After three (3) separate flooding events over three (3) years, the City of Liberty, Texas (60 miles northeast of Houston) applied for FEMA funding to make their wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) more resilient. The process through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), included submitting the application with all requested backup, working with Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM), completing a Benefits-Cost Analysis (BCA), and preliminary design and environmental assessment including wetland delineation. The application process and timeline for funding, design, and construction will be shared. This disaster related case-study presentation will also provide an overview of the proposed flood mitigation improvements and lessons learned throughout the project (design through construction phase). The improvements provided increased flood protection and resiliency for the WWTP by installing new, higher earthen levees and providing a floodwall and floodgate where space was limited. Space limitations were due to adjacent wetlands. A combination of steel and concrete T-wall were utilized to keep construction cost relatively lower while still meeting the constraints of the site space. This was one of the first projects awarded, designed, and constructed successfully under Hurricane Harvey disaster declaration during the pandemic.
Professor, Director of Large Scale Testing Laboratory
University of Texas at San Antonio