KEMPNER — A six-month “fact-finding mission” for a possible sale is over after the Kempner Water Supply Corporation board of directors voted 5-4 on Wednesday to end discussions with two potential buyers for the troubled group.
The board voted to rescind a previous motion made in November to direct manager Delores Atkinson to pursue a possible sale with two multi-state water corporations — SouthWest Water Company and Undine, LLC — after the companies approached the group unsolicited.
Board president George Gondorchin and directors Mack Carroll, Ric Dominowski, Glenn Posey and Vanita Craft voted to end the sale process. Vice President Nancy Carothers, secretary Damon Cleaton, and directors Orville Maaninga and George McClintock voted to continue pursuing the sale.
Cleation said he felt the corporation had only performed a cursory review of a possible sale and needed to do its “due diligence” before ending discussion over the sale.
“We have talked to one prospective buyer, and I don’t think we’ve done our due diligence,” Cleaton said. “Not that I want to sell or keep Kempner water, but we should do our homework.”
Posey said the corporation was still financially stable and didn’t see the necessity of pursuing a sale.
“It seems we’re in good financial health — I don’t see the reason to sell it now,” Posey said.
The decision not to sell comes on the heels of the corporation’s recent violation of federal limits on haloacetic acids in its drinking water supply.
In April, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality cited the corporation for haloacetic acid levels higher than the Environmental Protection Agency-mandated limits in four tests March 1. In one sample, chemical levels were nearly three times higher than the limit of 0.06 milligrams per liter.
In response, Atkinson issued an alert on the group’s website saying results from a second set of water samples were pending after elevated samples were taken in March. She has not responded to multiple calls and emails from the Herald about the violation.
On Wednesday, Gondorchin said the corporation was “at the mercy of the TCEQ” in respect to possible violations and fiscal penalities from the violation. The corporation has not yet received a formal notice of enforcement, he said.