Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Odem Street plant a long time coming
By the Advocate Editorial Board
May 14, 2014 at 12:14 a.m.
A lively debate has taken place in the Victoria City Council throughout the past few years. Now, the issue seems to finally be drawing to a conclusion.
At the May 6 City Council meeting, the council approved a $19.6 million project to build the new wastewater treatment plant on Odem Street. Construction of the plant itself was projected to cost $15.5 million, but CSA Construction, of Houston, offered a $15.4 million bid. It will cost about $190,000 to close the Willow Street plant, and the city will also have to pay about $4 million for off-site utility projects and to make an access road to the site of the new plant.
This decision is one that has been a long time coming for Victoria. For years, there was pushback from those who live in the Odem Street area, and it resulted in the creation of the group The Concerned Citizens for the Health and Safety of Victoria. After years of discussions, including a trip by members of the City Council to a similar plant in Sugar Land, a decision has finally been made, and we know this is the right decision for Victoria.
The new plant will be an updated design that will have little to no impact on the surrounding community, which was shown in the visit to the plant in Sugar Land, which has a similar design. It will be a vast improvement over the current plant near Willow Street, which smells and has caused public health concerns for years. For the sake of Victoria's residents in the area, the Willow Street plant needed to be closed and replaced with a better, safer plant years ago. Now, Victoria's leaders are finally doing what is best for its citizens.
We applaud the city of Victoria for holding the line and continuing to push for the new wastewater treatment plant. While it may have been frustrating to deal with pushback from nearby residents, we want to thank those residents as well for their commitment to making sure that the plant would be safe and not become a repeat of the Willow Street facility.
Now, the city has the task of ensuring that the work done to build the plant will meet the best standards possible. This is a great opportunity for Victoria to move forward and update its sewer system. We need to be sure that opportunity is not wasted.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.