Water tower upgrades halfway complete

PORT MANSFEILD — Port Director Ron Mills says phase one of the upgrade of the water tower is almost complete.

“Where we stand right now, the water tower is about half way finished,” Mills said. “In the next few weeks they will start painting the outside of it.”

The water tower has already been fixed and painted on the inside and work on the tower is already two and half months into the five-month project.

The cost of the project is $1 million. Funding comes from revenue bonds and a grant from the Willacy County Navigation District.

“Hopefully, they will get done with it relatively soon,” Mills said.

The water tower modification will clean up the rust and decay of the water system tank, add new ladders and increase water capacity.

Once that project is finished, phase two will begin.

“Phase two of the project is to add two above-ground storage tanks in addition to the ones we already have now,” Mills said. “It will be a 150,000 gallon increase of water capacity.”

Mills said the old tanks will continue to be used and the total water storage capacity will give Port Mansfield a larger reserve of water.

A letter sent to residents in April announced the renovation of the drinking water supply system.

The letter also stated the water system had a higher than normal count of trihalomethanes found by the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality.

“Trihalomethanes are the living organisms that live in drinking water and all water has it,” Mills said. “We get north Alamo drinking water and we don’t do anything with it.”

Mills said the water is chlorinated before it goes into the water system to people’s houses.

“What happed was this water went into the pipeline and the park at the very end of the line called Bridge Stone Park was sampled by TCEQ,” Mills said. “That park had not been used in a long time because it was closed by the county and the water in that line sat there for long periods of time and when TCEQ took a sample it had elevated amounts of trihalomethanes.”

Mills said the water is normal and the water has been tested and re-tested.

“It was a one-time isolated deal but it was one of those things that the park was not being utilized,” Mills said. “If we had been using those bathrooms and faucets and people had been going to the park we would never have had this problem.”