As the primary drinking water source within the San Antonio Water System (SAWS), the sanitary systems within the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone (EARZ) must be inspected on a five-year cycle. Inspection is necessary to meet the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) requirements to ensure water quality.
Throughout 2019 and 2020, SAWS approached B&N to conduct mandated smoke testing of sewer laterals over the EARZ to identify potential sewer leaks that could affect drinking water quality following their Consent Decree. As a two-phase project, B&N had less than six months to complete each inspection phase required by the cycle schedule.
B&N worked with SAWS to inspect over 2.8 million linear feet (LF) of sewer mains throughout the project phases. During the first phase, roughly 900 defects were identified. To complete the second phase, B&N field teams maintained inspection schedules during the COVID-19 pandemic and identified approximately 500 additional defects. By leveraging Zoom, social distancing and other techniques, SAWS and the B&N team successfully and safely conduct inspection. This required complex communication channels between multiple entities such as the:
- Fire department
- Police department
- Relevant City of San Antonio personnel
The project location within the EARZ posed challenges as it is critical to identify all places where wastewater could escape the system. Delivering high-quality work was a top priority due to the criticality of the area. This necessity of quality, paired with the massive amount of data, posed a daunting task.
Water Quality for Years to Come
Through the collaborative efforts across B&N offices in Texas and Ohio, and with support from a Texas-based subconsultant, the inspections and data delivery were successfully completed within the tight schedule. As B&N conducted inspections and identified defects in the sanitary systems, SAWS has been able to repair defects concurrently and will continue repairs until all identified defects are properly rehabilitated, ensuring water quality in the area for years to come.