City to begin work on new water lines soon

The City of Cameron will begin construction on new water lines in mid-February.  

According to Cameron City Manager Rhett Parker, Bell Contractors will upgrade multiple water lines from one inch to six inch with new four-inch and six-inch lines on Davis, Wallace, Country Club Drive, Cleveland and Harding streets stretching from 10th to 21st Street.  

The project is estimated to cost $972,150.  This is the first phase of the water line distribution project.  This northeast section of town was selected as the first neighborhood to be rehabilitated due to the numerous water leaks and low water pressure issues.  The original two and a quarter inch waterlines were most likely installed in the 1940’s and no longer meet the demands of the heavily populated neighborhood.  New fire hydrants and cutoff valves will also be installed on all new lines that are replaced.  The existing fire hydrants will be refurbished for later use throughout the city.

Parker said that Phase II of the water line distribution project is currently being planned. The goal is to replace the line on East Gillis from the railroad tracks east toward the water plant. Other neighborhoods are being assessed for waterline replacement.  Water meter instillation is also being considered for this project. A goal is to replace the remaining water meters that were not converted to the auto read system.  This will include approximately 500 meters.  The original project was done in 2015 through at CDBG, Community Development Block Grant that only allowed meters to be replaced in low to moderate income residential neighborhoods.  The goal will be to finish up the remaining residential and most commercial meters.  

Phase 1 of the water plant rehabilitation is underway.  The first water clarifier at the water plant has been refurbished and is performing remarkably.  

“The rebuilt clarifier is producing higher quality water than both of the old clarifiers combined,” Brandon White,  Chief Water Operator for the city said. “This allows the treatment operators more flexibility in dealing with fluctuations in water quality coming from the Little River that we have not had in over 30 years.”    

The second clarifier is currently being rehabbed and will be on line mid-February 2018.  

Plans for the new Waste Water Plant are currently being developed, as the city waits for environmental clearances to build on the existing site.   

“Many citizens have asked what the extra fees on their water bills are paying toward and why have they not seen any construction as of yet,” Parker said. “The first project began at the water plant, as it was our most crucial piece of infrastructure that needed to be repaired.  These are large capital improvements whereas the city had to take out TWDB loans to make the projects happen.  The city has currently made two annual loan payments averaging $936,000 each.  We have 18 more years to pay off the debt. This should be the life expectancy of the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the plants.  Twenty years from now when the plants are paid off it will be time to rebuild new ones and there will be leverage for the city to do so.”