City council hears report on water leak issues

By Lindsey Vaculin

General Manager


The Cameron City Council addressed the response to the water situation last week during its meeting Aug. 7.

Council heard a report from Public Works Director Gerald Brunson about the situation.

“Over two days I had over 200 phone calls,” Brunson said. “It started off as a repair to a line at Winnie L. Nursing Center. What we anticipated finding was a tap and a six-inch line with the water running from south to north down Karnes. After we had been working on it for some time, the valve that was part of the tap for that line blew off and that is when the issues started.”

Brunson said the department can usually handle that, but that after working they found several water lines that weren’t on the cities maps including a tap for the sprinkler system for Winnie L. and a change from the six-inch line to an eight-inch line. They couldn’t work with the water pressure.

“We fought that most of the night, and then the leak happened on First Street,” he said. “We couldn’t keep up with the amount of water flowing. I called Rhett to say lets shut the city down to fix the leaks.”

Brunson said his staff did an outstanding job with assistance from several other entities including D&L Services.

“We had it all fixed about 4:30 p.m. and started filling the water towers back up about 5 p.m.” he said.”

Councilmember Melissa Williams asked when the problem with the valves on the water tower not being functional might be fixed.

Tommy Valle with KPA Engineers said those will be the first two things fixed with the city’s valve improvement project that will begin work in the next few months.

Council approved hiring Bell Contractors for the 2016 Community Development Block Grant Valve Improvement Project during the meeting. 

Brunson said those valves will not stop the need to lose water pressure in the city but it will keep the water in the water towers and save the time it takes to fill those back up.

Valle said this project will allow the city to cut off sections of town in the event repairs are needed instead of having the whole town shut down, but that is not a guarantee due to not always knowing where lines are connected.

Twenty-seven valves will be replaced in the project. Valle said the project should get under way in a few weeks and be completed by mid-December. 

Brunson said they made the decision on the valve placement based on the drawings they currently have.

Williams said most of the questions she got from residents were about what happens in the event of a fire and the city’s communication with residents.

City Manager Rhett Parker said that Fire Chief Henry Horelica is prepared in the event of a fire in that situation. The tankers trucks are filled and other area fire departments are on standby should they be needed.

Brunson said that he always makes sure Horelica is notified.

Williams asked about the use of CodeRED to notify residents of issues in the city. City Secretary Amy Harris said residents that do not have a land line need to sign up with their cell phone number by going to or visiting the city’s website at and clicking on the CodeRED link under the services tab to register your phone number.

CodeRED notifies residents of any emergency event in the city.

Brunson also reported to council that software for infra-mapping was installed on his computers that day, so now the city has all piping in town on a map accessible on the computer along with fire hydrants and water meters.

He said this will help with knowing where pipes and valves are so that last week’s water situation will be helped in the future. 

In other business council also approved use of the downtown area for Steaktoberfest on Oct. 14 by the Cameron Chamber of Commerce and tabled action on the proposed tax rate until after the city holds its budget meetings this week.