Galveston Breaks Ground On New Water Treatment Facility

Four years ago, Hurricane Ike caused devastation in the Galveston area. It was the damage to the waste water treatment plant, however, that ultimately caused the mayor to close the island. Now, a new hurricane-proof facility is being built.

Mayor Joe Jaworkski and other city leaders took part in a small ceremony with big implications.

After Hurricane Ike, it wasn’t high water or damaged buildings that prevented people from coming back to the island right away, it was the inability to do something as simple as flush a toilet.

With a price tag of $80 million, it’s taken awhile, but Galveston now has the funding it needs to build a better waste water treatment plant, one that by federal law, must be able to withstand a hurricane.

City manager Michael Kovacs says the new plant is being built at the same spot as the old one.

"It’s got to be built in phases and it’s got to run while its being built. So as it's being built, it’ll continue to function, and when it’s done, it’ll be this unbelievable waste water treatment plant."

Designers of the new plant are proud of their work. They couldn’t just build the plant on higher ground, because the entire Galveston Island is basically a flood plain, so they had to get pretty creative.

Kovacs knows a state of the art sewage treatment plant isn’t something most Galveston residents are going to think about.

"It’s maybe not as cool as a new street, or tree on the street, but it’s definitely an important part of the basics that cities do."

The project is expected to be completed in three years.