Studies indicate that the most cost effective method for surface water conversion is for each city to own and operate its own surface water treatment plant. Sugar Land’s Groundwater Reduction Plan is to achieve a 30 percent conversion rate in 2013 and 60 percent rate by 2025. After ten years of planning for the city’s largest and most complicated capital improvement, the Sugar Land Surface Water Treatment Plant broke ground. By switching from underground aquifers to surface water conversion, the city will be able to better address the broader water supply issue created by population growth, demographic changes, and increasing regulatory mandates. Sugar Land’s water treatment plant will use raw water from Oyster Creek to produce nine million gallons of drinking water per day.
Camarata Masonry Systems, LTD (CMS) supplied and installed approximately 80,000 grey CMU with integral water repellant on ten separate buildings. Most units were heavily reinforced and the total consisted of over 60,500 12”x8”x16” CMU, 6,500 12” x4”x16” CMU, 8,000 8”x8”x16” CMU, 1,400 4”x8”x16” CMU and 1,400 8”x8”x16” split faced CMU. The project was difficult since many of the buildings contained equipment and tanks that were installed prior to and directly adjacent to the CMU installation. Also, the number and spacing of the buildings created a logistics challenge. However, the main challenge on the project proved to be its most interesting architectural feature. It was the Architect’s intent that the exterior CMU be divided into sections roughly 5’ tall by 10’ long and made to look like precast concrete panels. This was achieved by using a stacked bond with raked joints on the “panel’s” perimeter and flushed joints on everything else. In this way, a relatively inexpensive single wythe heavily reinforced CMU wall capable of withstanding hurricane wind loads could be used as a decorative element. The CMU needed to be installed with a high degree of accuracy since any surface misalignment from unit to unit would immediately be seen and would ruin the illusion of large “panels”. Considerable effort was expended in “flushing out” the interior CMU bed and head joints so they practically disappeared when painted. In addition, the raked joints were designed to align with several other building elements.