In short: we are on track with our schedule…with a few minor setbacks that shouldn’t affect our overall timeline. Implementing any major infrastructure change into an existing neighborhood is never a small task, but we’re thankful to have a knowledgeable team in place with members willing to work late and on weekends to get the job done, plus a supportive community in favor of the option we are bringing to them.
The majority of the work so far has been done around the Live Oak Golf Course, which, coincidentally was closed for maintenance during our construction near the greens thus far. This bode well for us and the Course as we were able to work synergistically. We broke ground off Lakeway Drive in late May 2019 near hole 1. Now, nearly 5 months later, we have laid approx. 10,000 feet of pipe between holes 1 through 9, working along property lines in the City easement area and on the Course’s property with granted permission. Our team took special care to avoid existing utilities as well as damage to trees. Customers have been notified by phone and e-mail about work taking place near their property lines.
A few weeks ago, two of our board members, Jerry Hietpas, Vice President, and Lawrence Christian, Treasurer, took a golf cart around the construction site to assess our work. “I would like to go on record as saying that I was very impressed with the way our team has been working,” Christian said at the September 11 board meeting. “There have been many improvements since we started and luckily we’ve been able to do it without the golfers being around,” Hietpas added. This is a testament to the skilled leadership of Field Team Supervisor, Tommy Farrell, an LMUD employee since 1988 who has been training a green crew of six young men in the skilled trade of pipeline construction. “We’ve had some setbacks throughout the learning process, but overall I have been very pleased with the way these guys have taken direction. It’s been hard work, especially during the hot summer days, but the team pushed through and learned from their mistakes,” Farrell said. See initial breaking ground article for details on the construction process.
The Course had a soft reopening in early September, but ClubCorp, the owners of the property, are planning a grand re-opening for late October. “We wanted to get through hole 8 before the Course opened,” said Earl Foster, LMUD’s general manger at the September 11 board meeting. We are currently working on Porpoise, where lines will be run behind the backyards of these properties on the golf course side. Pending this completion, we will have met this goal, bringing the project up to a 50 percent completion for the Phase 1 mainline (see project map for Phase 1 and Phase 2 locations). After the mainline for Porpoise is complete, the crew will be headed down Lakeway Drive, then across at Zephyr Street between holes 16 and 17.
“We’ll soon be fighting the upcoming holidays to stay on schedule,” Foster said at the October 9 board meeting. “We originally set the deadline for October to go out for bid for the construction on our lift station and force main, but that has been pushed back to November due to some issues we were having with our headworks at the wastewater treatment plant,” Foster continued. To accommodate the additional capacity needed to connect the homes in Phase 1 and 2, our wastewater treatment plant also needs to undergo some modifications. This “headworks” is the preliminary filtration at the wastewater treatment plant that filters out the insolubles (such as “FOG” and flushable wipes – see our published article “Watch What you Flush”) before the remaining filtration takes place, treating the water, which we supply for irrigation purposes as part of our reuse water service offering.
The crew is running a reuse line for Phase 1 at the same time as they install the wastewater line. Connections to the public wastewater system for Phase 1 homeowners is still expected to begin in May/June 2020. Reuse connections will begin once all of the property owners in Phase 1 opting in to connect have been connected. This will also mark the start of connecting Phase 2 properties, which is expected to begin in the summer of 2021. All preliminary opt-ins for Phase 1 and 2 are expected to be connected by 2026; the option to connect to the public sewer system will always remain open to current and future homeowners. See ODWW Project Rates and Fees for details.
Customers in Phase 1 can expect to start receiving phone calls in November to sign a contract for opting in or out of connecting to the public sewer system. To learn more about the project, see the ODWW Project Timeline.