Local water district officials expect to decide in mid-July how far new regulations on docks at Lake Brownwood will go.
Members of the board of directors of the Brown County Water Improvement District No. 1 discussed Tuesday to what degree new rules should require the use of incapsulated foam, instead of the cheaper foam flotation materials that aren’t encased in plastic.
Those proposals are being considered after a severe storm May 8 that damaged hundreds of docks along the lake’s shore. Some of them are elaborate house docks valued at more than $100,000 with enclosures that allow overnight stays.
Directors considered recommendations from General Manager Dennis Spinks at their Tuesday meeting, but decided to wait until next month’s meeting — scheduled July 14 — to vote.
Spinks proposed a rule that would require all new dock construction to use encapsulated foam. Standard “white foam” would have allowed for repairs of grandfathered docks previously built with the older. Repairs would be defined as anything less than a 50 percent replacement.
But several directors said if the district is moving to eliminate white foam entirely, this could be the time to require it for any construction.
Information received by the board indicates that Corps of Engineers lakes already require encapsulated foam, and the same will soon be true at Lake Brownwood State Park. Dock contractors are also encouraging owners who hire them to use it, the board was told, even though it costs almost twice as much. Encapsulated foam resists weathering and damage from contaminants such as fuel.
The product also resists contaminating the lake itself, because manufacturers specify bolting the foam to the dock and pieces don’t break off as readily when damaged.
“We still have white foam all around the lake from that storm,” Spinks told the board. “It’s going to be out there for a long while. It might take a year before it’s all picked up.”
Spinks also proposed a new rule for docks that would require all dock owners to install within one year cables under dock stiff arms to prevent excessive rocking when lake waters are choppy. Spinks said many docks were tossed so violently May 8 that they landed upside down. Others broke free, creating a domino effect of damage up and down the shoreline.
Water district officials urged those interested in the issue to either share their thoughts with the district office in coming weeks, or to appear at the July water board meeting.
Spinks said almost 970 docks are permitted at Lake Brownwood, with perhaps two a week being added, including replacements to docks damaged in the storm.
In other business, the water board
• Heard a presentation by risk assessment consultant Richard Wigzell with the Texas Water Conservation Association regarding risks of all types and liabilities the district faces. After a visit of almost three days examining how the district operates, Wigzell offered a report of 17 points and recommendations he said he hoped district officials would consider.
• Approved the sale of Lot 12EA at Robertson Point to John and Ruth Sparks for the appraised market value of $4,900, and the sale of Lots 26 and 27 at Robertson Point to Sam and Leah Geer for appraised value of $8,300 and $8,900, respectively. The board also approved the cancellation of multiple year residential leases for Lots 3A, 4A and 5A at Peninsula Subdivision in the name of Horse Feathers Inc., and the issue of new leases for the same lots to Terry McDonald and Pam Carpenter McDonald.
• Agreed not to pursue an offer regarding a mineral rights lease on the district’s property at its treatment plant site.
• Approved a one-year license agreement to Blake Holleman doing business as BLH Mountain View L.L.C. for rental of Jet Skis, rental boats and related water craft at Lake Brownwood State Park.
• Approved a request from Joe and Jackie Berryman of Flat Rock Park to hold a fireworks display on July 4 at that location. The board noted that a growing number of displays being planned by groups of residents might stretch the resources of the Lake Patrol, because the district feels it is important to have law enforcement presence at displays to which the public is invited.
• Discussed the need for prompt repairs to the district’s maintenance building on Riverside Park after roof and water damage estimated at approximately $80,000 was sustained during the May 8 storm.
• Agreed to provide the Lower Colorado River Authority with information from a May 1999 yield study prepared by Freese and Nichols to assist with regional planning, with the notation that a new study will be made by the Texas Water Development Board in August or September.
• Received a report from surveyor Don King showing that the district does not own any property on the eastern shore of Big Rocky. Spinks said that conclusion should prevent the potential of some difficult legal complications.