Orange County escaped a burn ban for another week after commissioners heard from Jeff Kelley, emergency management coordinator, in special session Monday.

Kelley said a 14-day outlook shows the county at the Keetch-Byram Drought Index’s 600-700 level, just one below the most extreme level of 700-800; while the same projection shows Jefferson and Hardin counties in the latter’s range.
The county is about 14 inches behind regular rainfall levels, “so the emerging drought appears to be just that – emerging,” he said, also noting a 20-acre fire in Mauriceville over the weekend.

“We have a pretty good chance of rain over the next two days,” he said. “If that occurs, and it’s fairly widespread then that should retard this just a little bit. But we’re still heading down the same path and if we don’t get that rain – next week I can almost guarantee I’ll be recommending a burn ban.”

Waste water report
Precinct 3 Commissioner John Dubose was appointed to a steering committee dedicated to the Orange County Regional Wastewater Project.

The court heard from the Sabine River Authority’s Bill Hughes and Rick Bourque with Schaumberg and Polk regarding the early phase of a study that could lead to consolidating the Jackson Street water plant along with a new one being built in Orangefield.

That could also mean running lines to new areas not presently serviced.
A 30-year cost survey found that a regional system would result in savings for plants in Orangefield, Pinehurst and Orange County WCID No. 2, but not for the cities of Bridge City and Orange.

The systems studied were built between the ‘60s and ‘80s, with some upgrades in the ‘90s. The Bridge City system had some equipment replaced in 2009.

County Judge Carl Thibodeaux noted that the study didn’t take into account systems in Mauriceville and Vidor, and that any regional system would need to include more than just the eastern portion of Orange County.

Commissioners do not oversee water issues, however, could be appointed the governing body if a regional system is created.

Birthday wishes
Court members and several county employees wished Precinct 1 Commissioner David Dubose a happy 60th birthday with a red, white and blue cake. He said he looked forward to the next 10 years and joked that the surprise celebration was a “great way to butter me up for whatever ya’ll want.”