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Pearsall city councilors learned last week that a long-awaited water model study has been completed.
The study will be used to develop recommendations for six capital improvement plans. The analysis was based on current and projected water demands, customer service guidelines and the IH-35 water line extension project.
CDM Smith Engineering Project Manager Wendy Lundeen presented councilors with a water model Tuesday, June 30.
Lundeen said the firm compiled GIS data to establish a true and current pipe network; used billing data to establish average and daily water demands; performed and analyzed eight hydrant flow tests; and included future development areas and the demands those areas would put on the water system.
According to the study, the city currently has 141 fire hydrants, but meeting anticipated needs will require installation of at least 12 more. The average daily demand of water is 1.13 million gallons per day; the maximum daily demand, usual in summer months, is 2.86 million gallons per day.
The city can store 3.15 million gallons of water in its six ground storage tanks and two elevated tanks.
Under the current conditions, citizens who live near Nolan and Vaughn Roads and on the eastern side of town experience low water pressure, under the required 35 pounds per square inch.
The information was confirmed by Public Works Director Hector Gandara, who said the water line is reduced to a two-inch line at the old Little League field on Colorado Street.
“This is a problem area,” Gandara said referring to the on-going low water pressure issues on the east side of town. “The population sign ends about three hundred feet from the baseball field and services do continue past that.”
Lundeen said the fire flow availability is concerning, especially during peak demand time for the west side of town, which includes the medical and detention facilities. The project manager recommended adding pipes for loops of redundancy to improve the fire flow.
Currently, the time the water sits in storage tanks does not pose a problem, as the water sits no longer than 70 hours in any tank, she said. The target timeframe is 160 hours.
With proposed development inside city limits, the city administration has proposed construction of a half-million gallon elevated storage tank with an 800-gallon well that would be constructed near the South Texas Detention Facility along Veterans Drive.
“This new tank and well would help with the fire flow, especially during max day demands,” the project manager said. “It could go anywhere on the loop [Veterans Drive] and would have the same impact.”
Lundeen said upsizing existing pipe would provide a significant increase to the system, namely replacing the water line along Colorado Street from Trevino to Cherry streets, from ten-inch lines to 12-inch lines.
The model recommended extending the infrastructure along the IH-35 business loop; installing a six-inch connection between Mesquite and Roosevelt streets; opening the six-inch line from John Deere to FM 1581; installing a six-inch line near Loma Linda Road; installing a six-inch pipe to connect to the fire hydrant on Roosevelt; and installing either a six- or eight-inch water line to serve a proposed housing development at the end of Athol Lane.
The project manager said the improvements would reflect a positive impact on the water system.
“The issues at Vaughn and Nolan and on the east side of town would go away,” Lundeen said. “There would not be any area in town under the 35 psi. It would improve the city as a whole.”
Councilor Davina Rodriguez thanked the engineering firm for its work on the water model study, noting it was something she had been advocating for some time.
“Hats off to the previous council that put this in place,” Mayor Ben Briscoe said. “This will advance us down the road. We are required to put water lines down Business Loop 35 [because of the recent annexation]. The timing was good with the grant monies we have received.”
Brisoce said the city may not be able to complete all the recommended projects but that he believes “something needs to be done.”