Avalon Water and Sewer facing code violations, fines

The Avalon Water and Sewer Service Corporation met to discuss TCEQ violations and possible fines they are facing during its monthly meeting Thursday.

John Goodwyn, vice president, spoke during most of the 1-1/2 hour meeting and explained what brought the group to this point.

He said the state investigated the sewer plant in July. The corporation received a letter in October outlining four sewer violations in excess of $68,000.

The violations are concerning the quality of material coming out of the plant; the lack of audio and visual alarms at the pump station on the east side of town; a wall crack on the inner racetrack (oxidation ditch); and no engineering action study.

He said there were also problems with service and reports that had not been turned in by the previous sewer service company out of Itasca.

Goodwyn said he has met with TCEQ representatives in both Fort Worth and Austin. He said the TCEQ has agreed to put the permit on hold as long as the corporation is making progress toward the correction of the violations. He said Greg Rodriguez, field manager, has done a good job working toward these corrections.

He said they did have an engineering study and now have the audio/visual issue resolved.

Goodwyn said the state is telling them they must expand the existing sewer system.

He said the state is losing patience with them and stressed the need to write a letter of intent.

He said a previous plant expansion plan estimates construction costs between $600,000 and $900,000 and would require the purchase of easements. An alternate plan – land application — would require the purchase of additional land would cost approximately $655,000.

This land application plan would require the purchase of additional land south of town and is a series of additional ponds to treat waste.

Goodwyn said the latter plan is the simplest approach technically with no requirement for computers but is probably more labor intensive.

He said the state needed a letter of intent and suggested the board go that route.

Dean Carroll, consultant for the water district, had a hand-drawn additional option. He said this plan would add a second clarifier. He said this could cost about $325,000 and should not require the purchase of additional property.

He said the goal is to treat the water as soon as it comes through.

Carroll also suggested the group talk with another engineer. 

Goodwyn agreed to meet with a second engineer but said they cannot wait until their next meeting to sign a letter of intent. He said they must be careful not to miss any deadlines.

In other business, the group voted to give Rodriguez a $1 an hour raise with a second $1 per hour increase once he receives his certification.

Members of the corporation are: Patsy Russell, president; Goodwyn; Robin Donaldson, secretary/treasurer; Santos Munguia; Harrison Romero; and Manuel Rodriguez. Hillco in Itasca is general manager for the corporation.