West Texas success story: City of Eden January 2013

West Texas success story: City of Eden January 2013

For decades, the city of Eden tried to find a way to remove radionuclides from its drinking water supply to meet the standards required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Compounding this water quality issue was a shallow well that went dry during the summer months. Even with continuous pumping, there was not an adequate supply to meet water demands.

"We're a good distance away from the nearest big city. It wasn't feasible to partner with other entities. We wanted to stand on our own," says City Administrator Celina Hemmeter. As a result, a water task force was formed, which included a city councilman with a background in water planning, the mayor and an economic development coordinator.

Lacking the financial resources of a large community added to the challenges.

Fortunately, Eden was able to secure financial assistance, in the form of a $1 million loan and $3,675,000 in grants from Texas Water Development Board's (TWDB) Economically Distressed Areas Program (EDAP). The funding is being used for all phases of the project: planning through construction.

As a first step toward meeting its water needs, Eden has proposed a pilot project to treat radionuclides. If the project is approved by TCEQ, the city will be one of a handful of Texas communities to use new technology, a Water Remediation Technology (WRT) system. "The system removes radionuclides from water so that it's safe to drink," reports Keith Kindle, Enprotec/Hibbs & Todd Engineering. An outside company handles all the radionuclide controls, removal and disposal.

"It's a turnkey process perfect for a small community with limited resources."

The funding will also help Eden drill a third well, treatment plant and cooling tower. "The deep water well is affordable thanks to the grant. It will help the community get back in compliance with TCEQ and help water and sewer rates remain reasonable," Kindle says.

The city hopes to begin construction in spring 2013. About 3,600 water customers will be served, which includes city residents and a nearby prison population. The project was a recommended strategy in the Region F Regional Water Plan.

"As a small town, we hope to sustain and grow to attract new industries," Hemmeter says.

A reliable water supply and acceptable water quality are just two things that can help make that happen.

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