I have been asked several times in the past few weeks about the status of the Reverse Osmosis water station that the City has proposed to build for the citizens. The intent has been to construct a building adjacent to the Richard Eckert Civic Center that would be capable of providing treated water for our residents at any time with no cost. The RO treatment should remove all trace contaminants, including Radium 226 and 228, and provide completely clean water to anyone who would like to bring containers and pick it up. This has been under discussion for several years, and I had anticipated that we would complete this project many months ago; but as often happens, my planning and vision are much more rapid than the actual execution.
At the present time we have completed plans and are soliciting bids for the construction of this building, as you might see in the notices of this paper. The bids should be opened on September 20, and I expect that construction will begin soon after. The City has received two grants to assist in this project, and the Commission is in support of moving forward as soon as is reasonable to meet the various requirements and preparations needed. The final plans call for a building that will house two handicap restrooms that will provide for the needs at the Civic Center as well as possible park facilities on the adjacent property, and a utility room to house equipment and a open dispensing station that will fill several bottles at a time. The equipment that is being ordered will treat several thousand gallons of water a day, which should meet our current usage, and there will be 500 gallons of storage capacity so that we are always prepared to supply the immediate needs.
The City continues to monitor our water supply and works to meet the regular challenges of providing quality water supplies for our community, but with the limitations and nature of our underground water sources we will probably always have some regulatory issues with water supplies. The City staff appreciates everyone’s cooperation in water conservation this past summer, and with the enjoyably wet weather and limited number of over-100 degree days we never had any significant problems with meeting the water needs of everyone. Water will in the future be a very valuable and precious resource, and we are regularly considering the long-term water needs of our town, but I feel sure that with good stewardship we are in much better shape than many of the larger towns throughout Texas.
There are a few other issues that are being dealt with at this time. There is a distinct possibility that much of the current controversy with the CREZ Transmission Lines in this part of the Hill Country may be resolved or significantly changed in the next couple of weeks. The decisions will be made by the Public Utility Commission in Austin, made up of three independent Commissioners, but the indication is that they may be asked to make a decision that would principally remove Mason County from the equation and require considerable more engineering study before a realistic alternative is presented. In a very different concern, we at the City are having a problem with our Recycling program; it is not that we do not appreciate all of the regular recycling materials that our citizens bring to the Recycling Center, it is the fact that some people bring their household garbage and drop it off with their recycling. At the Recycling Center and at the recycling trailers around town, we regularly have garbage that is not appropriate and needs to be taken to the landfill or put out for the garbage truck to pick-up, and our recycling crews would very much appreciate you bringing just recyclable materials and leave the trash somewhere else. Together we are making our town a better place, and we will continue to work for the improvement of our community.
Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley