Just in time! Water wells fixed
Facing what looks likely to be another summer of almost daily triple-digit temperatures, Rockdale has gotten some good news. The city water system should be back to its full four-well capacity soon, perhaps as soon as this weekend.
The city has been operating with just two of its four wells pumping, while the two at H.H. Coffield Airport were being rehabilitated.
In May, city officials asked for residents to voluntarily conserve water and that’s worked, even though temperatures have climbed as high as 108 degrees, according to David Akin, public works director.
“We have not had any major problems, even though the demand has certainly jumped with the hotter temperatures, especially on weekends,” he said.
NO BURN BAN—Unlike last year, Rockdale heads into the July Fourth holiday period without a rural burning ban and without restrictions on fireworks with fins and sticks.
Rockdale Fire Chief Herbie Vaughan noted that more grass fires are being reported, but the Milam County Fire Chiefs Association has not yet recommended a burn ban to the county judge.
Vaughan said the fire chiefs won’t meet again until the third week in July.
“I’m pretty sure that will come up when we do get together,” he said.
At the moment outdoor burning is legal in the unincorporated areas of Milam County. Municipalities, such as Rockdale, have their own permanent burn bans, not affected by county action.
NO FIREWORKS BAN— There are also no restrictions, as yet, on fireworks use in Milam’s rural areas for the Fourth of July.
Last year, in the midst of a prolonged drouth, county commissioners banned the use of aerial fireworks with fins and sticks, citing dry conditions.
WATER WELLS—By midsummer last year, Rockdale residents were using 1.9 million gallons of water on an almost daily basis.
“I know we had some days we used over 2 million,” Akin said.
The rehabilitation, by Weisinger Inc., is restoring the wells to service by replacing their old casings.
Akin said the work is complete and the city is only awaiting the results of required state testing to bring the wells on-line and return the city’s system to full capacity.
But it won’t be quite the full capacity.
Since the new casings are smaller diameter than the ones they’ve replaced, their pump capacity won’t be as much.
Akin said the two airport wells were previously rated at 670 to 700 gallons per minute each and it’s estimated the new capacity at 400 to 450.
“It will sure be good to get them back, especially with the hot temperatures we will be facing the next couple of months,” he said.
H. H. Coffield Airport, which has been closed to facilitate the well repair, is expected to reopen around July 15.