Los Fresnos Receives Over $5.2 Million to Upgrade Water and Wastewater Systems
Feature Photo (above): The Los Fresnos Water Treatment Plant, built in 1952. Image: Google Streets.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Los Fresnos (Cameron County) — The Texas Water Development Board on Thursday approved two resolutions that combined provide more than $5.2 million in financial assistance that will upgrade the Los Fresnos water and wastewater systems.
The small town of Los Fresnos, located northwest of Brownsville, provides 2,111 water and 1,803 wastewater connections. Its water treatment plant is not in compliance with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Its water treatment capacity of 1.228 million gallons per day is sufficient for current demands but doesn’t meet the required TCEQ minimum of 1.414 MGD. Looking forward, the town anticipates a demand load of 1.32 MGD by 2035 and the TCEQ minimum at that level is 2.09 MGD.
In 2014, Los Fresnos received $1,426,101 from the state water board’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund for the planning and design of an expansion and rehabilitation to its treatment plant. That work is now done and Los Fresnos requested and receive $3,625,000 for the construction phase.
The water treatment plant was built in 1952 and has a current capacity of 1 MGD. The remainder of the town’s capacity comes from its 2.28% ownership share of the 10 MGD Southmost Regional Water Authority treatment plant.
The project for which Los Fresnos obtained assistance would increase the capacity of its own plant form 1 to 1.5 MGD. The scope of work will also include rehabilitation and upgrade of a large portion of the plant’s equipment and treatment facilities to address treatment violations and operational compliance standards cited by TCEQ.
The construction phase is scheduled to begin Nov. 15, 2020 and reach completion by Aug. 2022. The hard cost estimate for the construction phase is $2,770,000.
Track these system improvements on VBX Project ID 2020-572D. The combined TWDB loans for this cycle for Los Fresnos water treatment and wastewater treatment improvements total $5,225,000.
A water district canal in Los Fresnos. Image: Google Streets.
Wastewater Treatment Improvements
In 2014, Los Fresnos also received $1,164,980 from the state water board’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund for the planning and design of a project to rehabilitate its wastewater collection system and provide first-time wastewater service to about 760 residents through 253 connections.
However, the current scope of work to be funded by the current construction funding request only includes 36 new connections for 134 residents. The remaining 217 connections are excluded because the construction of the extension of sewer service to the Los Cuates and Chula Vista subdivisions is not financially feasible at this time.
The new sewer service to will service the area along West Ocean Boulevard (SH 100), Old Alice Road (FM 1575), and Harvey Escalante Road.
A portion of the town’s existing wastewater collection system contains vitrified clay pipes that are old and deteriorated, undersized lines, dilapidated sewer manholes, and lift stations that are corroded and have no back-up generators. These conditions could lead to infiltration and inflow, and sewer overflows that could pose an environmental and health hazard.
The project will rehabilitate three existing lift stations, add a new lift station and three grinder pumps, purchase standby generators and automatic transfer switches for the lift stations, replace deteriorated vitrified clay sewer collection lines, replace undersized collection lines, and repair or replace manholes.
Construction is to begin Dec. 1 and reach completion Dec. 1, 2021. The construction budget is estimated at $1,240,000. The remaining financing will cover engineering, special service and fiscal service fees, and a contingency fund.
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.