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Water crisis committee gets first of its members: Water supply board appoints Crumrine, Hardy
by Gary Kent
Jun 13, 2013 | 1644 views | 0 0 comments | 77 77 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE — Two longtime members of the Beeville Water Supply District board of directors were appointed Monday evening to sit on a special city committee to study the current water crisis.

Board member Bill Stockton made the motion to appoint Board President Jim Crumrine and board member Ronald “Buddy’ Hardy.

The motion was seconded by board member Kay Hickey and it passed without opposition.

Board President Jim Crumrine said that he and the board’s newest member, Kenneth Elsbury, have had a less expensive plan in mind for the development of groundwater sources and a reverse osmosis filtering system to supplement the district’s surface water system.

Elsbury had been sworn in as the board’s newest member earlier in the meeting. He was appointed to replace George P. “Trace” Morrill, III. Morrill, a local attorney whose father was once president of the water board, resigned because he was elected to the City Council last month.

Elsbury, a geologist with the Dan A. Hughes Co., spoke a few times earlier in the year at town hall meetings held by the City Council before their $15.3 million bond issue failed at the hands of voters on May 11.

Elsbury and Crumrine visited a reverse osmosis operation near Donna in late April and made their recommendation for the development of a less expensive reverse osmosis operation during that trip.

Crumrine told fellow water board members Monday that Mayor David Carabajal had assured Elsbury that he would be one of the City Council’s appointees to that committee.

Each of the five council members was expected to appoint up to three citizens to a committee at the Tuesday evening City Council meeting. In all, the committee will have 17 members.

Crumrine and Elsbury are expected to recommend that the city drill one well in the Jasper aquifer and treat that water at a smaller RO plant that would be located at the city’s water storage facility in the 200 block of West Cleveland Street. That would also be the site of the deeper well.

They also are recommending that three wells be drilled into the shallower Evangeline aquifer. That water only needs to be treated for iron and not for suspended solids or chlorides.

Although the Evangeline aquifer does not provide the quantity of water that the Jasper contains, that water is of much better quality. And three wells drilled at different parts of the city, would provide almost as much water as one well in the Jasper.

The two said the iron can be removed from the Evangeline water by a simple chemical and filtering system.

That RO plant would be located in a building large enough to accommodate expansion once the city realizes a need for more treatment capabilities.

Engineers Bill Norris and Jesús Leal, principals with Norris Leal Engineering Water of Austin, are recommending that the Jasper aquifer water be run through the RO plant to remove the 1,500 parts per liter suspended solids content and to remove the chlorides found in that water table.

Some of the Jasper water would then be blended with the filtered water from the RO plant for taste purposes.

The scaled down project could cost the city less than $9 million. Under the plan, Crumrine and Elsbury proposed that money saved by reducing the amount of raw water purchased from the City of Corpus Christi could be kept in a fund and then that money could be used to expand the RO facilities in the city. That would allow the city to avoid the cost of borrowing money for expansion.

On May 11, after the vote count showed that Beeville residents had turned down the $15.3 million bond issue, then Mayor Santiago “Jimbo” Martinez said he liked the idea proposed by Crumrine and Elsbury.

The 17-member committee will be asked to send the City Council a recommendation on how to provide surface water supplies for the city and to recommend ways to finance the project.

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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