A project designed to provide clean drinking water for more than 100 people in rural Nueces County has finally received a contractor.

Ram-Bro Construction Inc. of Robstown was selected over four other bidders for the construction of a water distribution system for San Petronilla Estates 2. The area is located on County Road 63, just outside Petronilla in rural Nueces County.

The county had gone out for bids in February and approved a 12-month extension in June for the project's completion, due to delays in acquiring easements from landowners in the proposed construction site.

A $563,000 grant awarded to the county in 2006 from the Office of Rural Community Affairs is being used to fund the project, which will take place in two parts, county officials have said.

At a July 23 meeting, Nueces County Commissioners approved Ram-Bro Construction's selection, but not without a bit of hesitation. Precinct 4 Commissioner Chuck Cazalas abstained from the vote, since he serves on ORCA, and County Judge Loyd Neal voted against the selection.

Commissioners Betty Jean Longoria, Oscar Ortiz and Peggy Banales voted in favor of Ram-Bro Construction's selection.

Neal said he voted against the selection because Ram-Bro Construction had not signed all of the required paperwork that is submitted with all incoming bids.

"Once you start making exceptions, you open yourself up for making exceptions on everything," the county judge said. "In order to be qualified, you have to do the qualifying things."

The first phase will include installing new pipes to the area that will carry water to about 100 residents in the area. Presently, those residents are reliant on well water for their drinking water, which is not treated by a water treatment plant like most urban areas.

The second phase will include the installation of a line needed to integrate the new lines into Violet Water Supply's system.

The San Petronilla Estates 2 project is one of three the county is working on. Work on installing new water lines in the Twin Lakes Subdivision in Calallen has not begun yet, and contractors have been given the notice to proceed in the Rose Acres Colonia in Corpus Christi.

The work in the San Petronilla Estates 2 project will only be for new water lines to be installed. Waste disposal lines will not be included, but may be looked at in the future, county officials have said.

Violet Water Supply will incorporate the new lines into the water company's existing water lines after the county is done with their project. The company's work will be paid for through a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


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