City in risk of sewage treatment damage

Plainview’s City Council will do some emergency voting on Tuesday as two broken screens at the city’s waste water treatment plant is posing serious threats to plant equipment.

“We are risking total system failure,” said councilmember Dr. Charles Starnes, as the council discussed the problem during their routine work session Thursday afternoon.

During the situation briefing, the council was informed that the two filter screens at the sewage treatment plant near the landfill had completely broken down about a month and a half ago and were in need of replacements.

City in risk of sewage treatment damage

The screening process, which is the first step in the plant’s treatment process, removes large trash, rocks and other items from the incoming waste water. The water is then sent to an activated sludge tank before it is cleaned further in the water treatment plant’s clarifier system. After being treated in the chlorination tank, the water is discharged to the Running Water Draw — part of the Brazos River Basin.

However, recently the screens have been malfunctioning. Maintenance crews at the plant say they have used parts to fix the screens however, they explained, once one was fixed, the other would break down. This pattern continued until about a month ago when both shut down completely.

Currently, the screens, which use an auger system to remove trash, are still set up in the front of the plant, but they are motionless and treatment workers have to manually remove trash.

The mechanical plant is rated for an average flow of 3.3 million gallons per day.

The screens were installed in 2001, when the sewage treatment plant was built. Normally the life-span of these screens is about 15 years.

The screens were scheduled to be replaced last year in the normal replacement calendar, however the water treatment plant’s clarifiers shut down in 2014 and the screen replacement project was postponed after the city purchased new clarifiers.

But the screens would not hold out for another year, and the risk of larger trash damaging equipment down the process line is growing. Also with the screens down, the quality of treated water may be reduced, especially after the plant’s grit system had to be turned off while the screens are down.

Because of the urgency, the city’s consultant firm, Parkhill, Smith and Cooper, suggested that the city skip the traditional design bid system, which could take up to 12 months to complete, and instead go through an emergency procurement of material process.

If the city chooses that option on Tuesday, the screens could be back online in approximately 17 weeks, or perhaps by June.

The cost of the screens will run around $309,000 for the set, while contracted labor can run $150,000-$200,000.

Also at Thursday’s work session, councilmembers were given an update on the seal coat program. The seal coat program usual is done during the summer with street crews fixing roads in the city. Sealcoat is a liquid that is applied to asphalt to protect it from oxidation and the damage caused by winter cracking, as well as traffic.

In the past, the sealcoat program was performed by city employees, however about four years that changed. It is now handled by Parkhill, Smith and Cooper, which is able to do the job within the city’s budget.

For several years the consultant firm has evaluated each street every year and provides a street index for the City of Plainview, grading the conditions of each road.

In this year’s report, the majority of the streets in Plainview were fair. But some streets are in need of sealcoat repair. These streets include Yonkers from 24th Street to 16th Street; Yonkers from 13th Street to Fifth Street; 16th Street and 20th Street, between Yonkers and Quincy; Joliet Street and Houston Street from 24th Street to 11th Street; Campbell Street from Columbia to Date Street and a few more smaller portions of streets thoughtout the city.

The council will put out a call for bids for the sealcoat job and from the quotes they get back, they will be able to determine how much they will be able to sealcoat. The quotes will determine if they will be able to sealcoat more streets or less than needed.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the council will hear their financial audit, hear a proposed a rate increase proposed by Atmos Energy and vote on appointees for the Board of Adjustments.

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