The Fire Chief Project: The most important people to have on your side

Corpus Christi gets city council members involved in planning new clean-water facilities

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The Texas city of Corpus Christi is under a U.S. EPA consent decree to improve wastewater treatment. As part of the process of planning improvements and repairs, members of the city council members recently toured wastewater treatment plants in other nearby communities, according to a report on the KIII TV station.

It’s a brilliant stroke on the part of the city’s leadership and its clean-water team to get decision-makers in on the ground floor. After all, they hold the purse strings, and the better they understand the current situation and what’s necessary by way of plant upgrades, the more likely they will support Corpus Christi’s future plans – and defend them in public if need be.

“The city is under the gun to come up with a plan to stop accidental overflows, which violate federal guidelines,” the TV station reported. “The overflows usually occur during heavy rains, and federal regulators say the city must improve the infrastructure to stop such overflows.

Rudy Garza, council members, found the tours worthwhile. In an interview with a reporter, he said, “Is it going to be a useful exercise to try to rehab some of these plants to a robust operating level, or do we need to actually consolidate some of these plants into a big plant?”

And Mark Van Vleck, assistant city manager, added, “In the coming months, we’re going to be asking the city council to make some decisions on improvements or repairs to these facilities, and we want them to understand and see the conditions.”

The city has six treatment plants that are all about 50 years old. Options range from repairing and improving the plants, consolidating them to perhaps two or three, or building just one large treatment facility. Whatever the outcome, involving elected officials in big decisions that affect wastewater treatment helps further the aims of The Fire Chief Project.


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