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“A proactive way to guide the city as it develops,”
Pearsall councilors will soon begin talks on exploring options for financing and upgrading antiquated water and wastewater infrastructure throughout the city.
Councilors reviewed the preliminary findings from CDM Smith, the engineering firm hired last year, during a meeting on Tuesday, August 10.
In May, representatives from the engineering firm visited the city’s four water plants and the wastewater facility to assess the current condition of the infrastructure.
“We submitted our findings back in May,” a representative from the firm said. “Now you need to prioritize projects for the next couple of years.”
The engineering team looked at the four water well sites, the storage tanks and noted that all four of the facilities’ gas chlorine systems needed repairs.
It was recommended that the city implement a ventilation system at the gas chlorine sites for the safety of city workers. Gas chlorination systems are used to provide water disinfection in facilities where water consumption is high.
“The gas chlorine disinfection systems are not ventilated right,” the engineer said. “Some sites have small working spaces.”
The initial assessment highlighted a number of pump values on the water storage tanks that require repair. However, according to the representatives, several of the values could be rehabilitated which would impose a lesser cost to the city.
“A couple of well sites are getting a lot of sand in them,” the engineer said. “We need to be checking the casings to see if they are in of need repairs. We also are recommending an alarm system so if a pump is down it can send an alert to the office or the employee.”
The engineers recommended that councilors should invest in a water model, as it would provide the city with a ‘backbone’ to plan and regulate water management to achieve future economic, social and environmental objectives.
The water model would show existing water lines throughout the city and provide a starting point for future projects; show how the infrastructure connects; and the demands placed on the water system during peak times.
A water model could predict various scenarios such as how the system is affected when a water plant is down.
“We then could look at how you should grow and extend the system,” the representative said. “It is to make sure you are accommodating appropriately. It is a proactive way to guide the city as it develops.”
The engineer referenced the city’s recent annexation of property along Business Loop 35 on the north side of town and the replacement of antiquated infrastructure along Colorado Street.
“This water model would tell us if this is possible,” the engineer said.
Reminding councilors of the recent relief funding from the federal government, the engineers emphasized the importance of investing in the city’s water and wastewater system citing the recent stimulus funding could alleviate financial burden on the taxpayers.