The City of Sulphur Springs Utilities Director James Jordan reports due to the weather event over the past week, a surface water treatment technique violation occurred Dec. 24, 2022, at the Water Treatment Plant.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) sets minimum water quality standards for public drinking water. One of these standards is a turbidity limit. Turbidity by itself has no health effects. However, turbidity can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth. Turbidity may also indicate the presence of disease-causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches. These symptoms can be particularly severe in people who are not as resistant to infections as most of the population. If you experience severe symptoms, please consult with your doctor to determine what actions you should take.
The extremely low temperatures and wind churning up the lake put a strain on the the treatment plant early Christmas Eve, causing a violation of one of the parameters set by the state for water treatment. “The City failed to meet the minimum treatment technique requirements for the month of December 2022. Specifically, the water system had multiple barrier failure treatment technique violation (CFE > 1.0 NTU and IFE > 2.0 NTU).”
According to the required notice, "the raw water turbidity entering the treatment plant increased from 30 NTU to 265 NTU within a two-hour period. This rapid increase in the raw water turbidity was caused by high winds at the source and increased cold water temperatures experienced during the extreme weather event. An upset was experienced in the sedimentation basins causing a high settled water turbidity and a greater than normal demand on the filters. The coagulant dosage was immediately increased and a filter aid polymer was implemented to correct the increasing settled water turbidity."
According to Jordan, the plant is back to “full operations,” is “doing great and in perfect shape.” However, because of the violation the city is required to release the following statement to notify water customers and the public of the violation. The notice is not a boil water notice, but does provide information regarding the violation, which the city is required to disseminate to “all people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (i.e., people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses).”
Any further questions related to the matter may be directed to Sulphur Springs Utilities Director James Jordan at 903-439-4901.