Record heat, no cold water in Poth

Residents report problem is year-round due to deep water wells

Published On: Jun 26 2012 05:22:22 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 26 2012 01:54:12 PM CDT
POTH, Texas -

Almost as far back as anyone can remember, many at the Circle G Restaurant in Poth, located southeast of San Antonio, said they’ve never had cold water come out of their faucets.

Even when he lived in Poth before 1975, Joe Wiakrek said, “You got to cool it down in the tub or something. It’ll burn you.”

“Almost unbearable. It’s hot,” said Minnie Antuna.

Her husband, Gilbert, also said, “If you water the grass during the day or in the morning, you take a bath at night, it’s really hot.”

Kenneth Griffin, the town’s public works director, said high water usage is part of the problem.

Griffin said the water in its holding tanks doesn’t have time to cool off, so temperatures can run in the mid-90s or hotter, yet somewhat cooler than the 120 to 130 degrees when water is pumped out of its wells that go down a mile or more.

Even at that depth, he said the earth’s molten core has an effect on the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, the town’s primary water source.

He said four aerators usually are able to cool down the water by 15 degrees, but he agrees the water is certainly warm.

In hopes of finally dealing with the long-running problem, Griffin said the city will be buying an additional aerator and storage tank, plus drill another well, but it may not be until next fall or the spring 2014.

With a population of 1,907 and a budget about as small, Griffin said the city of Poth has adopted a pay-as-it-goes policy.

“We don’t believe in going in debt,” Griffin said.

He said thankfully, the town will be generating more revenue for the needed improvements by selling its wastewater to oil companies for use in fracking.

Johnny de la Cerda, a longtime resident, said that’s fine, “but instead of doing aesthetic things to be eye-pleasing to Poth, they need to take care of citizens who have been established here for years.”

Griffin said, “We have a park budget, we have a street budget, that we cannot use for water.”

Joe McKinney, another Poth resident, said he agrees with the city’s approach, besides he doesn’t like cold showers anyway.

“I like to take hot showers so I just turn on the cold water and it’s warm,” McKinney said. “It’s great!”

Although McKinney also said it could be too warm for children.

De la Cerda said at times the water temperature is as high as 106 degrees, too hot for his 87-year-old father.

“We just feel that’s not right,” De la Cerda said. “We need something done and something done pretty quick.”