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Posted on: December 16, 2016

Utility System Update


The City of Temple continues to implement significant capital improvements and system upgrades across its water and wastewater systems, responding to and addressing the needs of a growing and vibrant community.  System expansion efforts in high growth areas are balanced with aging infrastructure renewal projects in more established sectors of the City.  These efforts, underway for many years, will continue to be a high priority for the City for many years to come.

Damon Boniface, the City’s Utility Director, manages the City’s water and wastewater utility, addressing water and wastewater needs in many areas.  “The extensive efforts, time, and resources which have gone into strengthening Temple’s utility department over the past decade are significant.  Serving a community of over 70,000 residents, businesses and industry daily with water and wastewater services is key and integral part of maintaining a growing and active community.  Utility system expansion, coupled with a unique opportunity to renew infrastructure that in some locations is nearly a century old, provides an opportunity for innovation and new ideas.  A focus, sustained, and targeted effort will continue to be needed for many years to come to not only thoroughly understand and address today’s needs, but also to project infrastructure needs to meet the growth of tomorrow.  This holistic approach to handling issues head on in a thorough and complete way will provide a strong foundation for a long term and sustainable thriving Temple.”

A few of the significant and extensive capital improvement projects which are currently in the design and development stages include major upgrades, improvements and expansion to Temple’s Water Treatment Plant and renovation and expansion of the Temple-Belton Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is jointly owned by the Cities of Temple and Belton.  Both of these facilities are many decades old and are in need of major restoration to meet both current regulatory standards and to prepare for future growth.  Proper planning and implementation of both projects will provide a catalyst for long term growth.

The existing 10 MGD Temple-Belton wastewater treatment facility located on FM 93 will soon be entering the first of several future construction projects which will ultimately expand treatment capabilities to 18 MGD.  Serving approximately 70% of the area of the City of Temple, the Temple-Belton WWTP is an important factor in continuing current and expanding future City wastewater service to the north and to the west.  The City of Temple’s Doshier wastewater treatment facility, located on East Avenue H, serves the remaining 30% of the City of Temple and is in the final stages of upgrades to control and monitoring systems which will allow for enhanced operations.  Proper operations of both wastewater treatment plants are critical in maintaining wastewater service across the City.

An additional major capital project currently under design includes substantial improvements and upgrades to the City’s water treatment plant.  Serving all of the City of Temple, along with several surrounding communities, the treatment facility employs both conventional surface water treatment and membrane water treatment components, which are capable of producing over 30 million gallons of water per day.  Many factors drive capital needs, which currently include addressing zebra mussels recently found to be in Lake Belton and the Leon River, upgrading lagoon basins which are an important part of the water treatment process to provide additional capacity, and assessing raw water and high service pumps which convey water through the process and out to the distribution system.

The City continues to evaluate historical operational information and data in determining current and future utility needs through various approaches.  Master planning is an essential part of this effort, providing a resourceful tool that projects and considers many factors associated with capital planning.  An updated utility master plan is scheduled to begin in early 2017, with an anticipated final delivery by 2018.  On a regular basis, staff continually evaluates current capital project schedules, making adjustments as needed to best meet ever changing growth and system dynamics.

Through significant capital efforts and operational system monitoring, the City continues to address the formation of disinfection byproducts, which are a compound formed when natural organic material found in the raw water (Leon River) combines with free chlorine, which is a necessary component of disinfecting the water as it works its way through the treatment process.  Over the past year, fluctuating lake levels have had a significant impact on the Leon River, which is Temple’s source water.  An increased concentration of various vegetation and soils has amplified the amount of organic matter to historically high levels, creating a challenging environment for removing these materials before coming into contact with chlorine, the primary disinfectant that makes our water safe to drink.  Disinfection is the primary focus of the treatment process as promulgated by the U.S. EPA.  Further, the City of Temple has been working closely with the state’s environmental agency, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), to identify and implement viable and achievable strategies to reduce the formation of disinfection byproducts.  Though it is important that the City address this concern, Temple’s water has always been safe to drink and process adjustments will continue to be made until disinfection byproduct levels decline to acceptable levels. Periodic updates on improved process and activities associated with reducing total trihalomethane levels in the City’s water treatment system will continue to be provided to our customers.

The City of Temple is committed at all levels to meeting current and long term utility needs for our community, in as safe and efficient way as possible.  Over the next several months and years, much activity will be occurring related to our utility plants, and we appreciate the support and patience of those we serve as we diligently work to make necessary improvements to our treatment, distribution, and collection systems city-wide.  More information will be available soon with additional detail related to on-going improvements… stay tuned!  

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