A proposed fix to the chemical mixing process for the new membrane water purification treatment plant didn’t produce the desired results, so a rapid mix process will be added, the board of directors of the Brown County Water Improvement District No. 1 was told Tuesday night.
“We’ve done a lot,” Mike Morrison, vice president of Freese and Nichols engineering firm, told the board. “We tested on Nov. 30 and again on Dec. 2, but unfortunately, both tests did not show consistent mixing, which frankly I do not understand.”
Morrison said approval of the changes to the treatment plan were put on a rushed schedule with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
“It took only two weeks, which is pretty much unheard of,” Morrison said. He praised the TCEQ officials who agreed to review the changes on a tight schedule.
“We’ve asked TCEQ to look over the data,” Morrison said of the test results. “We may be at a point to put in a rapid mix unit. It would be be identical to the west plant. Hopefully that will solve the issue of this perplexing formation problem.”
The district will continue to operate its older, traditional filtration facility, known as the west plant, after the new membrane plant is online, district officials said. That plant continues to produce top quality water, and district officials said City of Brownwood Utilities Director David Harris recently praised the plant’s operators for their consistently high quality of water.
The problem being experienced involves the mixture of water and appropriate levels of the purification elements of ammonium and chlorine.
The addition of a rapid mix step to the membrane plant would make the mixing process there identical to the west plant, Morrison said.
“The positive news is that we did get a quick review of the paperwork through the state,” Morrison told the board, while expressing disappointment that the test data wasn’t what had been expected.
In other business Tuesday, the board approved one of seven possible scenarios for priority call of water rights, which General Manager Dennis Spinks said is needed for Region F water planning purposes. The call would be made on upstream water resources if Lake Brownwood reaches a 50 percent level, but it would only affect water following into those lakes – not water already there.
“We have senior rights on everything above and the majority of those below us,” Spinks said. However, he said the volume of water involved would probably not make much of a difference to the level of Lake Brownwood, assuming that the water quantities affected by a call of rights could be physically diverted.
“It’s not a binding resolution,” Spinks said.
“It’s all for planning purposes,” Morrison added as the board discussed its choice. “You’re not giving up any rights, is my understanding.”
“That’s the important thing,” board member Stuart Coleman said.
Spinks said Lake Brownwood is currently 70 percent full.