Stormwater drainage is usually a hot topic among West Texas residents and specifically in Lubbock, Texas. Urban growth in the city of Lubbock and the steady increase of an elevated water table lengthened the period of time for urban lake levels to recede after receiving runoff.

The lakes naturally drain by lake-bottom seepage and evaporation or will overflow from one to the other, gradually transferring water overland along their natural drainage pattern. These shallow lakes become the receptors of urban precipitation runoff as communities develop. An increased frequency of flooding near lake boundaries and in lake overflow regions has been seen over the last 20 years with less lake storage available for holding runoff within a reasonable time frame. This significantly affected residential and commercial areas across the city. Man-made improvements have been the only way to significantly help aid the reduction of water levels in lakes.

PSC, in association with Hugo Reed and Associates Inc., recommended a subsurface pipeline drainage system as the best option after a feasibility study was completed that included public involvement from neighborhood associations. The design team reviewed city maps and analyzed 33 alternatives and alignments to develop a practical route with the least existing utility conflicts for a gravity pipeline storm drainage relief system.

The 11 lakes drain 19.5 square miles and are now connected by subsurface pipelines that discharge floodwater into the Brazos River. The project spans the entire east-west limits of Lubbock and is in an entirely urban-developed area. It involved very deep installation depths, 13.6 miles of pipe, and reaches the Brazos River through a 5-mile long segment of 72-inch pipe.

The project required the use of extensive computer simulation, aerial photography, digital terrain model development, surveying, geotechnical investigation, ground-penetrating radar survey, tomography, and the development of extensive plans and specifications.