Cutline 1: Mike Lund of the City of Bridge City water department monitors a control panel for the Filtrations, Inc., water filter system at the city’s Rachal Street well.

Cutline 2: A 3,000-gallon tank of filter media was installed at each of Bridge City’s three water wells as part of a $1.4 million system installed by Filtronics, Inc.

Cutline 3: Bridge City has implemented a new $1.4 million water filtration system designed to eliminate iron and manganese deposits that have resulted in cloudy tap water for many of the city’s residents.

By Dave Rogers

For The Record

Jerry Jones played it cool Tuesday when asked if he felt a sense of relief to finally have Bridge City’s $1.4 million water filtration system up and running.

“This is just another project,” the longtime city manager said.

Technically, turning on the sand filters at the city’s two operating wells last weekend only kicked off a 120-day pilot project, after which the city will need another OK from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to be 100 percent in the clear.

But Jones leaves little doubt he believes the iron and manganese buildups that have caused the cloudy and brown water for some Bridge City water customers for several years will soon be a thing of the past.

“This will be the end,” he said.

The system, bought from the California-based Filtronics, Inc., is going through break-in cycles, which mean the filters at the two wells are being backwashed more than normal for the next few days.

A 3,000-gallon tank of filter media was installed at each of Bridge City’s three water wells as part of a $1.4 million system installed by Filtronics, Inc.

“We’re testing them daily, and the state will come in and test it every week,” said Mike Lund, water department foreman for Bridge City.

“The state does not require that [daily testing] but with them being in the break-in period, we want to keep an eye on all that,” Jones said.

Lund said the tests for the new wells show that iron and manganese levels “are non-detectable coming out.”

“That tells us the filters are doing what they were designed to do,” Jones said. “They’re removing all the iron and manganese.”

The city has been serving its 3,800 water customers with just two of its three wells since last July, when the state

determined the city violated the maximum contaminant level for total trihalomethanes, a byproduct of the chlorine used to disinfect water.

Jones said it was discovered that the problem was caused by leaky casing in a single well that was immediately taken off line.

Repair work is complete on the repair of the “Romero” well, Jones said.

“When we got permission to start up those wells, the third well was not included because we were re-lining the well,” he said.

Bridge City has implemented a new $1.4 million water filtration system designed to eliminate iron and manganese deposits that have resulted in cloudy tap water for many of the city’s residents.

“But that’s all been done. It’s where we can put it back on-line, but we have to call TCEQ back out here and get them to OK that site.”

Jones cautioned that the city must flush its lines of all iron and manganese buildups before sounding the “all clear” on its water.

“It’s certainly good to get them on-line and get the iron and manganese removed. But we’re only at the starting point,” the city manager said.

“Now comes the task of removing all the iron and manganese from the lines that have accumulated over the last 25 to 30 years.”

The job of flushing the lines will cause cloudy water, but the city is enlisting the help of the fire department and plans to work at night to lessen the impact.

“When we do the flush process, we’ll do it a section of town at a time, and we’ll do it at night within the next couple of weeks,” he said.

“We’ll do it until we get it [iron and manganese] all out.”

The city manager is optimistic – and realistic.

“Hopefully, it’ll all go pretty quickly,” he said. “But if we say that, it’ll take four months.”