Engineering firm studies city's water resources

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The firm tasked with checking Kilgore Public Works’ assessments and assumptions about the city’s water is now ready to take a closer look at current resources.

HDR, Inc. was hired by council members in August through a master engineering agreement, a major step in crafting, refining and ultimately executing plans for Kilgore’s water security. Their first Task Order completed, the company has two new duties on its plate.

“We’ve been talking about this for several years now,” Kilgore Public Works Director Seth Sorensen reminded council members Tuesday: the city’s water system is aging, and steps must be taken to improve the system and ensure adequate resources are available both for sustainability and growth over years and decades. “Now we’re at the point that we’re ready to move on with the planning stages.”

After reviewing the city’s needs, HDR will now focus on its water assets (the Sabine River and the Smith County well-field) and its distribution system.

The first task used $39,100 of the $200,000 set aside for HDR’s efforts. Task Order 2A is estimated at $42,000.

The firm will “perform a thorough review of our raw water contract with Sabine River Authority and a detailed investigation into the capability and long-term availability of groundwater in our wellfield,” according to a public works memo to council members. “The first step in this process was to determine how much water we need. This next step will determine how much we have in our existing supplies.”

Evaluating distribution (Task Order 2B) is estimated at $57,300 “to review the groundwater collection and transmission system and update our existing water model. This analysis is necessary to determine what limitations our system has in its ability to deliver peak water demands now and into the future,” according to public works staffers. After 2A determines how much water the city has in existing supplies, “This task will determine our ability to deliver the required water by looking at the hydraulics of our existing distribution network to identify improvements that would be necessary to deliver current and future water needs.”

The latest tasks will leave about $62,000 remaining in the master engineering agreement.

Data will be fed into a piece of robust software, Sorensen said, to provide a better idea of what the future may hold.

“This model will allow us to see in model-time, realtime in the computer world, year-by-year and decade-by-decade where we’re going to be,” he added.

Sorensen couldn’t speak to the scope of the third phase of HDR’s work, not yet. It might exceed the remaining funds in the set-aside, he allowed.

“There is a potential we would come back to the council for one more segment. I can’t tell you what that dollar amount would be,” Sorensen noted. “It would depend on the complexity, the scope and what we want them to answer for us.”

Council members unanimously-approved the latest Task Orders Tuesday.

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