San Benito releases water plant settlement details

SAN BENITO — Details are slowly surfacing nearly six months after the city settled a lawsuit against companies involved in the construction of the $17 million water plant.

As part of the lawsuit’s settlement, Evoqua Water Technologies has agreed to work with the city to put the water plant back into operation, City Commissioner Esteban Rodriguez said yesterday.

Rodriguez said the company, which was a defendant in the lawsuit, will also train personnel to run the plant.

The details come after the city announced the settlement in June.

In 2014, the city filed the lawsuit, arguing the water plant did not properly operate.

Meanwhile, commissioners shut down the plant, planning a $3 million project aimed at turning the city’s 90-year-old water plant into the primary water source.

“We need to get this water plant back on line and in order,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a long time coming. Our citizens have been waiting for this for a long time. It’s time for the city to put this behind us and get our money’s worth and give our citizens what we paid for. I hope it leads to a great working water plant — as promised.”

Under the settlement, Evoqua will help the city “restore production of drinking water at the plant to six million gallons of clean water per day,” according to the city’s press release.

The company will also “supply the plant with training and enough state-of-the-art upgraded membranes designed to provide the best ultra-filtration available and enable the plant to ultimately produce and deliver 10 (million gallons per day) in the future,” the press release states.

As part of the agreement, Evoqua will give the city a payment.

The city also reached a monetary resolution stemming from claims against TRC Engineering.

But the city could not disclose information regarding the Evoqua payment and the TRC resolution, city spokeswoman Martha McClain said.

McClain said no other information was available at this time.

Yesterday, the Valley Morning Star filed a request under the Texas Public Information Act for release of additional information.

In June, the city announced a settlement in the lawsuit against Siemens Corp., Evoqua and other companies behind the design and construction of the water plant opened in 2009.

The city filed the lawsuit in 2014, arguing the water plant did not properly operate.

At the same time, commissioners decided to shut down the water plant.

Meanwhile, commissioners launched a $3 million project to renovate the city 90-year-old water plant, aiming to turn it into the main water source.

But in September 2016 and last January, the old plant temporarily shut down, cutting water service across town.

As part of an agreement, Harlingen provided the city with water used to temporarily serve the city’s homes and businesses.



City files lawsuit against companies behind the water plant’s construction


City shuts down water plant


City enters into settlement agreement

What’s in the settlement?

Evoqua Water Technologies

• Agrees to help put the water plant into operation

• Agrees to train

personnel to operate

the plant

• Agrees to give the city a payment