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Page 169
A History of Austin's Newest General Aviation Airport
W. H
Chapter 9
pond. Bob Nelesen worked up an estimate for
the detention pond idea that included a 12-
inch fire line; three fire hydrants; a massive
fire flow pump; a wet well, intake screen, and
discharge header (basically a series of pumps
and pipes that gathered water from the pond
into the surge tank), and a 300-kilovolt back-
up generator. The whole detention pond pack-
age came to $935,000.
Bob thought the detention pond a bad idea
for several reasons: The pump system was
complex and costly, the well itself had to be
huge (20 feet deep and 10 feet across), and
code required that the pumps be in a temper-
ature controlled enclosure. Again, more cost.
At one point, someone, Bob I think, recom-
mended talking with our local water supplier,
Manville Water Supply Corporation, and de-
termining if we could tap into their existing
water line. I scheduled the meeting, and while
I was far from convinced an oversized water
line was needed, and in order to prevent even
more delays, I asked Bob to prepare prelimi-
nary drawings showing a new water line from
the main water supply on Fuchs Grove Road
to the proposed new terminal building.
Another Bad Idea:
The Bird's Nest Fire Brigade
In March I stumbled upon another option.
Hidden deep inside the International Fire
Code was a section on exemptions. The ex-
emption that applied to the Austin Executive
Airport read, "An industrial facility (like an
airport) that has a fire brigade that conforms
to the requirements of the Occupational and
Health and Safety Administration" did not
have to comply with fire code. I asked Andy
Perry to do some research into the pros and
cons of a volunteer fire department and let
me know what he found.
A week later Andy sent me an e-mail sug-
gesting that a volunteer fire department was
a sketchy notion on several fronts: a) even if
we put a department in place, there was no
guarantee the County Fire Marshal or the
City would stop pestering us, b) it was pos-
sible to countermand fire marshal authority,
but we'd need a judge to make a formal rul-
ing on the matter, c) we'd need a boatload
of liability insurance to cover employees and
volunteer firemen who got hurt on the job,
and d) we had to consider the cost of train-
ing volunteers and of whatever special equip-
ment was required to make such a willy-nilly
department capable of putting out a fire in the
event we actually needed them to do so.
The fire brigade idea was out.
A New Water Line Layout
In March I received a tentative water line
layout and construction drawings from Bob
Nelesen that showed a 10,000-foot crooked
line from Fuchs Grove Road to the proposed
terminal building. Now all we had to do was
determine the most cost-effective way to get
the new water line installed. If we built the
new line according to the City of Austin's
gold-plated specifications, the cost would
run us twice the normal rate. Or we could go
another way and ask Manville Water Supply
Corporation, who had jurisdiction on instal-