The water will pass through several open flocculation, sedimentation and filtration basins, a disinfection system and an enclosed clear well. An elevated storage tank will hold water ready for distribution. The project also includes an interim administrative building with a laboratory and an electrical control building. The site requires rock excavation and movement of more than 50,000 cu yds of material.

“There’s a cave onsite that we have to work around,” says Bennie Fretwell, Pepper-Lawson Construction area manager for Central Texas Waterworks. “We are being careful before we build a structure that we aren’t encountering any caves.”

Bores were completed before Pepper-Lawson began its work. Crews are now digging, conscious that additional natural caves could exist.

Due to the size of the initial basin, Pepper-Lawson is pouring segments of the first basin and then returning to pour the walls atop the mat. At peak, Fretwell expects 160 people will be working onsite. He and BCRUA have worked with the community to keep neighbors informed about the construction and minimize disruptions.

“We’re trying to be a good neighbor and respectful stewards of the environment through our effective and well-maintained storm-water-pollution prevention program, our tree-protection efforts, efficient construction equipment and our day-to-day awareness of and respect for where we are working,” Fretwell says.

BCRUA awarded S.J. Louis Construction of Texas Ltd. of Mansfield a $19.4-million contract to build a 5.5-mi, 78-in. diameter, steel raw-water pipeline from Lake Travis to the plant, with construction that began in November, and an $8-million contract to build a 1-mi-long, 78-in. diameter, steel treated-water transmission line.

The water authority plans to accept bids for another 2-mi-long, treated-water segment late this spring. It also will award this year a contract for a floating barge temporary intake and another for a 3,000-ft underwater pipeline to bring water from the floating barge.

“Our goal is to have everything complete and operational in spring 2012,” Lippe says. “All are sequenced to come together in late summer or early fall 2011.”

The second phase includes construction of a permanent, deep-water intake and a plant expansion to 106 mgd.

The additional capacity is not needed for several years, but due to concerns about the lake level dropping, the authority might act on phase two sooner than that, Lippe says. It is currently conducting a survey to select the appropriate site.

“Building an intake at a deeper level will make it more drought proof,” Goeff says.