Fresh eyes will be looking at an ongoing problem with a mixer at the new water treatment plant, members of the board of directors of the Brown County Water Improvement District No. 1 were told Tuesday.

“We just can’t understand why this is not working with the mixer we had, or without a mixer,” Dennis Spinks, district general manager, said. “It should work in theory, but theory or not, it’s not working.”

Freese and Nichols, who designed the plant, have asked an engineer with experience in the new membrane technology utilized by the plant to examine it. Spinks said he is expected to be in Brownwood within two weeks.

If the consulting engineers are unable to resolve the problem, water district officials said they favor hiring an outside consultant of their own.

“There’s a way to make this work,” Spinks said. “Freese and Nichols has done a good job in the past, but I think what they’ve gotten into here is outside their usual realm.”

Spinks said this is the first membrane type treatment system Freese and Nichols has designed.

“Freese and Nichols’ reputation is at stake with this plant,” Spinks said. “It’s not just the money for them.”

Still, Spinks said, “Someone is going to have to take some responsibility other than the water district.”

District legal counsel suggested putting an item to consider hiring a consultant on the October board meeting agenda if the problem can’t be resolved by then.

Renovations at the older “west” water treatment plant are scheduled to begin soon, officials said, and the new plant needs to be fully operational to produce water for wholesale customers like the City of Brownwood, City of Bangs and Brookesmith Special Utility District.

In other business Tuesday, the water board:

• Approved the hiring of the Burl Lowery and Associates accounting firm as its independent auditor, for a cost not to exceed $12,000 — $1,000 more than last year.

• Approved a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity for the Brookesmith Special Utility District that overlaps the district’s treatment plant area. Spinks said since the district does not contemplate making retail sales of treated water, he does not see a conflict. The action helps align Brookesmith SUD’s certificate with the lines they have in place, Spinks said.