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Council scraps RO plant
by Gary Kent
Jun 18, 2014 | 166 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILE – City Council members officially ended any plans to continue with the construction of a reverse osmosis system for treating well water during last week’s meeting.

City Manager Jack Hamlett said he needed direction on whether to scrap a pending permit application filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for a permit to discharge brine from an RO plant into the Poesta Creek.

The permit application had been filed last year by Bill Norris and Jesús Leal of NorrisLeal Engineering in Austin when that firm was recommending the construction of an RO plant to remove chlorides and solids from water pumped from a deep aquifer to supplement the city’s surface water system.

Some of the 15 members of a City Council Citizens Committee appointed to study alternatives Beeville’s surface water supply from the Nueces River at Swinney Switch favored the RO plant and deep well system while others did not.

Mayor David Carabajal called for fellow City Council members to appoint a committee after then-City Manager Deborah Ballí quoted Corpus Christi water experts who said Beeville could be out of water in two years if an extended drought continued.

Council members allowed city residents to vote for or against a $15.3 million bond issue that would have paid for the development of an RO plant and the drilling of a deep well inside the city limits.

But voters rejected the bond sale after critics of the project predicted substantial increases in water rates.

The committee made some recommendations after weeks of study, but the council never officially acted on them.

Since then, Interim City Manager Marvin Townsend has recommended that the city use several water wells from a shallower aquifer from which better quality water can be pumped.

Townsend has since been appointed to recommend the best possible recourses for creating an supplemental water supply.

Hamlett said TCEQ officials had asked that the city decide if it wanted to continue with the application for a discharge permit or if it wanted to withdraw the application.

Councilwoman Yvonne Dunn made a motion to withdraw the application and Mayor Pro Tem Libby Spires seconded the motion.

It passed without opposition.

In other business, the council:

— Approved a final plat for the Maryville Estates Subdivision.

— Accepted a presentation from Manuel Segovia for a $40,000 grant from the city’s hotel and motel occupancy tax fund to help pay the costs of entertainment for the 30th annual Diez y Seis de Septiembre Fiesta.

The council will make a final decision on whether to grant the request at a later meeting. Council members have traditionally approved such requests.

This year, the event will be held Sept. 11-14 at the Bee County Expo Center.

— Heard a request from Hamlett for the council to come up with guidelines for establishing a policy for water and sewer service to areas outside the city limits.

— Approved payment totaling $28,061.60 to James Pawlik Water Well Service and AEP Texas Central Company for work done on the irrigation well drilled at Veterans Memorial Park.

— Authorized the payment of $2,573 from the city’s Hotel and Motel Occupancy Tax fund to the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association for an annual membership fee.

— Authorized the sale of three lots in the Alberta Addition to collect back taxes on the property.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
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