The older water treatment serving wholesale customers of the Brown County Water Improvement District No. 1 is meeting the demand of users during a spell of near-record heat, even though it is operating at near-capacity levels.

“We topped out at about 8.9 million gallons on Saturday, and that’s getting close to capacity,” water district General Manager Dennis Spinks said Monday. “We’re making it OK. The weather forecast doesn’t give us much relief for the next 10 days.”

Spinks said the treatment plant’s capacity is about 9.6 million gallons of water, “but that’s pushing it.

“We’re lucky in that we’ve got two new tanks out at the plant. We’re able to fill those up at night and that helps meet the demand.”

Spinks said the water district had hoped that its new membrane water plant would be online by now, a plant that is capable of generating as much as 10 million gallons a day. The relatively new membrane technology becomes more efficient as temperatures rise, which corresponds with the increased demand higher temperatures bring. However, operational problems with a mixer, designed to blend the water from the new and the old plants, have delayed starting up the new facility.

“We could actually run it if we had to,” Spinks said of the membrane plant. “The mixer is still not working the way it should. The manufacturer is bringing a new mixer here (today), and we’ll see how it works.”

As soon as the new water treatment plant is online, water district officials had planned to take the older facility out of service temporarily for major renovations. The timing of that work will depend on demand for water this summer, and an evaluation of the operations of the new plant.

Treated water from the Brown County Water Improvement District No. 1 is delivered at wholesale rates to the City of Brownwood, City of Bangs, Brookesmith Water Supply and others. Untreated water goes to the City of Early, for now, and agricultural irrigators.