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Pflugerville treatment plant expansion addresses zebra mussels and population growth Posted on October 12, 2022


Transcript


Brandon Pritchett - Public Utility Director, City of Pflugerville

Lake Pflugerville is considered infested; we’re an infested reservoir. So, that means that we have zebra mussels present. It can wreak havoc on infrastructure; it can wreak havoc on shorelines.

Mukhtar Farooqi - Fisheries Biologist, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Within two years, an entire lake can be overtaken. They'll cover any substrate they can find, rocks, you know, buoys, anything like that. They'll cling to it, and then they'll cluster. In a lot of these lakes, we have water intake structures to use for municipal supply and other things like that. And so, they have screens to clear debris and stuff from the water going in. But the trouble is those zebra mussels clog up those screens, and so water flow is impeded.

Brandon Pritchett - Public Utility Director, City of Pflugerville

What we're standing on is the tower, the intake tower. So they start to collect on the tower, and the slide gates, and the pipeline going into our pump station. So, the zebra mussels as a whole start to create that kind of restriction. The water treatment plant itself is a direct filtration membrane plant. So that means that we pump out of this intake tower directly into polymeric membranes. So, the damage they caused previously is that zebra muscle shells are sharp; they're very sharp. They will cut your skin; they will cut those polymeric membranes. That creates a problem with filtering, filtering the actual water itself. So, as they become damaged, you have to either repair them or replace them, which is both an economically painful situation and a laborious process.

Jeff Dunsworth -  Assistant City Engineer, City of Pflugerville

With completion of this new surface water treatment plant project, it supports the strategic goal of a resilient, robust infrastructure, as well as sustainable economic development of the community. The growth has been exponential in the last 5 to 10 years. The new treatment plant is a critical component to meet this growth and water demands of a growing population. Currently, the surface water treatment project treats about 17.7 million gallons per day. The new treatment plant will increase our potable water treatment to 30 million gallons per day. It involves the copper ion generation to help eliminate the zebra mussels.

Brandon Pritchett - Public Utility Director, City of Pflugerville

What we've done is like kind of a stopgap until the water treatment plant expansion is done, is we already have an authorization to do a temporary sodium permanganate treatment, which will minimize the damage they can do on this intake tower and the pipeline. So, the benefits of the copper ion generation system are that A. it's a lot safer for our staff, and for the environment, and for everyone. And also, if there were ever an event where it failed, or there was some issue with it, and we had a release of this product, which it's a solution of very minuscule copper after it's run through this process, it wouldn't affect the environment.

Jeff Dunsworth -  Assistant City Engineer, City of Pflugerville

It cost a lot, well in excess of $100 million. TWDB, the Texas Water Development Board, Drinking Water SRF fund that funds a portion of the project. We certainly appreciate the construction low-interest loans. They’re a great benefit to the City as well as our ratepayers.

Brandon Pritchett - Public Utility Director, City of Pflugerville

I'm monumentally excited about this project because it delivers what the residents deserve for clean water. So while we have to do a lot of work to get there, it delivers a project that the ratepayers, all the people that drink the City of Pflugerville's water deserve, and a clean product that's going to be resilient and robust for the next 30 years.

This article is posted in Water Planning / Financial Assistance / Water Supply .