August 05, 2016
Dear Member/Owners of Kempner Water Supply Corporation,
As many of you are aware due to your work order requests to the office, the KWSC, as well as other local water companies are battling high levels of manganese in Stillhouse Lake which is discoloring the water but does not affect the potability or safety of the water. Our water purification plant engineers have been working diligently along with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) water specialists to adjust the plant operational parameters to compensate for the increased manganese levels in the raw water pumped from Stillhouse.
Manganese is a naturally occurring mineral found in the soils and waters of Central Texas and is even inhaled as dust in the atmosphere. Manganese is classified by the Food and Drug Administration as a micronutrient and is commonly found in abundance in foods such as nuts, beans, tea, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, and even chocolate with typical intake for the United States at 6.4mg/day from food and water consumption. The Food and drug administration suggests between 5 to 10 mg of manganese as the recommended daily allowance of manganese to promote proper health based on individual needs. The current manganese level is 0.03 parts per million (PPM) and the state regulated maximum level is 0.05 PPM. Remember manganese is a secondary nutrient according to TCEQ standards. It is not a regulated as a primary constituent because it only an aesthetic problem over the 0.05 level but not harmful to your health.
In Central Texas manganese tends to be a nuisance for water supplies and customers in the summer because of the geology, hydrology, and climate. Since manganese and many other minerals such as calcium, iron, bicarbonates, and magnesium are present in great abundance the rocks and soils of our region and are easily dissolved in water, they are always naturally present in our surface and ground waters. In periods where we have large amounts of rainfall in the winter and spring, large amounts of manganese along with other minerals are dissolved and transported through our watersheds, such as the Lampasas River, to our water reservoirs like Stillhouse Lake. If the summers are cool which keeps the lake temperatures down, these minerals come out of solution in the water and settle at the bottom of the lake. If temperatures are high, the minerals stay in solution in the water and therefore are transported into our treatment plant. It’s like adding sugar to tea. If the tea is hot you can add in a lot of sugar and it will easily dissolve. If the tea is cold, some of the sugar ends up on the bottom of your glass no matter how much you mix it in.
After water is processed through the treatment plant by being treated and filtered according to State and Federal Standards to kill any dangerous organisms and remove other inorganic hazards it is pumped to several holding tanks and through our distribution system. At this point the water begins to cool and the excess manganese and will begin to come out of solution with the water which creates the nuisance of brown tinted water just like the excess sugar in the cold tea.
Kempner Water Supplies are diligently working to correct this problem by adjusting the method of treating water at the plant as well as flushing lines in neighborhoods but since there are over 4 million gallons of water in the system it will take time for the water to become clear again.
As KWSC member/owners you can help by:
Calling the office at (254) 547-9430 or (512 )932-3701 and let our engineers know if your water is discolored so they can take action to flush the lines.
After the distribution department flush the main lines it is recommended for you to run a garden hose or sink until the water begins to clear. This will help flush the lines in your house more quickly than intermittent use.
Visit our website at Kempnerwsc.com to sign up for phone/email/text alerts and for more information.
Please do not hesitate to call us with any questions, concerns, or ideas since all KWSC members are also owners in the corporation.
Please feel free to call me at any time if you have any questions or comments.