Water and wastewater infrastructure along the Gulf Coast is set to undergo a major facelift after Garver was able to connect a growing city with the funds to make it possible.
Bay City is poised for significant residential growth as a result of recent commercial and industrial interest in the City. These growing demands for water and wastewater service – along with the need to rehabilitate aging infrastructure – provided the perfect opportunity to partner with the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) on some major projects to improve the drinking water and wastewater systems.
Earlier this year, the City was awarded almost $60 million from the TWDB that will go toward comprehensive upgrades of that infrastructure. These upgrades will lead to a more efficient water system and will provide residents in the growing city with reliable water infrastructure for generations to come.
“These critical water and wastewater projects represent the largest capital program ever undertaken by the City of Bay City, and Garver has been with us every step of the way, from funding acquisition to project execution,” said Barry Calhoun, Director of Public Works for the City of Bay City.
At times, funding complex infrastructure upgrades can be daunting. Dollars are available through a variety of outlets, but municipalities with limited staff and an ever-growing list of needs can get buried in a maze of applications and forms.
Garver’s funding assistance team has successfully connected several municipalities to project funds, leading to multi-million-dollar upgrades that keep safe water flowing through faucets and clean water discharging back into the environment.
“One of the biggest pieces of this project is the funding aspect,” said Dan Olson, PE, Garver’s Texas Region Director for Water Services. “And our goal in any funding assistance project is to take the reins of the funding process and alleviate the burden on our clients.”
The secret to Garver’s success is based in its College Station Water Design Center. From there, Funding Specialist Kirby Young leads a growing team of professionals who are adept at navigating the complicated requirements to obtain such funds. But for Young, who also possesses an advanced technical background as a hydrologist, the joy in navigating those challenges is leading clients to their desired goals.
“I just love helping people,” she said. “I love to bring it down to home base and being able to say: ‘Here’s what they have to offer. Here’s how we can help you take advantage of that.’”
The varied challenges and desire of each municipality mean the methods are fluid, too.
Bay City’s needs were especially unique because the City decided to overhaul its water and wastewater systems at the same time. That required additional coordination because Garver worked with the City to assemble Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) applications simultaneously.
But that complexity is what makes Young perfect for the role, allowing her to work with municipalities of all sizes to cross an essential — no matter how challenging — item off their list.
“It helps to have somebody who has done it before and who has done it on a variety of projects,” Olson said. “Because no two projects are the same. There are nuances to each one. I think we can really ease the process by bringing in somebody like Kirby who is familiar with all of those nuances.”
The list of improvements being made to Bay City’s water and wastewater infrastructure is lengthy. Following an alternatives evaluation, design of the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) Improvements includes a new 17 million gallon per day (MGD) influent lift station, headworks, aeration basins, blower systems, secondary clarifiers, disinfection, solids handling and dewatering, along with a new administration and control building, and an upgrade to the plant’s electrical infrastructure. By 2024, the City’s water and wastewater systems should be ready to handle an expected era of growth.
“For clients that are facing large projects, funding might be a question mark. We can help,” Young said. “There are so many outlets out there that you might not know exist. It’s not one-size fits all. It’s an assessment. And we’re here to help you figure that out."
Solving the puzzle
Garver’s long-standing track record is proof that it can help communities acquire the funds that are critical to major water and wastewater system upgrades.
City of Terrell, Texas
More than $30 million worth of water and wastewater upgrades are now in the works after Garver provided assistance with Texas Water Development Board forms and applications.
City of Pflugerville, Texas
The City of Pflugerville was the first community in the state to be chosen by the EPA to apply for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program. Garver is helping the City complete all necessary application information to acquire $42 million to expand its existing water treatment plant.
City of Norman, Oklahoma
Garver developed a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation grant worth $700,000 – one of only four awarded nationally – to help design, build, and oversee an extensive water reuse pilot study that will help determine if indirect potable reuse is feasible at Lake Thunderbird.
City of Celina, Texas
By working with the City of Celina to obtain a $750,000 WaterSMART grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Garver helped a growing city increase water reliability and flexibility with a new ground water storage tank.