Drought Is Affecting Quality Of Water

Right now our lakes aren't filling with water. They're filling up with organics and other materials we definitely don't want coming from the tap.

For example, Lake Arrowhead used to cover a large area that is now dry and more contaminants are exposed.

"When we do get a rain event, it will wash more silt and mud into the lake and we will have to treat the water a little bit differently to handle that loading of mud," said Daniel Nix, the public works operations manager for Wichita Falls.

Nix said the city has a window of two weeks after it rains to get that slit and mud out of the water before it makes it into your home. First, city workers take a water sample. Then, they take it to the Cypress Water Treatment Plant to perform what Nix calls a jar test.

Nix said, "It's several different jars with different chemical dosages in it and we figure out which dosage will work with that particular slug of mud."

Once they figure out the best dosage they use a turbidimeter to analyze the water sample even more before its considered safe. However, mud and silt are not the only problem. A lot of vegetation is growing in areas that used to be covered with water and that will soon contaminate our lakes as well.

"When the lakes fill back up that vegetation will die and will start to degrade and will start to add organics to the water," said Nix.

When that happens workers will use a total organic carbon analyzer to study water samples. Then, they will make sure they remove about 30 percent of the organic carbon from the water.

Nix said the cost of those procedures depends on how many chemicals they end up using. He also said residents shouldn't notice a change in the taste or appearance of the water.

Tanya De Jesus, Newschannel 6