The Brownfield City Council met today Tuesday June 8, 2021 at 5 p.m. in special called meeting to hear updates and reports on the repair status of the Brownfield Family Aquatic Center (BFAC) and also to hear a report on the City of Brownfield elevated storage tank (water tower) issues pertaining to the supervisory control and data acquisition system.
Although the meeting did not last long, it did however answer the fate of this summer’s opening of the BFAC. Last summer, the BFAC was unable to operate due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Early this year, the whole state of Texas saw a major winter storm roll through and cause temperatures to plummet well below freezing and staying there for about seven days. Winter Storm Uri caused some major damage and other issues across the state, and the BFAC is one those places hit hard by the storm.
When April 2021 came around, the Brownfield Parks and Recreation Dept. began the common routine to get the BFAC ready for the summer season. As the pool was filled, a leak was found. This caused the City to drain the pool and fix those pipes that were leaking. After refilling the pool again, there were more leaks causing issues.
The City again looked for the leaks and pushed back the opening day of the BFAC from May 30, 2021 to June 5, 2021. The city hired Joe Rushing Plumbing (JRP) to run a camera through some of the pipes to find where the leak(s) were coming from. They were able to find the leak, however it was not a cracked pipe. Instead, it was broken pipe under the slab of the pool near the shallow end. JRP was tasked to put a balloon or liner around the broken pipe but the area between the broken section of the pipe was too large for a liner.
The city once again drained the pool and fast forward to today’s special called meeting, Brownfield City Manager Jeff Davis, Parks & Recreation Director Scott Jackson, and Water & Wastewater Director James Nix made the recommendation to the Council that BFAC should not open this season due to the extraordinary level of repairs that will need to be made. According to Davis, there is actually more than one leak that has been detected, all on the shallow end. Councilman Isaiah Bautista asked Davis, “What caused all the damage… not draining it properly?” Davis responded, “That and the winter storm . We think some of it is related to the winter storm… we think some of it might have been existing overtime.”
Davis showed the council several pictures of the damage, plus the rendering of the pool where some of the leaks are. Davis went on to say, “We are not sure how far down this goes back to the bottom of the pool.” According to Davis and Nix, JRP did track the camera to the deep end and did not find any cracks or leaks, however when the old pipes on the shallow end are taken out they plan to pressure up the pipes in the deep end to make sure there are no leaks there. Another issue with the pipes are according to the plans when the pool was built, all underground piping is cased in concrete. “So everyone of those pipes down there is going to have concrete around them and that’s going to be another issue getting them out of there.” Davis said.
Davis gave a time frame of when the repairs could be done if the city is to begin immediately it will take two weeks or longer to pull the pipes out and relay them. They will then need to pack them in. Once those are done, then the contractor or plumbing company will pour hydraulic concrete where it needs to be and will take up to 30 days before water can be placed on it. By the time this is done it would not be till the very end of July or beginning August before the pool could be open. After hearing the issues and recommendations of the Davis, Jackson, & Nix, the council decided to vote unanimously to not open the pool this summer at any point. Mayor Tom Hesse said, “I want this to be my recommendation also. This needs to be repaired correctly and we need to give the proper time for it to be done right.” Nix also mentioned that other area cities like Muleshoe, Levelland, Sundown and most Lubbock pools were having the same issues.
Moving on to the next item of business of the special called meeting the Council heard again from Nix. The dive team for water towers made a video of inside the main water tower located near the TDC Rudd Unit. In the video it can be seen where the four in diameter stand pipe and bottom of the bowl area was major crack that went all the way around the four foot stand pipe. Also in the video it can be seen where the epoxy which lines the tank/bowl had corroded. Each year the city is required to have an inspection of the water towers inside and out. According to Nix this tower had been looked at and passed plus the info was share with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Not long after the inspection, the major down burst of wind hit the southern portion of Brownfield all the way over TX 137 (Lamesa Highway) plus Winter Storm Uri hit earlier this winter. Nix believes both storms attributed to the cause of crack and epoxy not holding up correctly.
The purpose of the council meeting on this issue was to allow funds to be spent on the welding and repairs, plus to reline the tank by sandblasting and adding a new coat epoxy. Councilwoman Michelle Cooper asked what the cost might be. Nix mentioned it could be up to $100K. “This is the thing. We need to get this water tower back on line as soon as possible because the way our water system is set up the other two other water towers cannot sustain the water levels needed for the city.” The council approved the $80,000 for the sandblasting and relining of the tank. Once the welding is finished there will be better understanding of the cost on that work. Nix also said, “This water tower should be back online by this Saturday.”
The meeting was adjourned and the only council member not present was Michael Tackitt.