Water Treatment,Quality, & Distribution
WATER TREATMENT & WATER QUALITY:
East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District (ECCFWSD) operates two water treatment plants. The McKay Water Treatment Plant (WTP) provides water to customers in the southern portion of the district and the Brookshire WTP services customers in the northern sector.
The McKay WTP, located off Hwy 198 just prior to entering the City of Enchanted Oaks, has been in operation for approximately 6 ½ years. With its capacity and modern state-of-the-art design, the plant will serve the district’s needs well into the future.
The McKay plant has a water treatment capacity of 1.73 million gallons per day; the highest peak capacity day in 2008 -2009 fiscal year was recorded as 680,000 gallons. Two ground storage tanks and one elevated water tower provide a treated water storage capacity of 587,000 gallons.
The Brookshire WTP, located off Welch Lane in Gun Barrel City, is more than 20 years old. In 2009 the final phase of the Bond projects to double the treatment capacity of plant from 2.0 million gallons per day (MGD) to 4.0 MGD was completed. Upgrades to the older treatment segments of the plant, funded by District Operation Reserve Funds should be completed before 2011 peak summer demand season begins. Once this upgrade is complete the plant will provide quality service and capacity for many years to come. The highest peak capacity day in 2008-2009 for the Brookshire Water Treatment Plant was recorded as 1,400,000 gallons. Once the final upgrades are completed the facility will be at full capacity of 4.0 MGD.
The water treatment process is the same at both plants. The raw water pumps withdraw water from Cedar Creek Reservoir directly to the plants with screening in place to prevent debris from entering the plants.
At the plants, coagulation, sedimentation and filtration occur to settle and remove suspended matter from the water. Just prior to raw water entering the plant clarifiers, a chemical coagulant is added to cause organic (algae, bacteria, etc.) and inorganic (sand, metals, plastic, etc.) matter to become heavy enough to settle by gravity to the bottom of these sedimentation tanks or clarifiers.
Water is skimmed off the top of the clarifiers and routed to the plant filters, the last step in the removal of suspended solids. The filters contain layers of anthracite (granular charcoal), sand, and gravel which essentially duplicate the filtering process that naturally occurs when surface water percolates through the soil to replenish underground aquifers.
Most of the water impurities are removed in the clarifiers by the sedimentation process with plant filters removing the rest. Remaining microscopic / bacteriological concerns are controlled by chemical disinfectants.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has established high standards for water quality. They monitor performance and periodically inspect for compliance.
Water quality measurements are taken every four hours at the Brookshire and McKay plants. Both plants are always well above treatment compliance standards with water quality measurements meeting all major maximum contaminant level standards. The plants are working diligently to constantly meet all MCL’s.
The plants are equipped with computer-controlled systems which call out alarms if a chemical imbalance or other disruption occurs in the water treatment process. The plants have assigned licensed operators during normal working hours. Qualified on-call staffs are prepared to react to any alarm after normal working hours or on weekends.
From the plant filters, transfer pumps move treated water to ground storage tanks and then on to the water tower as customer demand is placed on the water distribution system. The elevated storage provides the necessary water pressure on the linear water distribution lines to reach district customers.
East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District (ECCFWSD) operates two separate water distribution systems, one in the northern section of the district and one in the southern sector.
In the north, treated water from the Brookshire Water Treatment Plant (WTP) is pumped to a 500,000-gallon water tower. The elevated storage provides the necessary pressure to fill linear distribution lines out to the far reaches of the sector.
A similar process occurs in the southern portion of the district. Treated water is pumped from the McKay WTP to a 250,000-gallon water tower and then out into the linear distribution lines as customer demands are placed on the system.
Main water lines are laid generally along road easements out to the perimeter of a distribution system. The diameter of water main lines used in the district range from 12 inches down to two inches with individual service lines to customers usually sized at one inch or ¾ inch.
The district strives to “loop” its water distribution lines to avoid dead ends. A “looped” system assists in maintaining disinfectant residual in the water which in the reduction of routine flushing and reduces the fluctuation in water pressure.
Much of the district’s service area include subdivisions built on the numerous inlets of Cedar Creek Reservoir and desired “looping” was not always achieved at the time these subdivisions were developed. As the district absorbed these systems over the years, the dead end water mains came with them.
To enhance water quality, flush valves are installed throughout a water distribution system and at the end of each dead end main line. Flush valves at dead end locations are flushed at monthly intervals or more frequently if water quality complaints are received from customers or if disinfectant residuals fall below acceptable levels.
Keeping up with repairs to water leaks in the distribution systems is a daily challenge. With usually two to six new water leaks reported daily in the district, a two-person water line maintenance team works full time and often overtime, to keep up with the workload.
A large number of these line breaks are accidental and occur when people dig into water lines that were placed too shallow years ago, when the large majority of subdivisions on the lake were developed.
While accidental breakage of water lines occurs too often, the major cause of water leaks in the district’s distribution systems involve a shifting of soil caused by changing climate conditions, especially during hot weather. When the ground shifts even slightly, water leaks do develop at joints and connections.
Most often a call from a customer concerning water quality is a concern that their water appears “milky” white in color. The usual cause is air in the distribution line that was not purged following a water leak repair. With breaks in water lines and the activity to repair them, air may enter the distribution lines. Following repair of a water line break, standing operating procedures require work crews to open flush valves in the immediate area of the break to clean or clear the lines.
A quick field check that customers can make is to fill a glass with water. If the white color is air, the air will quickly escape from the top of the glass, leaving a glass of clear water. If dirt is in the water, settling will occur to the bottom of the glass.
Even if a customer does a field check under these conditions, we urge customers to immediately report any concern about the quality of water to the district’s main office, telephone (903) 887-7103.
In conclusion, our water treatment plants are producing high quality water. In the distribution systems, we have an ongoing effort to eliminate or reduce the number of dead end water mains and replace old water lines with new PVC lines laid to the appropriate depth