitation or reconstruction of homes owned and occupied by low-to-moderate income residents of our City. There are a few eligibility requirements that a home owner must provide or comply in order for TDHCA to accept an application for consideration. Homes normally carry a value of $100,000, and are to be at least three (3) bedrooms/two (2) bathrooms.
Construction Bids are currently in process to construct FIVE (5) new homes within our community!
TXCBDG CONTRACT NO.7217162 - DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION
The City filed a grant application with Texas Department of Agriculture in 2017 to make necessary improvements to the City's Downtown District. Texas Department of Agriculture awarded the City the grant contract for a total project amount of $216,666.00 through the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program which will be used to enhance, beautify, and make the district pedestrian safe and handicap accessible by improving, replacing or installing 1) Sidewalks, 2) ADA Ramps, 3) Crosswalks and Signage, and 4) Decorative Street Lighting. Contract expected Close-out date "not yet provided".
TXCBDG CONTRACT NO.7217321 - WWTP IMPROVEMENTS
The City filed a grant application with Texas Department of Agriculture in 2017 to make necessary improvements to the City's Wastewater System and Facilities. Texas Department of Agriculture awarded the City the grant contract for a total project amount of $288,750.00 through the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program which will be used to improve, replace or install a 1) Mechanical Fine Screen, 2) Automatic Transfer Switch at the Lift Station, and 3) Sludge Blanket Monitoring System at Clarifier No.2. Contract expected Close-out date is January 2020.
TXCBDG CONTRACT NO.7216074 - MASTER PLAN
The City filed a grant application with Texas Department of Agriculture in 2016 to make necessary revisions to the City's 1996 Comprehensive Master Plan. Texas Department of Agriculture awarded the City the grant contract for a total project amount of $45,986.00 through the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program which will be used as a long-term planning guide for the City to set improvement goals to identify projects and programs needed to enhance the community while managing current operations and planning for growth. The 2018 Master Plan evaluates current conditions, projections and priorities comprised of 1) Planning and Economic Development, 2) Street System, 3) Water System, 4) Wastewater System, 5) Storm Drainage System, 6) Recreational Spaces, 7) Capital Improvements Program, and amending the 8) Subdivisions Ordinance, 9) Zoning Ordinance. Contract expected Close-out date is December 2018.
USDA BOND SERIES - WATER & WATEWATER IMPROVEMENTS
The City of Natalia, with the assistance from USDA Rural Development and M&S Engineering, progressively worked towards making utility facility and infrastructure improvements since May 2015; whereas, City Council finally accepted the results of the Preliminary Engineering and Evaluation Report of the city’s current utility system in March 2016, and decided to headfirst with the projects regarded as high priority for both the water and sewer systems. The City received a low-interest loan from USDA of 1.875% for a 40-year term, in addition to being awarded grant funds for system improvements and preliminary engineering studies. There are several further steps the City and Engineers must perform before commencing on the phases of construction, but for the foremost, the City is on the right path of progression. The projects identified were rated as high priority:
WATER IMPROVEMENTS ($1,327,360.00)
Well Site Upgrades: This project would improve the performance and reliability of the City's (2) existing raw water wells and the back-up well. Work would include the addition of standby power at the primary well site in the form of a diesel generator and associated automatic transfer switch. New flow meters would also replace old existing meters at both sites with newer technology. The project would include servicing of the existing well pumps, new control valves, and a video inspection of the condition of each well to ensure the wells will continue to provide a reliable water source into the future. Having a well site located more than four miles north of the City limits also poses problems with additional time needed for maintenance staff responding to any issues at the well site. For this reason, back-up power will also be added to existing SCADA infrastructure at the well site and at the elevated tank site by the addition of battery back-up, and at City hall with a permanent standby generator, to ensure that operations can be reliably monitored and controlled remotely during periods of power outage at these locations. This project was given the highest priority because of the criticality of having back-up power at the City’s only primary water source.
Upgrades to the Oldest Portion of the Water Distribution System: Areas of the City (approximately 10,000 feet of main, or 25% of the distribution system) have been identified as having old, galvanized water mains. These areas have also been identified as suffering from breaks/leaks most often. Replacement of these mains with new PVC mains would reduce breaks and leaks, ultimately decreasing the amount of water that is pumped and lost in the system. System-valving will be analyzed to determine the proper protocol for isolating the NISD School and Love's Travel Center, so that these sites may be served directly by the elevated tank without interruption of water in the event of a break in the system. New hydrants will be spaced to provide residents with improved fire flow within a reasonable distance from any structure. This project was given high priority due to the City’s high rated water loss.
Emergency Interconnect with East Medina Special Utility District: A new interconnect with East Medina Special Utility District would allow for a temporary water source in the event of a break in the City's pipe from the wells along FM 463, a major failure (lightning strike) at the well site, or if repairs are being completed requiring shutdown of the well site. A suitable location for this interconnects is at the intersection of CR 675 and FM 463. This project is relatively easy to construct due to the City’s water main being in close proximity to East Medina’s main coupled with the benefit of having a reliable water source should the City’s well be down for any extended period of time.
Refinancing Series-2015 Water Purchase: The City approved a practical investment to purchase additional water rights in in order to maintain and prosper long-term for betterment of the community, and to avoid EAA restrictions that would limit and cause over-pumping fines and fees as a result from mandatory reduction. There being, by August 2016 the City filed the purchase (Transfer by Sale Application) of 60-acre feet of water rights to the city’s authorized water permit with EAA; effectively increasing the City’s water rights permit from 266.667 to 326.667 acre-feet of water. This purchase was financed through a Combination Tax and Limited Pledge of Revenue Certificate of Obligation for an amount of $350,000, not including accrued annual interest; and to be refinanced through USDA Rural Development Loan/Grant Funding Program.
SEWER IMPROVEMENTS ($987,000.00)
Redirect the Love’s Travel Center Lift Station through New Pipeline to WWTP: A new sewer pipeline (combination force main and gravity main) would allow the Love's lift station to pump in a dedicated line to the WWTP. This project would require new pumps at Love's Travel Center lift station sized for the new discharge force main and approximately 6,400 feet of new pipe line along FM 6717, discharging to the wet well at the Plant pump station at the City's WWTP. This project would also include curbing around the lift station to keep surface stormwater inflow from entering the wet well; helping to reduce flow spikes at the WWTP during major rain events. The primary purpose for this project is to reduce wastewater flows entering the City’s Ballfield lift station. The Love’s lift station flows currently are re-pumped at the Ballfield lift station, and the project would remove this burden. Should any new flows be added at the south end of the City, through development or through new connections from residents currently on septic systems, the new pipeline could also serve as a primary collector for this area of the City. This project is considered of the highest priority in that it not only fills the immediate need of relieving flows into the Ballpark lift station, but also adds system flexibility by establishing a second primary conveyance to the WWTP as well as a collector for any new development along the I-35 corridor.
Replace the Utility Crossing of Fort Ewell Creek: The condition of the current aerial gravity sewer crossing of Fort Ewell Creek is of concern. There are signs of erosion around the base of the pipe supports, which are located in the flow line of the creek. A failure of this pipeline would result in a discharge of untreated wastewater into the Creek, the environmental effects of which could include impacts to both flora and fauna. This project would construct a new crossing with supports located out of the primary flow line of the creek, if possible, and installed with enough depth to ensure erosion is not an issue. Additional room could be left to install a water main alongside the wastewater main, as the existing water main is located with minimal cover below the creek bottom. This project is considered of high priority due to the possible environmental impacts to the Fort Ewell Creek should one of the existing supports collapse and a discharge occur.
Reduction of Non-Wastewater Treatment at WWTP: The City’s WWTP experiences high flow spikes, often times exceeding the permitted discharge flow allowance, during periods of heavy rain. It is believed that these flow spikes are due to inflow and infiltration into the gravity collection system. Replacing aged wastewater gravity mains reduces infiltration of ground water into the system. Similarly, rehabbing or replacing manholes showing signs of deterioration helps reduce both groundwater infiltration and stormwater inflow (in cases of deteriorating rims and lids). The project would likely run in 3 phases: 1) Inspection of selected gravity sewer lines and of manholes to determine condition; 2) Cleaning/jetting of select lines; and 3) Lining and/or replacement of select lines and/or replacement of select manholes. The area was selected based on the frequency of leaks, breaks, and repairs for both the water mains and gravity sewers. Completing projects within a given area allows the construction efforts to run in parallel, which will limit impacts to surrounding residences and businesses to a single project timeframe. This also effectively reduces the cost of construction of both projects through bidding the projects together and allowing one contractor to perform both efforts. This project is of high priority due its long term effect on loadings into the WWTP and the resulting long term energy cost savings and plant treatment efficiencies.
Minor Repairs at the Ballfield Lift Station: During an onsite visual inspection of the Ballfield Lift Station, the station was found to be in good condition overall with all major components in working order. One item that is in need of immediate attention, however, was the wall brackets that secure the stainless steel pump rails in place. These brackets are heavily corroded and should be replaced. While the work may be relatively minor, the impact of these brackets failing would be the inability to pull pumps for servicing and possibly great expense if there is future damage to the pump rails. The existing brackets will be replaced with stainless steel brackets to ensure the longevity of the repair. This project is of high priority due to the possible damage caused (and additional repair expense required) if the brackets were to fail.
TXCBDG CONTRACT NO.7215349 - WWTP IMPROVEMENTS
The City filed a grant application with Texas Department of Agriculture in 2015 to make necessary improvements to the City' Wastewater System and Facilities. Texas Department of Agriculture awarded the City the grant contract for a total project amount of $288,750.00 through the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program which will be used to improve, replace or install 1) Lift Station Pump, 2) Clarifer, 3) Oxidation Ditch, and 4) Chlorine Contact Basin. Contract expected Close-out date is December 2017.