Old sewer ponds to be made into wetlands

SAN BENITO — After eight years, a model project is turning more old sewer ponds into wetlands developed to help clean the waters of the Arroyo Colorado.

Now, the city plans to fill 10 new ponds in the area targeted as the future site of a nature park off Line 20 Road near Williams Road, just northeast of the San Benito Veterans Memorial Academy campus.

The city will use a $6,000 grant from the Texas General Land Office to buy a pump to fill the ponds, part of a 165-acre site being transformed into a wetlands area.

The wetlands will help clean agricultural runoff discharged into the Arroyo Colorado, the General Land Office states in its website.

The money to buy the pump is part of a $100,000 grant used to fund the second phase of the program launched in 2009.

The project stems from the city’s response to a hefty fine.

In 2005, the state fined the city about $3 million for discharging inadequately treated sewer water into the Arroyo Colorado, officials said.

As part of an agreement, the state agreed to waive payment if the city launched a project to turn its old sewer ponds into wetlands, officials said.