Consolidation of water systems to have positive effect on supply

May 9, 2019

 Water supply diversification program set to increase

Water systems consolidation adds reliability, affects water purchase

 MELISSA (May 6, 2019) The result of the consolidation of two public water systems in Melissa, the City’s system and the system originally built for the Country Ridge subdivision, promises to assist in the reduction of the increasing costs of purchasing water from the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) and provide a greater level of water system reliability.

 The smaller Country Ridge public water systems (PWS) has now been officially consolidated into the City of Melissa PWS, a process that began about a decade ago.  The merging means that water drawn from the well that originally serviced the Country Ridge PWS is combined with the surface water the City purchases from NTMWD.

The process of combining water diminishes the amount of water purchased from the supplier to meet the City’s needs, affecting the City’s overall financial outlay.  In addition, the process helps manage the “take or pay” level that NTMWD applies to Melissa.  The “take or pay” policy forces NTMWD customers to pay for water at the highest annual amount used to date, whether the water is used or not.   

The well draws water from the Woodbine Aquifer, some 1,500 feet below ground.  Over the last ten years or so, the Melissa system has supplemented the Country Ridge supply when needed, and infrequently, vice versa.  The ability to tap into the additional water source provides all residents a level of reliability and continuity of service that can mitigate the effects of a main break or other interruption of service.  

 “The water from the aquifer has been used to some extent in the past,” says City Manager Jason Little.  “We are now beginning to extend the amount of the water mix, introducing Woodbine Aquifer water in greater amounts.  That will reduce the amount of water we are currently purchasing and prepare us to provide the additional water we will need as we continue to grow.”

 In preparation, City engineers have spent the last 12 months installing the same water disinfection and purification system in use for water purchased from the NTMWD.  The identical system ensures that Woodbine Aquifer water meets the same strict standards as water from the City’s supplier.       

 “There is no appreciable difference in the quality of the water, and once mixed together, there will be no change in the purity, safety and usability of the water,” added Little.

 Notwithstanding the purity issue, Woodbine Aquifer water does boast one major difference over water purchased from NTMWD.  Because of the difference in the amount of dissolved minerals in the well water, as compared to purchased water, some customers will notice a softening in the water mix.   

 Verified testing has established NTMWD water as falling in the Hard category, meaning that the water’s mineral composition gives it characteristics commonly described as rough and course, even though the purity level is not compromised.  Conversely, Woodbine Aquifer water has been categorized as in the Soft level.  While having no effect on the water’s purity level, the softness has been often defined as silky and forgiving.     

“We’re all familiar with the effects of hard water,” said Little.  “It can sometimes irritate our skin when we bathe, and our clothes and dishes will sometimes exhibit the effects of hard water.”

Soft water can feel somewhat slippery, making it seem difficult to rinse soap off when bathing, showering, or washing hands.  That slippery feel is actually the absence of the harsh residues left by hard water.  In effect, what people feel after washing with soft water is clean skin, free of any mineral deposits.

“Some Melissa residents may notice a difference in the feel of the water, as soft well water blends with hard NTMWD water,” said Little.  “Nevertheless, water delivered to Melissa customers is safe and meets or exceeds all required drinking water standards.” 

Customers who reside closest to Country Ridge Water System are most likely to notice the water softening, mostly during non-peak months.  Savings accrued from the mixture will be retained in the Melissa Utility Fund, addressing the ever-increasing costs of purchasing water from the supplier.