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Cottonwood Shores approves funding for water system protection efforts

Cottonwood Shores raw water pond

The raw water pond at the Cottonwood Shores water plant. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

Planning ahead for possible inclement weather and power outages, the Cottonwood Shores City Council approved spending up to $42,500 to better protect the city’s water system during its regular meeting Thursday, Dec. 16.

The first part of the plan funds up to $35,000 for insulation of exposed pipes at the water treatment plant and water tower. 

The other is no more than $7,500 for the installation of a telemetry high-water alarm system for the raw holding lagoon at the water plant. 

“We’re planning ahead and being proactive,” City Administrator J.C. Hughes said, “in an event we have a power outage beyond our control. We’re doing everything we possibly can in the event the (Electric Reliability Council of Texas power grid) goes down. So these are for the worst-case scenarios.”

The city pulls water from Lake LBJ into a pond for treatment. The funding will insulate the exposed raw water pipes and those going from the pond to the treatment facility.

“Those eight-inch water pipes froze solid (during the February 2021 storm) and will be insulated,” Hughes said.

The city also plans to insulate water pipes at the water tower.

“Every piece of pipe exposed to the elements will be wrapped commercially with high-quality commercial insulation,” Hughes said.

Life Saving Award
During a Cottonwood Shores City Council meeting Dec. 16, Police Corp. Shawn Scarborough (left) presented Officer Nico Martinez with the ‘You Make A Difference’ Life Saving Award for saving the life of a woman by administering CPR. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

The alarm system will alert city staff regarding the raw water level in the pond and turn on or off the pumps as needed.

“This is phase one,” Hughes said. “Right now, the system we have is manual, and our employees have to turn the pumps on based on what they see. It’s visual.”

In the coming months, staff plan to return to the council to ask for money for Phase 2, which is to upgrade the computer system so the new alert system triggers action automatically to either turn on or off the pumps depending on the water level in the pond. 

“The two systems will be able to talk to each other,” Hughes said. “We’re putting our priorities to improve the city’s infrastructure.”

In other news, the city’s Christmas is for Kids party is 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, at the Cottonwood Shores Volunteer Fire Department, 640 Birch Lane. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be presenting gifts to every child who attends. There will also be hot chocolate and free hay rides to see the Christmas lights in Cottonwood Shores. 

City Hall will close at noon Wednesday, Dec. 22, so staff can enjoy the Christmas holiday. It will reopen for regular hours at 8 a.m. Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 27-28, and close at noon Wednesday, Dec. 29, for the New Year’s holiday. City Hall reopens again Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, for regular business hours.

jfierro@thepicayune.com