OUR WATER: cooler temperatures could mean improved water quality

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Heat drives plant breakdown and algae growth

SAN ANGELO, TX – Local water quality could see a noticeable improvement as temperatures drop across the Concho Valley. In warmer weather, aside from plant breakdown, algae blooms present a challenge which gives an odd odor and taste to local tap water.

“We’ve had a real problem this summer because of the warmer temperatures,” explained plant operations manager Tymn Combest. “O.H. Ivie has a lot of organics dissolved in it due to the lake filling up and the warm temperatures tend to help those organics break down. It’s resulted in a lot of taste and odor issues here at the water treatment plant.”

The Upper Colorado River Authority confirms, that while blue and green algae blooms are a factor in the summer months, they tend to die off as temperatures drop. Additionally, the gold algae that can bloom in colder times of the year, are not an issue thus far for the Concho Valley region. “If we get through the hot months in the summer,” said Chuck Brown, director of field operations for the UCRA, “the winter months are usually our time of year where water quality gets better.”

Upcoming upgrades to the water treatment plant, part of the Concho River Water Project, may help ease the odor and taste issues for future summers. Those upgrades though, are years away. As the winter months approach, other challenges present themselves.

“Part of our process is coagulation and sedimentation,” Combest elaborated. “So, our chemicals tend to work better in warmer weather. Also in the winter time the water is more dense, so the solids don’t settle as well in the plants. So we may see a reduction in chemical costs in the summer to treat surface water.”

The overall conclusion after the pros and cons are weighed out though, is that San Angelo residents will likely see a slight boost in water quality as temperatures drop.

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