An expensive gamble
by Chip Latcham
Mar 22, 2013 | 2704 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After reading recent position statements from the city manager, water supply district board president and Bee Development Authority director, it seems our community’s leaders are not on the same page about resolving our vexing water problem.

We still have major reservations about the city’s proposed $15.3 million bond issue to drill a deep well into the Jasper aquifer.

First, it bothers us that the water board directors were not consulted by the council members and city staff in making this huge decision involving, of all things, water.

Second, the enormous cost could prevent Beeville from funding future repairs to the George P. Morrill I Water Treatment Plant at Swinney Switch or improvements to the city’s water distribution system.

We need at least a two-pronged approach and never again should rely on just one source, either ground wells or lake water.

Third, although the city’s recently hired engineer said the Jasper aquifer could produce 2 million to 3.5 million gallons of water a day, others have doubts and, besides, that option alone would still not meet Beeville’s current or future needs. At best, it would be a supplement. Also, there could be costly consequences.

That water would have to be pumped through a reverse osmosis filtering device to reduce the 1,500 parts per million of suspended solids to make the water acceptable under the standards set by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Then the city would have to find a way to dispose of the effluent, or briny water – either by pumping it down a deep injection well, trucking it to a disposal site, selling it to oil companies for fracking purposes or dumping it down Poesta Creek from the wastewater treatment plant – probably not an appealing option for property owners on ranches along State Highway 202.

Perhaps, the city manager is correct in saying the BDA’s Chase Field well is not the answer. She says it doesn’t produce enough water to meet the city’s needs and more wells would need to be drilled in different parts of the Goliad aquifer. However, the Goliad sands produce better quality water and are not as deep; therefore, not as expensive to drill wells or to purchase water from landowners, several experts claim.

The city would be wise to postpone holding this election in May. Why can’t the City Council, BDA and water board get together and resolve this matter? Perhaps a compromise could be reached for the good of the entire community.

We encourage citizens with concerns or questions to attend the first of a series of town hall meetings on the project scheduled for Thursday, March 28, at 6 p.m. at the Community Center.

After all, this is Beeville’s future we’re considering.
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