City to study options for “sand pit”

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In early 2013 the City of Manvel executed a purchase agreement for a commercially operated sand pit on CR 58 (Croix Rd), just west of CR 90 (DelBello Rd). The total land area acquired was 108 acres with the actual pit consisting of 100 acres and the remaining land with frontage along CR 58 containing the sand mining equipment. The pit is estimated to have a depth of 70 to 80 feet. The city paid $2,160,000.00 for the property; $160,000 was paid in cash with the balance to be paid over twenty years at a cost of approximately $140,000 per year.

At the time of purchase, City Manager Kyle Jung described possible uses for the property as detention for storm water, storage of surface water, a possible location of a surface water treatment plant, storage of water from the Gulf Coast Water Authority, and/or a city recreational facility. Jung claimed then another benefit to the acquisition as likely preventing its possible use as a landfill. It was explained that the seller preferred it not be used in that way and the city’s acquisition stopped that prospect.

According to information from Wesson Sand, the company managing the mining operation, most all of the available sand has been mined from the property and their operations will cease shortly. The City will assume full control of any activity on the property as soon as the operator removes their equipment and ceases operations.

Kyle Jung explained that the City has received approximately $28,000 in payments from the operator in 2015, the first year the City has received any payments from activity on the property. The earning of those funds will sufficiently cover the costs to contract a study on development options for the pit.

At its recent meeting, Manvel city council authorized INTERA Geoscience & Engineering Solutions to prepare a report presenting short and long term goals for the property. The short term goal is to determine the most beneficial use of the available water produced from the pit by determining state permitting requirements, water quality, and available volume of water. The long term goal is to develop the site to the greatest benefit for the city and is necessarily dependent on the results of the short term goal just described. Possible site development options could include on-site treatment facilities to serve local customers, or to use the site as a water supply reservoir/recreational facility, or a combination of the two. The group will begin their work in June and it is expected to require approximately 4-6 weeks to complete.

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