Council OK’s emergency well repairs
If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
CORRECTING PAST FAILURES PEARSALL WATER SERVICE AT RISK WHILE PUMPS INOPERABLE
With the second anniversary of Winter Storm Uri fast approaching, Pearsall city councilors have begun pressing for progress on water wells and pumps to be in running order and in readiness for demand under extreme conditions.
The storm in mid-February 2021 knocked out water service to hundreds of Pearsall homes. Subsequent freezing conditions and winter weather since that event have likewise affected utility service in the community.
Councilors have now given the green light for a contract with Alsay Incorporated to make emergency repairs at the Cherry Street water plant. The move comes nearly three years after a 2020 decision by councilors not to fully repair the facility.
“This is an imminent need,” City Manager Federico Reyes said during a Tuesday, January 10, meeting. “As you know, we had water issues during this last freeze. We are still making an effort to get all plants up and running.”
According to Public Works Director Hector Gandara, the Cherry Street plant was originally realigned in 2020.
“We opted to go with the same parts,” the public works director said.
Reyes explained that in 2020 the city was low on available funds to repair the broken water facility.
“At the time it was a fix to get it up and going, but it needs this repair,” the city manager said. “We opted not to fix it in 2020. At the time, it was about the money. We did not have any American Rescue Plan money; we only had bond money. Now we have the money to fix it.”
Councilors quizzed the public works director on a recent approval to repair a water plant on the east side of town. The council had approved an emergency replacement and the rehabilitation of the well pumping equipment for the East Comal Street plant on October 3 last year. Alsay Incorporated carried out the repairs, with the agreement that the fee not exceed $162,700.
“We are still working on it,” Gandara said. “We have the two major plants up and running, the Colorado and North plants. Our two feeder plants are down. Those support the interior part of town.”
Councilor Davina Rodriguez voted against the repairs, saying she wants to have an engineering firm assess the plant before approval.
“I think before we fix something we need to get an engineer to look at it,” Rodriguez said.
“This repair, it needs to happen now,” Reyes said. “It would take three to six months if an engineer looked at it.”
During the recent cold spell, many Pearsall residents were without water due to broken pipes and city facilities shutting down.