Bertram Boom Requires Drinking and Wastewater Systems Expansions
Feature Photo: The Globe Theater in Bertram. Image: Google Streets.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Bertram (Burnet County) — A population boom brought on by Bertram’s proximity to Austin has required the community to borrow $4.75 million from the state for a wastewater treatment system expansion. Another $12.44 million was borrowed in December to upgrade the drinking water system.
Bertram’s population grew from about 1,000 residents in 2014 to 2,400 in 2018. There are currently 380 new homes in the construction pipeline, and an additional 785 homes are projected to be built by 2040.
The city’s is currently using approximately 60% of its wastewater treatment capacity. It is expected to reach 90% within 18 to 24 months.
The city applied for and received financial assistance this week from the Texas Water Development Board. The funding will be used to replace the existing lagoon wastewater treatment system with a slightly larger conventional wastewater treatment plant.
The replacement project will change capacity from the current 144,000 gallons per day to 200,000 gallons per day. In addition, the new system will be expandable to 300,000 gallons per day.
The budget provides $3,464,000 for actual construction; $383,280 for engineering, planning and design; $83,000 for special services such as environmental, geotechnical engineering, project management, etc.; $335,642 for fiscal services; and a $482,078 contingency fund.
The VBX Project ID for the wastewater treatment plant project is 2020-3F23. The VBX Project Id for the elevated storage tank and transmission main is 2020-3F24.
New Elevated Storage Tank & Transmission Main:
The action taken this week follows an agreement of the Texas Water Development Board on Dec. 19 to provide $12.44 million in financing from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund for the planning, design and construction of a 500,000-gallon elevated storage tank.
The same population growth that is necessitating the wastewater treatment expansion is forcing the city to upgrade its potable water systems. The city’s existing 50,000-gallon elevated storage tank and 8-inch transmission main is aging and undersized.
In addition to the new storage tank, Bertram plans to replace the existing transmission line–which connects to a well field 12 miles west of town–with a new 12- or 16-inch transmission main.
The construction budget for the storage tank and transmission line is $9,080,000. Engineering, design, fiscal and special services will exhaust the remainder of the loan.
Engineering is expected to be completed this June and the design phase should wind up by mid-September. Construction is expected to start by Nov. 8, 2020 and reach completion by March 1, 2022.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.