Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A burning pile of mulch X

Well, just when the firefighters get ready to start battling the Helotes mulch fire again, the local water system pulls the plug.

Or maybe the metaphor should be, plugs up the pipe.


SAN ANTONIO -- San Antonio Water System board members on Tuesday denied a request for 300,000 gallons of water to help fight a huge mulch fire in Helotes.

Board members apparently were concerned how runoff might affect the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone, KSAT 12 News reported.

The decision came hours before a contractor was going to resume efforts to fight the blaze, which has been burning since Christmas Day.

Ever get the feeling that what's needed most for this situation is some real leadership? Right now, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, SAWS, Helotes officials, Bexar County Commissioners, and just about everyone else is bumping heads over this fire. It's past time someone took charge and just got the thing done without worrying about stepping on any toes.

UPDATE: And BexarMet, a rival water company, steps in to save the day.

SAN ANTONIO -- BexarMet announced Tuesday that it would provide water to extinguish a Helotes mulch fire after San Antonio Water System board members voted to deny a request for 300,000 gallons of water.

BexarMet spokesman T.J. Connolly said BexarMet is obligated to help their neighbors in need.

"This is one of the most challenging environmental problems we've seen in this area in decades, and the idea that SAWS would cut and run and not help their neighbors is inexcusable."

And SAWS is upset.

UPDATE II: Yet, the ineptness goes on (from the Express-News) as the state can't make up its mind: "Vulcan Materials, which operates a nearby quarry, has water on site and Bexar Metropolitan Water District has offered to help, but the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality hasn't decided which water supply it will use."

And the Feds wait in the wings: "At any time, the state could call on the federal government for help. The Environmental Protection Agency says it's monitoring the fire, but the TCEQ hasn't asked for its help."

As I said, this situation needs leadership.

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