Projects Underway to Supply Water to TPCO Pipe Plant
March 8, 2015

Two construction projects are underway that will provide up to 2 million gallons a day of treated water to the TPCO America mini mill and pipe manufacturing plant being built east of Gregory in San Patricio County.

Work is moving toward completion on a new 36-inch PVC pipeline on the Port of Corpus Christi Authority’s La Quinta property.  The new 8,900 foot long pipeline will carry untreated “raw” water and connect two existing San Patricio Municipal Water District pipelines. 

The connection will substantially increase the delivery efficiency of the raw water supplies coming to the Water District treatment complex from the Nueces River and the Mary Rhodes Pipeline. 

The new La Quinta water line connects on the north to the 42-inch Gene Dressen pipeline that carries water east from a connection with the Mary Rhodes Pipeline which delivers water from Lake Texana to the Coastal Bend.  On the south the new line will connect to the District’s 50-year-old 36-inch line which delivers Nueces River.

As with all pipeline projects in recent years the new 36-inch line includes installation of fiber optic communications cable alongside the transmission line.

The new 36-inch line is being constructed by Jhabores Construction Co. under a $2.5 million contract awarded in October 2014. The port authority granted an easement for the pipeline in June 2014.

The second TPCO-related project will expand the production capacity of the District’s Plant C, an advanced membrane microfiltration facility that produces drinking water and made-to-order industrial water streams.  CSA Construction, Inc. was the low bidder at $3.67 million and has been working on the project since January.

This work will include adding two sedimentation basins to the four that currently feed Plant C and are a limiting factor in plant throughput.  One of the basins is needed to serve TPCO needs and the second is needed to meet the needs of existing District customers. 

Work will include installing an additional membrane rack in Plant C to help deliver the 2 million gallons a day contracted by TPCO.  Plant C currently has a capacity of 16 million gallons per day.  It was designed so that it can be incrementally expanded up to a maximum of more than 40 million gallons per day by adding filtration modules and other equipment. 

TPCO is paying $5.58 million of the total cost of the two projects and the Water District will provide $586,000 to pay a portion of the cost of the sedimentation basins.

Construction has been in full swing in recent months on the TPCO plant that will manufacture seamless steel pipe in sizes ranging from 4 inches to 10.75 inches.  TPCO America is part of Tianjin Pipe (Group) Corp. which for two decades has been a major supplier of pipe for the oil and natural gas industry worldwide.  Production from the plant is expected to be sold into U.S. and global markets with export shipments moving through the Port of Corpus Christi.

The first phase of the TPCO plant was completed in early 2014.  TPCO is now developing the second phase of the $1 billion project that will have a total of 1.6 million square feet of production and support facilities under roof.  Yates Construction is leading the construction effort and the 253-acre site is busy with hundreds of construction workers.   

The mini mill will include an electric arc furnace that will convert recycled scrap steel and iron into steel suitable for pipe manufacturing.

Permitting for the TPCO plant began in 2008 and the company entered into a water reservation contract with the Water District in 2011.  TPCO anticipates that the plant will be in operation in 2016 with an initial workforce of approximately 350.