Winter may be setting in, but things are heating up for Western Summit in Texas. On October 25, WSCI received Notice to Proceed on a new 20 MGD, $89 million water treatment plant for the City of Laredo.
The plant will include a raw water intake structure with forebays, sediment and flocculation basins, a series of filters, and finally, an area for chemical treatment that will be the final stop before the water is used by consumers.
The pace of construction is expected to be aggressive to achieve substantial completion in November of 2013 and final completion in April 9, 2014. That is only 510 working days, start to finish!
Adding to that pressure, the young Texas office didn’t yet have an established field crew. Says Project Manager Eric Ness, “Everyone that is working on the project relocated here. People moved from Denver, Atlanta, Santa Fe, and Dallas. It’s been a major effort, but we’re really working on getting ourselves established as a major player all over Texas, and this is our first major job. It’s a monumental opportunity to represent WSCI and pioneer in this Area.”
Since everyone on the team is new to Laredo (and most of them are new to Texas), a crew orientation was in order. “Last week, we took three full days with the full team in the Dallas-Fort Worth office and did an orientation,” says Ness. “It was everyone’s first opportunity to meet in person, so it was a social opportunity, too. We had dinner and get to know each other.”
In a similar vein, to help all the subcontractors get on the same page with WSCI, Ness instituted a Subcontractor Readiness Program. “It takes a lot of things we did already and brings them to the fore so that there are no surprises. We’re talking about quality, safety, environmental concerns, and contractual concerns. It’s about sharing our goals for the project and getting buy-in from the entire team.”
Ness and his crew anticipate a few challenges from the site itself. Once part of a ranch, the site is a densely wooded area immediately next to the Rio Grande - with no existing road access. “We’ll have to build a road in for one-and-a-half miles, and put in utilities. It’s truly a project we’re building from the ground up.” In addition, the land is an archeological site with remains of a historic ranch house. WSCI is taking precautions to work entirely around the structure, so that no damage will occur.
Ness reiterates how much WSCI appreciates the can-do attitude of the El Pico team.” All of them – and we have four new hires, too, college graduates who’d interned with us – they’re uprooting, leaving behind everything they know to join a whole new team and make this happen. We have huge appreciation for what they’re doing.”