Extension sought in completion of Port Arthur’s major drainage plan

Published 12:18 am Friday, December 22, 2023

A civil engineering firm tasked with the creation of an citywide master drainage plan is hoping to get another extension to fully complete the document.

The Port Arthur City Council tabled the request this week from Arceneaux, Wilson & Cole LLC and will revisit the issue at the Jan. 8 meeting.

The extensive document, which includes a drainage criteria manual, drainage system inventory database and engineered drainage system analysis was to have been completed and presented to city leaders Dec. 17.

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City Manager Ron Burton said he is optimistic council will allow Arceneaux, Wilson & Cole the time needed in order to complete the document.

Burton sad it is important the city have the document so officials can continually plan for the next 10 years of drainage needs.

A civil engineering firm is working on a Master Drainage Plan that includes extensive data on the city’s drainage system. (Mary Meaux/The News)

Burton believes council recognizes the importance of the master drainage plan and is frustrated the completion has been drawn out for two years.

“The plan is very technologically in-depth in terms of using GIS, Geographical Information System, to identify and do a condition analysis of every drainage asset in the city,” Burton said.

The city entered into the contract in August 2021 with a completion date in August 2022, and the firm was granted extensions to have the work completed, Councilman Harold Doucet noted.

Doucet said the firm’s work is great but the issue is the delay in getting the information in a timely manner.

Burton said the project began in the middle of the pandemic, which caused a significant delay and secondly, a project of this nature has never been undertaken in the city before, all of which requires manual research.

In addition, there were a significant percentage of the manholes never been recorded on the existing documentation.

An extension in the completion of the master drainage plan will allow Arceneaux, Wilson & Cole and city staff time to prioritize the drainage needs, Burton said.

The firm also plans to have a joint meeting with Drainage District No. 7.

The plan, so far

The Master Drainage Plan is extensive as shown by Marco Ochoa.

The city has 11,306 structures that incudes inlets, manholes grates, etc.

A code was assigned to each structure:

Code 1 (clean) – 3,966

Code 2 (needs to be cleaned) — 5,308

Code 3 (needs to be repaired) — 1,307

Code 4 (needs to be replaced)— 397

Code 5 (inaccessible for inspection) — 328

The plan shows the city has 193 miles of pipes, with 37 miles deemed undersized (under 18 inches in diameter).

Ochoa said the system inventory database contains sizing, details and specifications and has an electronic, living database maintainable by city staff that can be shared and accessed between departments to better coordinate growth and maintenance.