Behind the Scenes of Leonard Water Treatment Plant: With Aliza Caraballo

When the Leonard Water Treatment Plant first delivers water, Aliza Caraballo will raise a glass to the team that devoted years of hard work to this project. Caraballo, a North Texas Municipal District (NTMWD) engineer, is project manager for the construction of the Bois d’Arc Lake project. Over the past five years, she has worked on all project components, with the water treatment plant as her major focus and passion.

Creative Construction

A big part of Caraballo’s role centered around the plant’s detailed design and construction. Building a treatment plant from the ground up provided opportunities to customize it for top performance. At the same time, it posed a unique set of challenges.

Since the plant was built in an undeveloped area in Fannin County, there were no existing water or electric utilities available as construction teams built and tested different components. NTMWD’s Engineering and Operations staff and the contractors brainstormed different approaches to work around the site’s limitations, down to “drilling and permitting wells to make our own water.” By working creatively and closely with regulators throughout the process, they were able to build the plant in a way that meets both its own needs and offers an infrastructure and electrical backbone for the entire county.

Key Takeaways

The project “has been a great experience, not just because it is a landmark project, but because it has opened doors to many things we’ve never done before,” Caraballo explained. “The opportunity to collaborate with so many different teams and contractors has been my biggest takeaway.”

She has also “discovered how important it is to prioritize what needs to be done each day,” as well as the importance of delegation and leaning on the expertise of others. “I have learned so much from the skills and knowledge of others—the fish stocking and mitigation aspects of the project were new to me and absolutely fascinating.”

Moving toward water delivery, team members are now being trained to operate the plant. Caraballo looks forward to seeing the plant in action, knowing it will provide critical water for the region.

“This new plant will help us meet water needs of the quickly growing communities we serve,” Caraballo explained. For someone who has “always wanted to build a new plant from scratch,” she said, this “was the career opportunity of a lifetime.”

SOURCE: North Texas Municipal Water District

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