For this small town in Mills County, drinking water is a topic of daily conversation. Of the 100 residential members and the 130 staff and student population, all of them are forced to locate drinking water from a variety of sources. While the school district purchases drinking water from a third-party provider and occasionally uses a permitted water system; the residents of the community depend on bottled water purchased out of town and private wells that are for non-potable water use only. The community recognizes that a safe and affordable drinking water source is essential for their future, and is looking to CECorps volunteer assistance to provide them with a path forward.

Project Background

The residential community partners in Mills County do not currently share a centralized water system and access their water sources through private shallow wells or by purchase bottled water from the nearby town.  The local school, on the other hand, has access to a TCEQ permitted well, but nitrate levels impact the quality of the water and frequently make the water unsafe and nonpotable. To counterbalance the water system irregularities the school purchases water bottles and water jugs from the town or a third party supplier.  All of these options have allowed the community to sustain their water needs, but are costly and an insecure source for future use.

Project Scope

The scope of work is to analyze the potential alternatives for financing and construction of a potable water system that would satisfy the needs of both the town and the school. The scope would include evaluating alternatives from a perspective of cost and operations and presenting those options in a public forum. In addition, it will include detailed designs sufficient for the community to apply for grants or loans to finance the construction of whatever alternative is decided upon.

About the Community

As of 2017, the most common occupation reported was employment within the school district. Making this project a high priority for sustaining this community.  With approximately 15% of the population below the poverty line and a median household income of $28,182, assisting this community with pro-bono engineering can help to relieve their dependency on alternate water sources and improve their infrastructure.