Construction crew working on water lines

A construction crew works on a water pipe in La Marque. The city has received a $350,000 grant that officials said would help pay for more repairs to the aging water system.


The city of La Marque has landed a $350,000 state grant that will help it improve an aging distribution system that’s losing more than half the water passing through it, officials said.

The city council accepted the Texas Department of Agriculture Community Development Block Grant on Feb. 12 with the goal of updating aging water pipes and reducing the amount of water escaping the system, city officials said.

La Marque isn’t the only city dealing with aged, leaky water systems. Across Galveston County, the equivalent of nearly 3,000 Olympic-size swimming pools of water escapes from leaks or disruptions in distribution systems yearly, according to a previous Daily News analysis of water audit reports kept by the Texas Water Development Board.

La Marque is losing about 56 percent of its water to leaks and breaks in the system, according to a 2014 water loss audit report.

The grant will help pay for improving the existing water system and help the city expand the system to serve new residents moving in, Mayor Bobby Hocking said.

“We are in a building spurt, so we have some growing pains but that’s not necessarily a bad thing,” he said. “We are having to provide new services to the hundreds of homes coming in and replacing aging infrastructure. People deserve to have their sewer services updated as well.”

Repairing the water system would be a long-term project, Les Rumburg, the director of public services for La Marque, said.

“La Marque has a lot of infrastructure needs because the infrastructure has been ignored for several years and we’re playing catch up,” he said. “We had a study conducted last year that indicated that we needed to budget for the next 10 years to replace water lines.”

The city staff would make a plan about which water lines should be replaced in selected parts of town and it will be up to city council to approve that through the budget, Rumburg said.

La Marque was experiencing a problem common to older cities, Hocking said.

“We are currently in the process of replacing sewer lines in other places of town,” he said. “A lot of it is over 70 years old. Through the years, we are just going to have to replace all of it anyway.”

Connor Behrens: 409-683-5241;


Before coming to work for The Daily News as a staff reporter, he worked for us as a freelance correspondent the past year. He has written for publications like the Washington Post. “Galveston County is full of interesting stories and perspectives,”

(7) comments

Doug Sivyer

This is ridiculous to loose this water to leakage. No wonder 80% of the ground area I La Marque is constantly saturated with water. Poor government and poor city management.

sheryl tillson

I have serious doubts that very little of the money will be used in OLD La Marque if any - where the major leaks are.

Lois J Carelock

Where was the picture taken?

Mike Trube

It's my understanding that the leak coming from the pipe going to the old Motco site is still leaking. Their attempt to fix it failed. The city council should put more pressure on the administration to take these leaks more serious. Can we really afford the fine of $10,000 per day for not finding the funding to take care of this problem? When this came before council when I was there, the cost estimate was 7 million. But it seems odd they could come up with funds to hire more police officers and build a new fire station. And it doesn't help to install new water meters and fail to charge people for water usage. There's a lot that needs to be fixed at city hall.

sheryl tillson

Compare the leaks to the physical condition of the old LMISD schools which were neglected and high salaries at their admin were over the top. End result - there is no longer a LMISD and now there is discussion of demolishing three of the schools. It seems the city is following very closely in their footsteps.

Mike Trube

And what was council thinking when they voted to rent those flooded buildings on Delaney Rd. for $10,000 a month? Is that really the best way to spend our tax dollars? If the city chooses to not purchase them, then the city will lose all the money from the lease agreement. But we can't find the money to fix the infrastructure? If this kind of thinking and actions continue, I agree, we will end up being officially owned by Texas City. Just like the school district. Council is doing nothing to keep this town from sinking.

sheryl tillson

Renting with the option to buy at $10,000 a month - for buildings that FLOOD!! WOW - do the folks that run the City of LM have any common sense much less any education?? It does not appear to be true. I guess it is the same as their idea of "Revitalization of LM" I have a hard time envisioning folks heading downtown to have coffee and lunch while viewing the overgrown weeds, lots, and trash just to mention a few of the unsightly. (When you are only concerned with collecting a paycheck - I see where they hire in their allusion.

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