Surveys now being conducted; construction to start in March

Christopher Maher, Jim Wells County Correspondent

SAN DIEGO - Residents of several colonias around San Diego should begin to notice an increase in work crews in the areas in the coming months, as construction begins on a new $2.28 million waste water infrastructure improvement project.

San Diego Municipal Utilities District General Manager Vic Casas said Thursday final approval was given to the two contractors for the project on Jan. 16, and initial work began on Jan. 26.

The project involves two stages, one to improve the district's water treatment plant and a second to bring waste water service to four colonias in the San Diego area.

Hoover Construction Company, Inc., from Burnet, Texas, has been hired to repair the waste water treatment plant, at a cost of $208,710.

The plant was put into operation in 1981 and has never had a major overhaul, but Casas said the new improvements will upgrade the plant's chlorination system, replace old pipes and aging parts and will allow for new connections expected through the second phase of the project.

That phase is being carried out by Ram-Bro Contracting, a Robstown company, at a cost of $2,071,565. That project is expected to bring more than 140 new sewer connections to La Masa, Mi Tierra, Cadena and Buena Vista colonias.

Homes in those colonias currently have septic systems, which will be emptied and filled in with sand as part of the project. New residential connections will be provided at no cost to the homeowners, although once the connection is operational an $11.50 waste water charge will be added to the residents' monthly bill.

Casas said crews with Ram-Bro Contracting are currently conducting "exploratory work," on the colonias, which include surveys to update existing plan materials.

"We want to make residents aware that there is going to be survey crews going into yards, and they might have to knock on doors if they have a locked place," Casas said. "They're going to see some people."

With actual construction scheduled to begin in March and last a full year, Casas thanked the community for its patience and asked for continued patience through the project.

"It took us this long to get where we are now, and it took a lot of persistence, it took a lot of work" Casas said. "Now we're here, it's actually a reality."

The project is being funded through a USDA Rural Development grant the district received in June 2003.

For information regarding the waste water project or to identify workers, contact the San Diego Municipal Utility District at 279-3357.