14 december 2016 
PVC pipe to be changed because of permanent failures

One lane of Grogan's Mill Road will be closed for months starting Jan. 3 as crews repair a busted water pipeline underneath the road at the intersection with Woodlands Parkway.

The San Jacinto River Authority, which owns the pipeline that burst in May and again in November, will have the outside southbound lane of Grogans Mill Road near Woodlands Parkway closed through late April as existing damaged PVC pipe is replaced with steel or ductile iron pipe. SJRA is moving forward with the repairs as an investigation continues into what caused the pipe to burst in the first place.

While the pipe could be repaired by the end of March, replacing the road could take another month, according to SJRA Public Relations Manager Ronda Trow. The project is slated to cost a little more than $1 million, which is being incurred by the river authority.

The 30-inch pipe burst in May, was repaired and put back into service. When the pipe burst again in November, SJRA put it out of commission until more permanent repairs could be made.

Houston-based Sterling Construction Co. Inc. initially installed the entire 57 miles of pipeline from Lake Conroe to various parts of the county. The company also repaired the pipe when it burst in May. Mitchell & Huss Excavation Inc., which is based in Goerge, Iowa, will be installing the replacement pipes on Grogan's Mill Road, Trow said.

"If we do find that the (original) contractor is at fault … our litigation team will be working with that contractor for us to recoup that money," Trow said.

Although the pipe burst twice in the same spot, Trow said SJRA is confident in the integrity of the rest of the pipeline.

"We feel like it is a very isolated area of concern," Trow said. "We're replacing that whole area (on Grogan's Mill Road near Woodlands Parkway), because we don't want to have to go back in there."

Although the decommissioned pipe brought surface water from Lake Conroe to help SJRA comply with the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District's 30 percent conversion rules, Trow said SJRA believes it will still meet that rule.

Not only does the river authority have early conversion credits to use to meet the LSGCD regulations, Trow said the summer months helped bolster their numbers in meeting the regulations. The SJRA pumps a higher percentage of surface water into its mixture during those months.

"Irrigation is where people mostly use their water," Trow said. "Due to the amount of water that was used by the residents, we may not even have to use the early conversion credits."




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