POSTED: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 5:29pm
UPDATED: Friday, February 15, 2013 - 11:03am
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — Brownsville is home to three water treatment plants. They provide water that goes to homes for drinking and everyday usage.
The Southmost Regional Water Authority plant on 5-11 owned by the Brownsville Public Utilities Board and several municipalities provides around 25% of that water pumping millions of gallons to homes in Brownsville, Los Fresnos, and Rancho Viejo.
Unlike the other two Brownsville water treatment plants that get their water from the surface
the Southmost Regional Water Authority plant gets its water from the ground.
This water starts out at what is called brackish water, which is high in salt.
They get the water 300 feet below the surface.
"We pump the water the well field into this plant where the plant removes the salt and makes it into drinking water." said Judy Adams BPUB Water Treatment Manager.
The water goes through several steps before it becomes drinking water.
"It goes through a filtration process to remove any silt or sediment, then goes through a reverse osmosis treatment process to remove the salt chemicals are added.
Through the whole process workers never actually see the water.
"You really have to trust your instruments, we have instrument watch pressure flow, conductivity, and the whole treatment process is computerized." Said Adams.
After the reverse osmosis process inside the plant the water is sent through underground piping outside to continue to process.
"We are sending the water to a degasifer, the water goes on top to some packing material and it's releasing some of the carbon dioxide gases."
It's then sent to storage tank which can 7.5 million gallons of water.
"After the process is complete for the day they can produce 6 million gallons of fresh water that goes into your home."
The water is tested 3 times a day to make sure everything good to go and can be distributed.
"It pumps water south into Brownsville, pumps water from the ground storage into Los Fresnos north and also goes west and delivers water to Rancho Viejo."
Brownsville PUB says even with tough drought conditions the Rio Grande Valley is going through they have enough ground water to supply customers for the next 3 decades.
They say they are always working on new ways to generate clean water including converting seawater into drinking water.
In 2009 the Brownsville Public Utilities Board did a two year pilot program near the Brownsville ship channel.
They got some positive results from the study and where able to convert that seawater from the ship channel into drinking water.
They are hoping to do another study in the future which will cost $28.5 million trying to produce 2.5 million gallons of clean water a day.
"Communities are going to looking at sea desalination in the future." said Adams.
Other communities like the Laguna Madre Water district have done similar seawater desalination pilot programs.
Adams says it's something they want to look at in the future, but it's going to take a lot of state and federal funding to make a seawater desalination plant.