Attorneys, City to mull water plant litigation

Staff Writer

Concentric Circles Forming In Still Water

At a special meeting of the San Benito City Commission on Tuesday, Aug. 19, attorneys from Arnold & Itkin LLP law firm out of Houston will meet in executive session to advise the City of San Benito’s elected officials, referencing possible legal recourse with regard to the incapacitation of Water Treatment Plant No. 2.

A recent report conducted on the facility stated that the $17 million Plant No. 2 “never operated efficiently except in the early months of operation.” Officials initially said Plant No. 2 is in need of new membrane filters that would reportedly cost the city close to $100,000.

Furthermore, since Plant No. 2’s inception in 2003, “The old water treatment facility has been producing, some months, more than the new water treatment,” said City Manager Manuel Lara. In fact, Lara said, “The old water treatment plant has never been taken out of commission. We have been using it the whole time.”

Meanwhile, residents of San Benito continue to get their water needs met via Water Treatment Plant No. 1, once deemed antiquated and potentially incapable of continuing to serve a growing San Benito. According to city officials, however, Plant No. 1 is currently capable of providing water with no limitations.

Residents, comparatively, have raised concerns regarding the safety and cost of their water and have asked officials for answers.

Mayor Celeste Sanchez explained, “When we hear the results and the research, and we get all the parties’ information and I meet with the attorney and commissioners to see the direction they want to take, I will be better informed to comment” on the City of San Benito’s plans moving forward.

“I’ll wait for (City Attorney Ricardo) Morado,” said Lara, with regard to when further information may be released. “The attorneys will be here from Houston on (Aug.) 19th and (will be) providing legal counsel, sharing findings and recommendations in executive session. We’re looking forward to seeing what they have discovered and their legal advice.”

Lara said that a motion must “be made in public if (legal) action is going to be taken.” At this time, Lara said he anticipates the targeted date for such a session to transpire on Sept. 1.


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