BRAZORIA — City Council is leaning toward canceling a previous high-priority, $840,500 project to replace a 425,000-gallon groundwater storage tank.
Though the city has already paid $66,000 in Strand Engineering fees toward the project, City Manager Olan Massingill determined the city does not need the capacity the tank provides.
The city has another 825,000-gallon groundwater storage tank and 625,000 gallons in elevated storage, he said. According to the Texas Commission on Environ-mental Quality, the city needs only 500,000 gallons of storage capacity, Massingill said.
“We way over meet our storage capacity,” he said.
The city issued $5.2 million in certificates of obligation, a form of debt that doesn’t require voter approval, to fund the tank replacement and other infrastructure projects. If the city does not move ahead with the water tank, it could put $700,000 toward other infrastructure projects, such as sewer improvement, Massingill said.
Council asked whether this project was necessary from the beginning and engineers said it was, Councilman Gary Kersh said.
That is explained by engineers being hired to engineer, staff and council agreed.
“If you go to a surgeon, you’re going to get surgery,” Councilwoman Roschelle Hicks said.
If its capacity was needed, the existing tank would need to be replaced. Several times, water has begun leaking from the 425,000-gallon bolted galvanized steel storage tank and public works has patched it up.
Councilwoman Susan Parker questioned why the engineers never mentioned the city doesn’t need the capacity from the leaking tank.
“We asked back then and we got an overwhelming ‘yes, you need it,’” Councilman Marcus Rabren said.
“We didn’t ask the right questions, apparently,” Parker said.
Kersh appreciates Massingill investigating whether the city needed the replacement tank for capacity, but questioned whether the city would need the 425-0000-gallon tank if there was a problem with the other tank.
If that tank needed to be drained, which is unlikely, Brazoria could rent a temporary tank for about $4,000 a month, Massingill said.
Still, since council made such a big decision to go through with the project, a second opinion from a retired engineer might help them decide whether to cancel it, Rabren said.
Mayor Roger Shugart, who listed the project as one of his top priorities since his election, said they might have been misled about its importance.
The city initiated the project when David Jordan was public works director and Teresa Borders was city manager. Both since have retired.
“We can put blame wherever we want to, but the bottom line is what’s best for the city of Brazoria,” Kersh said.
Council decided unanimously to table the issue until next month’s meeting, meaning Massingill will have to spend another $2,000 on a test to determine what type of slab to pour and let it go out for construction price bidding, he said.
“I knew I’d have to take some heat. I come in, I’m looking at it and it has already started,” Massingill said. “We do have more issues that are high-priority, including our sewer system.”