Plant Superintendent Hector Salinas said the existing wall was made of cinder blocks but the ground under the wall has settled and shifted, causing the wall to crack in places.
Board President Jim Crumrine expressed concern when he heard that the wall had cracked. Crumrine said he is aware of what caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) can do when it is not contained.
The material is quite corrosive when mixed with water and can dissolve organic matter and even some metals.
Civil Engineer Stephen Grunewald of Urban Engineering said he was putting together an estimate for building a new wall at the facility. He said the cost would run between $10,000 and $15,000.
“If it costs less than $20,000, make it happen,” Crumrine told Salinas and Grunewald. “If it’s more, let us know.”
Caustic soda is commonly used in the treatment of drinking water to adjust the pH (soften) of the water.
On another matter, Crumrine was against a proposal to spend about $6,000 to service an old pump motor.
Salinas said the 150-horsepower electric motor has been used to operate one of the pumps at the BWSD’s raw water intake structure at Swinney Switch.
Salinas said the motor could be stored and then used as needed at the pump station.
“I think it’d be a good idea to have one extra,” Grunewald said.
Crumrine disagreed, saying, “We don’t need one and a motor sitting is not a good thing.”
He said that if a replacement motor would not be difficult to obtain, it would be better to buy a new one at a cost of about $13,000 than to depend on a serviced motor that had been sitting in storage for a long time.
In other business, the board voted to:
— Accept a report from the accounting firm of Collier, Johnson and Woods and pay the company its $8,000 fee.
— Pay a $5,925 bill from Urban Engineering for work conducted on a plant inspection at the Morrill facility.
— Pay Payton Construction $90.585 for work that company has completed on rehabilitating filtering media at the Morrill plant.
— Approve a $190,000 Payton change order that was necessary for the replacement of some valves and other equipment at the treatment plant.
— Accept an $11,400 bid for pump motor repairs for a horizontal pump at the district’s Clareville pump station between Beeville and Swinney Switch.
— Authorize the voluntary annexation of some motel property into the district that had earlier been annexed by the city.
— Appoint Bee County Tax Assessor-Collector Linda Bridge to calculate the effective tax rate and rollback rate for the district’s ad valorem taxes.
Interim City Manager Deborah Ballí told board members that she had been contacted by Joe B. Montez, executive director of the Bee Development Authority, and told that the authority has two wells at the Chase Field Industrial and Airport Complex that would be used to supplement the city’s water supplies.
Ballí said HDR Engineering was studying the prospect of using those wells. A pipeline was built to the former naval air station not long after the Texas Department of Criminal Justice took ownership of part of the former base to pump city water to the property.
But the state opted to use existing wells at Chase and not take advantage of the city’s water supply.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.