Grant to fund repairs to some of Bloomington's sewer problems
Oct. 24, 2011 at 5:24 a.m.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development distributes Community Development Block Grant funds nationally.
Texas Department of Agriculture receives a portion of the grant funds and distributes the funds to 24 regional planning commissions that serve various counties. These funds are primarily for low-income, rural communities. The department also sets 10 percent of the criteria that determines which application gets funded.
A 12-member committee, appointed by Gov. Rick Perry, at the Golden Crescent Regional Planning Commission sets up criteria that determine which application gets funded. The commission received about $980,000 this year. The commission serves Victoria, Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Gonzales, Lavaca and Jackson counties.
County Judge Don Pozzi and Precinct 3 Commissioner Gary Burns are on the 12-member committee.
Source: Rhonda Stastny, director of local government services for the Golden Crescent Regional Planning Commission
Some of Bloomington's residents soon won't have to worry about their toilets backing up because of broken sewer pipes.
The project to repair the old lines should start by next summer, said Wade Cheek, lead operator and supervisor of utilities for the Victoria County Water Control & Improvement District 1.
The Victoria County Commissioners Court authorized on Monday a contract with the Texas Department of Agriculture.
The contract stipulated that $263,000 would go toward replacing 6-inch sewer lines in Bloomington, said Rhonda Stastny, director of local government services for the Golden Crescent Regional Planning Commission. District 1 would contribute $26,300 to the project, according to the contract.
Residents had complained about their toilets flushing very slowly, said Precinct 1 Commissioner Kenny Spann.
Some even had told of their toilets backing up, Cheek said.
Bloomington's wastewater treatment plant also had gone beyond its permitted capacity, Stastny said.
The problems stem from storm water seeping into Bloomington's sewer lines, Cheek explained. With the drought, the ground naturally expands but comes together when it rains. As a result, the more than 50-year-old clay pipes broke.
"In my opinion, the entire town needs to be replaced, but I just don't have the funds to do that," Cheek said.
And even with the incoming grant funds, he still won't. The coming project only would replace about 25 percent of Bloomington's sewer lines, Cheek said.
The project would replace sewage lines between Texas and Commerce streets, as well as between Hatchett and Cuero avenues, Cheek said. A proposed map for the project showed only a large chunk of that area receiving new sewer lines.
This area was chosen partly because it contained some of the oldest pipes in Bloomington, wrote JoAnna Weaver, project engineer for G&W Engineers Inc., in an email. Her company contracted with Victoria County for preliminary engineering for the project's application.
Cheek hoped that his District 1 would receive another similar grant in the next couple of years so Bloomington's other sewer lines could be replaced. He estimated another $1.5 million would be needed to replace the other sewer pipes.
This particular Community Development Block Grant, which will pay for the project, was meant to assist low-income and rural communities, Stastny said. Placedo received a grant a few years ago and now it was Bloomington's turn, she said.