The City of Altus unveiled the newly renovated reverse osmosis water treatment facility at the city reservoir on Friday afternoon.
The City of Altus constructed a reverse osmosis plant in 2005 to improve the quality of the public water supply. The plant operated for a few years but the ultra filtration pre-treatment system developed difficulties and the plant was taken out of service in 2012. Treatment plant improvements were designed by Altus resident Stephen B. Cesar, PE of SBC Consulting Engineers and the work has been completed by HCCCo, LLC. Construction.
Those attending the ceremony included Mayor Jack Smiley, State Representative Charles Ortega, Altus Air Force Base, Altus City Councilmen, City Public Works Director Johnny Barron, the Water Task Force members, the Altus High School JR ROTC, Pastor Dick Chapman, Water Task Force Co-chair Jed Winters and Chamber CEO Brian Bushy.
Mayor Smiley welcomed those in attendance and gave thanks and recognition to everyone involved in the activation of the RO water. He said it was a great day for celebration. Public Works Director Johnny Barron also showed a two-minute film explaining the RO system.
According to John A. Barron, Public Works Director/City Engineer for the City of Altus, reverse osmosis pulls water through a semi-permeable membrane that removes as much as 95% of minerals and organic chemicals in water. It is said to be among the most effective methods for treating municipal water supplies.
Water consumers may already notice the difference in their water. Less minerals means less “hardness.” In other words, RO treatment will “soften” the water, changing the way water reacts with common soap. Less soap may be needed for laundry or household cleaning, and there will be less scale building up in coffee makers and washing machines.
Altus citizens may also notice that the water feels different when washing hands or bathing. Consumers may also notice slight changes in the way the water looks and tastes. These changes are needed to improve the overall quality of the water and addresses EPA and ODEQ violations for public water systems. Barron emphasized that the RO system is state-of-the-art in quality treatment of water.
Guest speaker Chamber President Brian Bush praised the Altus community, business leaders, the AAFB, and the Water Task Force for the formulation of the Southwest Oklahoma Water Supply Action Plan, and Water Task Force. Bush said, “When these leaders saw the devastating effects of the 5-year drought, these key players and leaders moved forward and researched, planned and moved into action. The celebration today is only one of the many accomplishments completed. More projects are planned and in motion to continue to secure the water for Southwest Oklahoma.”
The ceremony ended with a RO water toast made by Water Task Force Chairman Jed Winters. Winters said that everyone has worked very hard for this day to happen with many meetings and late nights. In his toast Winters said, “I Googled many water quotes and here is my favorite ‘Water is the driving force of all nature’ (Leonardo DaVinci).” He then raised his RO water and everyone cheered.
Reach Mary O. Esparza at [email protected]