Saturday, July 29, 2017

City Council to Consider San Angelo's Latest Water Study

San Angelo's City Council will entertain hiring Alan Plummer Associates, Inc. to fulfill RFQ WU-3-17 at a not to exceed price of $547,000.  Proposals were due January 24, 2017.

The purpose of this project is to assist the City of San Angelo in developing a plan of action to address its current and future water supply needs. The primary goals of the project are to: 
  • Evaluate San Angelo’s current water supplies and develop a plan for future use of these current supplies; 
  • Identify potential new water sources and water management strategies; 
  • Evaluate risk factors associated with new water sources and water management strategies; 
  • Develop planning-level project concepts of new water sources and water management strategies, including preliminary opinions of project development costs and operations / maintenance costs; and 
  • Prepare a Water Supply Engineering Feasibility Study that presents a comparison of options for meeting existing and future water supply needs for the City. 
San Angelo City Manager Daniel Valenzuela waived the engineering qualification required of the top two water positions.  His first waive enabled Ricky Dickson become our local Water Chief.  After kicking Dickson upstairs to Executive Director of Public Works Valenzuela waived the engineer requirement again for current Water Chief Bill Riley. 

Water Director Bill Riley wrote several months ago:

2017 will be spent pursuing that next water source, improving infrastructure and fortifying the Water Utilities Department’s financial standing.
City Council will consider an engineering proposal that focuses on finding our next water source(s) but it comes at significant cost, a nearly $550,000 maximum.  That will eat up some of the current $3.2 million in Water Enterprise fund balance as of 6-30-17.

The city last hired Alan Plummer in 2014 to conduct a study on using reclaimed water.  The study had a not to exceed price of $190,000.  City Council contracted with Alan Plummer for the direct potable use pilot study at a cost of $1.2 million. The Water Advisory Board did not go through with the use of reclaimed water.

The Water Advisory Board learned of the city's $43 million purchase of the Ford Ranch over the Hickory Acquifer at the same time as the general public.  In May 2016 the Water Advisory Board began narrowing down possible water projects for serious consideration.

After the city hired Riley it has gone on to hire/pay consultants for numerous projects

Raftelis - Water Rate Study for an initial $90,000 + a $17,000 add on (November 2014)
CDM Smith - Water Master Plan $314,460 
Gateway Planning - Lake Nasworthy development  $335,000
Consider Riley's background as a water consultant:

He served as the water and wastewater utilities manager at College Station for 11 years, although he worked for the municipality for about 17 years.

From 2000-02, Riley managed the water and wastewater consulting practice of Reed, Stowe & Yanke, providing financial, management and operations guidance to public sector clients, the release stated.

For the past 12 years, Riley served as president and general partner of Water Resources Management LLC — a water resources consulting firm that helps water utilities develop strategies for their operational, management, financial and resource challenges, according to the release.
So the city hired a non-engineer water consultant who has repeatedly hired other water consultants. I don't expect this pattern to end anytime soon.

Update 8-7-17:  The Water Advisory Board will hear a report on the CDM Smith study on 8-9-17 and consider approving the $547,000 study by Alan Plummer.


PEU Report/State of the Division said...

The Standard Times ran a story on backlash at City Council today regarding the study:

PEU Report/State of the Division said...

The City Council discussion of this topic can be viewed at:

The water study item begins at 2:53:19 and ends at 3:39:40