Crews will begin replacing and upgrading aging and undersized infrastructure this month, with a projected completion date in approximately 12-months.
In October 2020, New Braunfels Utilities (NBU) began major construction work on the North Kuehler Interceptor Upgrade Project and anticipates completion in October 2021.
The project entails three significant North Kuehler sewer line interceptor upgrade projects that will be in progress simultaneously: the North Kuehler 30-inch and 33-inch Interceptor, which was broken up into two phases, and the North Kuehler 42-inch Interceptor. An interceptor is a major sewer line that receives flows from trunk mains and directs them to a water reclamation facility. Interceptors are the interstate highways of the sewer system. These projects will replace interceptors that have become damaged due to aging and will add transmission capacity to maintain compliance with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
The existing North Kuehler wastewater system is over capacity and may overflow during peak wet weather events. Essentially, this means sewage may overflow into our rivers. Replacing existing lines is necessary to alleviate the current conditions and provide a more stable system to support future growth. Without these improvements, future development would not be possible and current overflow problems would remain and continue to impact the Dry Comal Creek, our rivers, and surrounding neighborhoods.
The North Kuehler 42-inch Interceptor Upgrade Project will replace existing 27-inch and 30-inch interceptors in the NBU’s North Kuehler Wastewater Treatment Plant drainage basin with a 42‐inch interceptor. The interceptor replacement includes approximately 8,000 linear feet (LF) of sanitary sewer main to include one section utilizing micro-tunneling, a safe tunneling process which greatly minimizes surface disruption and does not require technicians to work inside tunnels; and four “jack and bore” installations, a process where short segments of pipe are mechanically driven through stable ground without the need for digging an open trench under Texas Department of Transportation’s right-of-way, Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way, and a low bridge crossing. The project will also include approximately 1,000 LF of 8-inch water main within the Rio Drive and Santiago Street area in order to provide adequate clearance for the new interceptor and to comply with TCEQ criteria.
The North Kuehler 30-inch and 33-inch interceptor projects include approximately 14,000 LF of sanitary sewer mains to include two aerial crossings, instances in which pipes are either attached to bridges or suspended on pylons, two Union Pacific Railroad crossings utilizing micro-tunneling, a safe tunneling process which greatly minimizes surface disruption and does not require technicians to work inside tunnels; and one “jack and bore” installation, a process where short segments of pipe are mechanically driven through stable ground without the need for digging an open trench under Texas Department of Transportation’s right-of-way.
The North Kuehler Interceptor Upgrade Projects are part of NBU’s top five financial investments for fiscal years 2021 through 2025. New Braunfels Utilities has budgeted $31.6 million to upgrade the existing wastewater infrastructure to ensure regulatory compliance and deliver on our mission to provide essential services to our community and to protect the environment and public health.