Local News

Oct 24, 2013 5:08 PM by Sara Donchey

Illegal Dumping a Nuisance During Water Treatment Process

CORPUS CHRISTI -- Although sewage and chemicals dumped into the Nueces River aren't likely to end up in your drinking glass, they still can cause problems along the way.

Ivan Luna, the plant manager at the O. N. Stevens Water Treatment Plant, said even though the plant is equipped to handle the mess, it's still a nuisance.

"Of course we prefer that nothing like that happens in the Nueces River."

The Nueces accounts for more than half of the facility's water supply; and the plant supplies drinking water for thousands of residents from Port Aransas all the way to Kingsville.

"If you have illegal dumping, you don't know what type of chemicals (there are)," Luna said. "You could create a problem that conventional treatment plants might not be able to handle."

Luna explained that the plant is able to shut off water intake if a major contamination occurs, like an oil or chemical spill.

Sewage may be a minor problem in comparison to harmful chemicals, but it does have some surprising impacts.

Sewage clouds the water--or increases its turbidity. The higher the turbidity, the more chemicals are required to treat the water.

And chemicals can be costly.

"There are plenty of places within our plant, within our department, within our different infrastructure...that funds could be allocated," Luna said. "The chemicals are one of the major expenses we have in our process."

Luna explained that the less money the Water Department spends on chemicals, the more money it can spend on upgrading its aging treatment plant.

And any money that can go to improving the water plant, Luna says, is money well spent.

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