To avoid this cost, Water Utilities Director Hani Tohme said the city built Cattail Marsh.
"The choice was made at the time to go ahead and do the wetlands because it was cheaper and an environmentally friendly project," Tohme
Years later, the marsh's $12 million infusion in 2007 completely revamped each of the eight cells within the marsh.
These cells were dredged and their topsoils replaced to allow for a better control of flow into and out of the system.
"On average and in general approximately, every 20 years you go through your wetland system and rehab them," Tohme
In order to further rehabilitate the marsh, Water Utilities Director Hani Tohme said the city applied for and received an out-of-the-ordinary four and a half-year extension to complete its rehabilitation.
"Getting the first three years was just amazing," Tohme
said of the TCEQ's decision.
"Nobody could believe we got an extension that long.
But they understand what we do."
According to the TCEQ, Beaumont received another 1.5-year extension, which will expire June 30, 2013.
and other water utility officials said part of the reason regulators deem the waterway impaired is the TCEQ is using old data from the Hildebrandt Bayou to determine the effectiveness of Beaumont's Cattail Marsh in cleansing the area's water.
"We're going to start exploding the wetlands in terms of putting it out there as a tourist attraction," Tohme
"It's the type of industry where the people in it are usually retired, older, well established financially and they can afford to come and stay in Beaumont two or three days," Tohme
said of birdwatchers.
also plans to use oil royalty money from the municipal airport to build an educational center near the wetlands to accommodate tens of thousands of BISD students every year who aren't able to see the at-capacity Shangri La Botanical Gardens.
The push for marketing the marsh will also include billboards on Interstate 10, Tohme