Harlingen Strives for High-Quality Water, Sewer Services
The City of Harlingen ensures that drinking water is clean and safe. Stringent testing and in-house water laboratories means our water meets all drinking water standards and that the city can easily respond to consumer concerns.
Water - Laboratory
HWWS maintains a water quality laboratory to serve the community, surrounding utilities and private sector clients. The laboratory meets stringent Quality Assurance requirements set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), and is certified to analyze drinking water Chemical and Bacteriological contaminants that may pose a health risk.
Goals of Water Quality Lab
- Ensure compliance with all Drinking Water Standards for the protection of public health established by the EPA and TCEQ.
- Respond to consumer concerns by answering questions about drinking water, preparing and distributing water quality reports, collecting and analyzing samples and investigating problems involving water quality, seeps or other environmental concerns.
- Analyze our source water supplies to help determine what treatment is needed to consistently produce a high-quality drinking water.
- Monitor the treated water to assess the effectiveness of the treatment process.
- Test new water mains to ensure that they meet sanitation requirements before they are connected to the distribution system.
- Provide an early warning of problems in the distribution system that may require changes in the treatment process, or in the operation and maintenance of the system.
All the water is taken from the Rio Grande through the Harlingen Irrigation District in the southwest part of the city at Dixieland Water Treatment Plant and the other water treatment plant located in the center of town at the Downtown Water Treatment Plant.
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Treated water is furnished for the following Water District Cities:
- Palm Valley
- East Rio Hondo
- Military Highway Water Supply Corp.
Water Storage System
Water for the City is stored after processing in either ground or elevated storage tanks. The Harlingen WaterWorks has 2 elevated storage facilities located around the city. Two new ground storage tanks located at Treasure Hills Boulevard and Schmoker Road have been built that will each store 10 million gallons of additional water for the city's use. The Treasure Hills Storage Tank can store up to 10 million gallons of water. This tank will service Valley Baptist Hospital and the Treasure Hills area to assure an adequate supply of water at all times.
Water Treatment Plants
The Downtown Water Treatment plant is a state of the art Actiflo system capable of producing 18.7 million gallons per day (MGD). The Actiflo process is a compact high performance water clarification system that combines microsand enhanced flocculation with lamellar tube settling. The addition of microsand serves as a flocculation aid and ballasting agent, allowing for an overflow rate of 22 gallons per minute/ft2. This overflow rate results in a system footprint that is much smaller than a conventional clarification system of similar capacity.
The MFR Water Treatment Plant is the larger of the two HWWS water plants. This plant has the capacity to produce 20.4 million gallons per day (MGD). It is more commonly known as the Dixieland Water Plant because of its location at the end of Dixieland Road. There are a total of six operators certified by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
The Dixieland water plant averages about 8.5 million gallons per day (MGD) in water consumption. A max consumption day may reach 18.5 MGD in the summer months.
Waste Water - Pretreatment Program
The National Pretreatment Program is a cooperative effort of federal, state and local regulatory environmental agencies established to protect water quality. The program is designed to reduce the level of pollutants discharged by industry and other non-domestic wastewater sources into municipal sewer systems and thereby reduce the amount of pollutants released into the environment from these sources.
Congress established the National Pretreatment Program under authority of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 as amended by the Clean Water Act of 1977. Implementation requirements of the pretreatment portions of these laws were first codified into 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 403 in 1978.
National Pretreatment Program Objectives
- Protect publicly owned treatment works (POTW) from pollutants that may cause interference with sewage treatment plant operations.
- Prevent introducing pollutants into a POTW that could cause pass through of untreated pollutants to receiving waters.
- Manage pollutant discharges into a POTW to improve opportunities for reuse of POTW wastewater and residuals (sewage sludge).
- Prevent introducing pollutants into a POTW that could cause worker health or safety concerns, or that could pose a potential endangerment to the public or to the environment.
The term "pretreatment" refers to the requirement that non-domestic sources discharging wastewater to POTWs control their discharges and meet limits established by EPA, the state of Texas or the local municipality (HWWS) on the amount of pollutants allowed to be discharged. The control of the pollutants may necessitate treatment prior to discharge to the POTW (therefore the term "pretreatment"). Limits may often be met by the non-domestic source through pollution prevention techniques (product substitution, recycle and reuse of materials, more efficient production practices, improved environmental management systems, etc.), pretreatment of wastewater, or implementation of best management practices.
The Lab's mission is to provide accurate and precise data for the wastewater treatment facilities to ensure that the facility is in compliance with the Clean Water Act and the State of Texas regulations. The laboratory staff primarily conducts a full range of wet-chemistry analyses on the various stages of wastewater treatment within the plant. The advantage of an in-house laboratory is the ability to provide immediate results.
The analytical results verify process settings and actions, allowing the operations staff to make decisions on how to best treat the wastewater. One of the most critical aspects of the laboratory is to monitor the full range of compliance parameters under the TCEQ's water quality standards. In addition to the daily checks conducted for the treatment plants operation, the laboratory staff also supports the Pretreatment Program. With advancements in technology and high quality instrumentation available to the laboratory staff, it is possible to monitor water quality standards and discharge permit limits required to assure adequate wastewater treatment prior to discharge into the Arroyo Colorado and ultimately the Laguna Madre.
Waste Water Treatment
Wastewater Treatment Plant #1 Capacity: 3.1 MGD
Wastewater Treatment Plant #2 Capacity: 6.0 MGD
WWTP #1 is located on Taft and South Commerce Streets. This plant is a trickling filter and extended air treatment process and the discharge from the plant goes into the Arroyo Colorado.
WWTP #2 is located 2 miles east of the City and is a trickling filter and extended air treatment process plant. The discharge from this plant goes into the Arroyo Colorado.
Sewage Collection System
The Collection System gathers the sewage from the City. This system is made up of different sizes of pipe ranging from 6 inches to 36 inches in diameter. We have 214 miles of collection system mains or pipes.
In the Collection system we have to have lift stations that pump the sewage due to the flatness of the natural ground in this area. We have 73 lift stations.
Current level of treatment: 9.0 MGD
Number of customers: 16,220