Water system in San Augustine County to receive major upgrade thanks to federal grant

Updated: Oct. 28, 2020 at 6:23 PM CDT
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SAN AUGUSTINE, Texas (KTRE) - Long overdue upgrades to a water distribution system in San Augustine County could begin before the end of the year. The needed repairs are typical to the kinds of problems rural water supply corporations deal with every day.

“This award is just huge for us,” commented Charles Sharp, manager of San Augustine County Rural Water Supply Corporation.

“Three-million dollars in grant. A million dollars in loan. It’s money that doesn’t come around too often in San Augustine,” he said.

The funding is from the USDA, whose representatives were in town Wednesday to ceremonially announce the award’s purpose.

“I looked at it, it sounds like it had just gotten out of date,” said USDA state director Edd Hargett.

“These are late ’60s, early ’70s technology,” said Sharp, pointing to a pumping system.

“And they’re going back in and replacing a lot of pipe,” shared Hargett.

All undersized, inefficient pipes will be replaced with water saving pipes.

In addition, says Sharp, “The pumps will be doubled in size, bigger lines will leave here and it will actually take more people than it does now.”

That’s over 600 customers.

Right now, the households rely on water purchased from the city of San Augustine at an annual cost of about $300,000. Eventually, the corporation will distribute its own water from wells.

“We plan on three. This location and two others,” said Sharp from a plant south of downtown Nacogdoches.

In 2019 one distribution plant was destroyed by a tornado.

“We have made emergency repairs there, but part of this money will be spent to revamp that water plant.”

That will serve many rebuilt homes in the area.

Following a streak of bad luck caused by a series of natural disasters, Sharp says the opportunity to better serve rural customers comes at the right time.

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