Cleburne Water Treatment Plant Operator Kevin Davis runs one of several water quality tests performed daily. Plant workers joined city and construction officials on Wednesday.

Cleburne city, water department and construction and planning officials gathered Wednesday afternoon at the Cleburne Water Treatment Plant to celebrate recently completed renovation and expansion work.

The $8 million project increased the plant’s output capacity by five million gallons per day, an output jump from 15 to 20 MGD. 

The expansion, which lasted about 20 months, is one of several projects planned in the coming years, all the result of  a master plan study conducted several years ago to determine Cleburne’s water needs going forward for the next 50 years.

Mayor Scott Cain recalled visiting the plant some 35 years ago when his grandfather, Butch Bowles, worked there and said he’s thrilled to see the progress resulting from the expansion.

“This is another great day in Cleburne,” Cain said. “And it’s because of the vision of previous administrations and councils to address the water needs for the growth that’s coming to Cleburne.”

The project, Assistant City Manager David Esquivel said, entailed adding “another train of treatment” to the plant to expand capacity by 5 MGD.

“Construction along the way called for some major plant shutdowns,” Esquivel said. “But we were able to get the work necessary done within the windows of time we had and not a single day of service was lost to the citizens.”

Esquivel said the original project came in under budget, allowing for additional renovations at the plant. Those extras include installing aluminum domes over the plant’s clear wells, rehabbing a flocculation basin and installing a 20-inch transmission line.

“These are projects that needed to be addressed and that we would have had to get the money elsewhere or issue bonds for otherwise,” Esquivel said.

Esquivel reiterated that the expansion provides a building block in a series of projects planned in the coming decades to meet the city’s water demand and, like Cain, credited the forethought of past city leaders in looking to the future.

“The life blood of a city is its water,” Esquivel said. “Without water, we won’t have growth.”


Retirees honored

Cain and Esquivel honored two long-time Freese & Nichols Engineering employees who recently retired. Principal In Charge Engineer Mike Morrison and Senior Project Manager Sam Naumann both spent more than 20 years with the Fort Worth-based company. Both worked on the water plant expansion as well as numerous city projects through the years.


Disaster averted

Esquivel took a moment to commend Cleburne Public Works Operation Manager Alan Fourmentin and Water Maintenance Supervisor Phillip Viligran.

“A routine check that uncovered something serious, which could have been a disaster was curtailed and prevented by these two gentlemen,” Esquivel said.

The routine check Esquivel referred to involved a leak discovered in the 30-inch intake line running through a concrete sleeve through the Lake Pat Cleburne dam early this year. Further investigation showed the pipe, which Esquivel estimates dates back to 1963, to be in need of immediate repairs, which have since completed.

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