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Excessive rain leads to changes in water treatment formulas for Nacogdoches

Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 6:24 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - For one month now, Lake Nacogdoches has been 100 percent full. One of the primary water sources is easily providing drinking water for much of the city and neighboring water districts.

City officials want to keep it that way, despite some significant challenges. Lake Nacogdoches is used by anglers, but more importantly, it provides water to thousands of households.

Chief surface water operator Brad Randall has the job of monitoring that treatment. Excessive rain brings on new formulas.

“We’ve had like 20 inches of rain in the month of May. The spillway at the lake, when it runs over, it agitates it, everything, and stirs the lake up,” explained Randall.

When that happens additional chemicals are necessary.

“Our water is real clean out here. Bottled water has zero turbidity in it. This is .06. Right at bottled water quality,” Randall said.

It’s an achievement that comes at a treatment plant that was last updated in 2003.

“So, a lot of our equipment, things we experienced in the winter storm, some of our failures were because our control systems were aged,” said Steve Bartlett, city engineer.

In the last four months, operators are acquiring spare parts to keep on hand. Also, administrators are seeking new funding for infrastructure upgrades.

Equipment age isn’t the only problem. Grid issues were an underlying cause, too, according to Bartlett.

“Power on, power off kind of problems,” Bartlett said.

Discussions with legislators occurred. As well as with Oncor.

Water operators said they’re preparing for a “lake turnover,” a natural process as the topwater layer warms. Nacogdoches is using activated carbon for treatment.

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