NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The East Texas region is blessed with an abundance of rivers, streams and lakes. A government agency responsible for their protection is the Angelina and Neches River Authority (ANRA).
Next week the central office in Lufkin won't be providing any public services, but for a very good reason.
ANRA is moving into a new building that will enhance the important services it provides toward water quality and conservation.
To appreciate the significance of the Angelina and Neches River Authority’s new building on North John Redditt Drive, you must understand the limitations of the old city building which the government agency occupied since 1971.
It was once a jail. Even a morgue. Lab technician Sheri Smith and about 20 other ANRA employees are dying to leave jail cell work spaces.
“It's gonna be great," said Smith.
The new lab is cleaner and more efficient. Combined with roomier administration space there's the ability to expand and improve services for the 17 counties ANRA serves.
“We have the capacity to double the volume and the types of tests we want to run in the future," said ANRA general manager Kelley Holcomb.
There will no longer be the need to send certain tests out to other labs. When a city, wastewater treatment plant or even property owners bring in samples, all necessary tests can be performed in a central location. Then the data, including that for the Texas Clean Rivers Program, is recorded by the state.
“If you go fishing, you want to make sure the water is clean. If you're out there in the river duck hunting or any recreational activities you want to know you're not going to, or at least have a better chance, of not coming down with some bacterial infection or flesh eating disease," said Holcomb.
There is now space for public education for important lessons.
“Just the knowledge base of why we're supposed to be conserving the resources that the Legislature created us to conserve," explained Holcomb.
Timely issues ahead of ANRA board members and staff include flood control in primarily the southeast region of their service area.
The downtown location will be closed Monday thru Friday of next week. The new office at 2901 North John Redditt Drive will open to the public on March 25.