On February 17, 2000, Seymour made history going ‘on-line’ with a municipal newly operational Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant instituted specifically to utilize reverse osmosis technology for nitrate removal.
The 1962 drinking water standards set a level of less than 10 milligrams per liter in potable water. This standard was set to protect infants against the illness methemoglobinema (also known as infant cyanosis or ‘Baby Blue’). Nitrate is naturally occurring in our groundwater supply through decaying organic matter, the Waste Water Plant, fertilizers and nitrates in the soil. The Drinking Water Standards were revised later to include the Federal ‘Safe Drinking Water Act’ adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency on November 30, 1977 to assure the safety of Public water supplies with respect to bacteriological, chemical and radiological quality and to further efficient processing through control tests, laboratory checks, operating records and reports of public water supply systems. Around 1981 the City of Seymour Water Supply System lost our ‘Approved Public Water System’ signs, located at each city limits entrance because maximum contaminate level(mcl) for Nitrate had been exceeded.
The Honorable Mayor Nolan B. Davis and the City Council, in 1988 began to look into different kinds of water treatment to remove nitrates. A pilot study with Reverse Osmosis was done and was determined to be the best approach. A long process began that included preparing all the engineering plans and securing the financing for the plant. Finally, in 1994, construction began with a 12” water distribution line to the Elevated Storage tank downtown (the N. Washington Street Water Tower). Also, a contract was entered on October 20. 1994 between the City of Seymour and Baylor Water Supply Corporation to supply the BWSC with treated water once the Reverse Osmosis Plant was built. Construction continued with three new water storage tanks, and a pump station .
The final completion of the Seymour, Texas Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Facility was in February of 2000.
Presently, the City of Seymour owns and operates nineteen (19) wells which provide water for the Reverse Osmosis Plant. Baylor Water Corporation furnishes their own supply of raw water to the plant and pays a proportionate share of the operation costs of the plant, including management and administrative costs.
The Reverse Osmosis Treatment Plant is intended to provide approximately 3.0 million gallons per day (mgd) of blended desalted water meeting the requirements of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), while operating essentially under automatic control. It achieves this by treating about 2.5 mgd of well water using reverse osmosis, recovering 81% of the feed water(1.0mgd) as permeate, which is then blended with 1.1 mgd of untreated well water. The plant is composed of two reverse osmosis ‘trains’, each capable of producing 0.9 mgd of permeate, which can be operated separately or together. They produce a quality of water very similar to distilled water.
The Water Production Superintendent has a job that keeps him pretty busy. As the primary operator of the Reverse Osmosis Plant, this superintendent wears numerous ‘hats', and duties are performed on a daily basis.
1.) To maintain and repair all equipment.
2.) To determine correct formulas to safely treat the water.
3.) To decipher the regulations written by the state and federal regulators.
4.) To be able to read and understand computer monitoring programs of the water tower levels.
When levels are low, the pumps in the next room are accessed via radio by way of the adjoining county.
5.) To keep the facilities clean and safe in expectation of a State inspection at any time.
Superintendent of the Reverse Osmosis Plant, Rick Garcia, has been working with the City for 25 years. Rick started in the Street Department and after a year was promoted to the Water Department. He currently holds class ‘C’ Water and Wastewater licenses which is required by the state.
Rick and his wife Mary have two sons – Nick and wife Felicia along with their daughter Allana, and Kenneth and wife Alisha and daughter Avery reside in Seymour.
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