Have you ever wondered what happens to your water once it goes down the drain? Corpus Christi has miles of pipes and depending on where in town you live the water leaves your home and is sent to one of six waste water treatment plants. The wastewater treatment plants treat millions of gallons of water city residents use on a daily basis.
Gabriel Ramirez the Interim Assistant Director of Wastewater Treatment for the city says, "Anything that goes down your drain at homes toilets, sinks, car washes everywhere that has a drain they end up going to the collection system. "
The water that leaves your home is classified as wastewater. Using gravity and 102 lift stations located all over Corpus Christi, the wastewater is pumped to one of 6 wastewater treatment plants to be processed, cleaned and released back into the environment. The plants have to follow strict regulations.
According to Ramirez, "We have different wastewater criteria here that our effluent has to meet when it's been discharged."
Before it's discharged the wastewater must meet standards imposed by state and federal regulations. The First stage of treatment is the head-works, which is a number of screens designed to blocks large materials like wipes, plastics and other debris that won't break down safely. Next is a biological process that uses bacteria to break down the effluent or wastewater.
Ramirez says, "The bacteria that are in the treatment process they actually process the effluent to make it to where the water is clear when it's going out."
KRIS 6 had an exclusive look at the Whitecap Waste Water Treatment plant that is responsible for processing 1.2 to 2 million gallons of water flow every day. The final stage treatment is a UV light process, which kills any remaining bacteria still living in the now clear wastewater before it's released into a waterway near by. The six wastewater treatment plants process an average 28-million gallons of wastewater a day but are capable of processing up to 42-million gallons daily. With over 1,200 miles of pipes to maintain city staff perform 780 clean outs annually. There are programs designed for residents to do their part to help the process.
According to Ramirez, "We have a program called FOG, fats, oils and grease, that people can follow to help from clogging up the pipes. When folks pour those types of materials down the drain it can eventually cause havoc on the entire system."
The water treated comes from residential, commercial and industrial locations. City Wastewater Staff is made up 168 staff members. The department responds to 17,000 customer service calls every year. The Corpus Christi Water Department works hard to make sure the city's water is processed to the highest quality and standards, ensuring a steady flow of treated water returns back into the environment.