WOLFFORTH — After going active on May 10, the city of Wolfforth has seen results from its Electro Dialysis Reversal (EDR) plant.
Wolfforth city manager Darrell Newsom announced that the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) gave the city the go-ahead after a nearly five-year wait.
Construction of the $6.7 million EDR project was approved by Wolfforth voters following a letter from the Environmental Protection Agency in July 2011 informing officials they must fix the city water’s arsenic and fluoride issues or face fines. The EPA changed the threshold of what is acceptable in drinking water, which caused the agency to send Wolfforth a letter.
Those issues are being taken care of by the EDR, but citizens will still receive a notice that the city’s water is “out of compliance” for at least a year.
“When TCEQ started sampling the water and they found out we were high in fluoride and arsenic they’ve made us do quarterly samples. That’s four a year. They send their sampler out and he takes a sample and then they send it to (the health department). That’s being out of compliance. When you get into compliance, you have a full year of samples. Then, if your fluoride goes below (4 parts per million), then they start reducing the samples, but you have to be clean for four samples,” said Doug Hutcheson, Wolfforth’s public works director.
“We have just now taken our first sample with the treatment. We have three more samples and then they can reduce the amount of sampling that we do. We still have to send out the same notice until we get everything back below the (4 parts per million) on the fluoride.”
Hutcheson reported that, in the samples they have taken, the fluoride levels have gone from 5.6 to roughly 2.7 parts per million. At the end of the year, if the four samples are in compliance, the city of Wolfforth will be taken off the out-of-compliance list.
According to an earlier report, the city conducted a three-phase pilot study to determine the effectiveness of the EDR technology for removal of arsenic and fluoride from Wolfforth’s drinking water supply. The EDR proved to be effective in reducing inorganic contaminants — including arsenic and fluoride — from the city’s water.
According to the General Electric Power and Water website, benefits the city will see once the project is complete include an efficient use of scarce water resources and low pretreatment requirements and costs. Also, the city will see low chemical consumption costs, a long membrane life and a better ability to recover from less than ideal feed water quality.