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Special ODC meeting for water well testing - Odessa American: City Of Odessa

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Special ODC meeting for water well testing

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Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 5:00 am

Following a proposal by the City of Fort Stockton’s mayor to sell groundwater to Odessa, the Odessa Development Corp. will decide at 2 p.m. Thursday to drill a test water well and conduct a water study in Fort Stockton.

The ODC will vote on a resolution to fund an amount not exceeding $1,475,000 in order to construct and operate a test well in Fort Stockton, which lies over a portion of the Capitan Reef Aquifer.

The funds would be financed from the Desalination Water Project line item in the ODC 2012-2013 fiscal year budget. Desalination is the process of cleaning brackish groundwater.

“The City of Fort Stockton has made some claims that the Capitan (water) in Fort Stockton is of better quality than the water we would find in Ward County,” Odessa City Manager Richard Morton said. “If that’s true, it will be less expensive to desalinate water there than in Ward County. In an effort to verify that, we need to drill a test well.”

If the ODC approves the resolution, Morton said he would present an interlocal agreement to the Odessa City Council to allow Odessa and Fort Stockton to work together.

The Middle Pecos Groundwater District would also have to approve drilling permits in Fort Stockton, Morton said.

The goal of drilling a test well and conducting a study is to determine the water quality of the Capitan Reef aquifer.

If the study determines the project feasible, Morton said that the City of Odessa would utilize Fort Stockton’s existing desalination plant and build a pipeline from Fort Stockton to Odessa.

“The pipeline would be longer, that’s a negative,” Morton said. “(But) if the water quality’s better, the treatment cost will offset the cost of the pipe.”

Morton said he hopes the study will begin soon after the cities adopt an interlocal agreement.

“Time is of the essence. We’d like to get it done a lot sooner than two months,” Morton said.

Meanwhile, Morton said city officials are working simultaneously on their desalination project which would clean water from the Ward County well fields owned by the Colorado River Municipal Water District. Ward County also lies over a portion of the Capitan Reef Aquifer.

The City of Odessa’s desalination evaluation committee recently chose Austin’s Texas Aqua Partners to build their proposed desalination plant in Ward County, Morton said.

Texas Aqua Partners agreed to charge the City of Odessa a rate of $4.80 per thousand gallons of water.

“We liked their ideas in dealing with the H2S (hydrogen sulfide) gas that’s in the water, and we liked their proposed pricing,” Morton said.

Texas Aqua Partners also proposed selling brine from the cleaned water to oil companies to use rather than injecting it into a deep well, Morton said.

“That helps lower costs,” Morton said.

The desalination evaluation committee will meet with Texas Aqua Partners representatives today to discuss contract options and moving forward on the project, Morton said.

The ODC will also vote on amending the Summit Texas Clean Energy Economic Development Agreement.

ODC members will decide to change the date of the Summit Power Group’s financial closing from March 1 to March 1, 2013 and the date of full employment from Dec. 31, 2014 to March 1, 2017.

The ODC last approved an amendment on their Summit contract in February.

Summit recently found funding from Chinese companies Sinopec Engineering and Export-Import Bank of China for their coal gasification plant to be built in Penwell.

Summit officials said in a previous Odessa American interview that the $2.5 million plant is expected to break ground in early 2013.

Odessa City Council approved the agreement Tuesday.

City Attorney Larry Long said that usually agreements, such as Summit’s, would be considered by ODC first then the City Council, but all is required is that the two entities approve the same agreement.

“They’re both required to independently approve it,” Long said.

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