Contractor hired to connect homes to new Palmview sewer system is behind schedule

The contractor hired to connect homes to the new Palmview sewer system is running more than two months behind schedule, Agua Special Utility District engineer Emigdio “Milo” Salinas told the utility board last week.

Agua SUD hired Mission-based construction company Mor-Wil to connect homes to the new sewer system.

“They’re about two-and-a-half months behind,” said utility board Director Lloyd Loya.

Mor-Wil didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Work on the sewer connections started in July, according to documents released under the Texas Public Information Act. The North American Development Bank provided $6 million for the project, which will provide nearly 2,000 homes with sewer service.

Palmview was among the largest urbanized areas in Texas without a sewer system, which forced residents to rely on septic tanks and hindered commercial development.

On Feb. 4, when he briefed the utility board, Salinas said Mor-Wil had installed 629 sewer lines. Of them, 315 were fully operational.

Mor-Wil had also pumped out 226 septic tanks. Of them, 163 had been fully decommissioned.

“Right now, the contractor is approximately 37% complete based on services. Based on time, they should be 65% complete. So they’re approximately 20% behind,” Salinas said. “We are trying to stay on top of them to put the foot on the gas pedal a little bit, but at the same time we prefer quality over quantity.”

Salinas briefed the utility board again on March 4.

Mor-Wil had installed 687 sewer lines, Salinas said, an increase of 58 since February. Of them, 397 were fully operational.

The company had also pumped out 290 septic tanks, an increase of 64 since February. Of them, 215 had been fully decommissioned.

“January and February were extremely slow,” Salinas told the utility board, but work accelerated during the past few weeks.

Nine crews are installing sewer lines, Salinas said, and two additional crews are focused on decommissioning septic tanks.

Delays installing home connections were caused in part by delays with the sewer system itself. Construction on the sewer system wasn’t finished when Mor-Wil started connecting homes.

Mercedes-based L&G Construction built one section of the sewer system. Edinburg-based OG Construction built another.

Agua SUD hired Mor-Wil to connect the sewer system to homes.

“When they first started, L&G was not ready yet and so they were installing the services but not connecting them,” Salinas told the utility board on March 4. “And they had to go back and do all those.”

Another company took over the section of the sewer system assigned to OG Construction, which still isn’t completed.

Loya said he’s optimistic the project will gradually speed up and be completed in a timely manner.

“They’re a good contractor,” Loya said. “And they will get the job done.”

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