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Drought, water concerns addressed in Monday council meeting


As drought conditions drag on, City Administrator Kelley Bloodworth addressed several water concerns during Monday’s meeting of the Henrietta City Council.

City resident J.D. Evans questioned the council about a letter sent to water customers which warned that the water supply had exceeded the Texas Commission on Environment Quality’s limit for Trihalomethanes, compounds that form when chlorine, used to treat municipal water supplies, reacts to naturally occurring organic matter.

Bloodworth said residents will continue to receive the letters on a quarterly basis until after new clear wells at the water treatment plant are in use. The above ground storage tanks will be put into use once the west lift station, located on West Omega Street, has been replaced. Both projects are part of a $3.25 million remodel of the city water system.

The letter states that Henrietta’s municipal water supply tested at 91 parts per billion gallons, said Troy Potts, public works director. The TCEQ maximum, set by the EPA is 80 parts per billion gallons. The water supply is tested at a site on FM 2847, the farthest point from the treatment plant.

Bloodworth said statements in the letter relating to possible health problems, including an increased chance of developing cancer, from drinking water are required by the TCEQ and the EPA. The city administrator said the state has not been able to produce evidence of an increased risk for cancer, but requires inclusion of the statements.

Evans also asked if the city had devised a plan to provide water if Lake Arrowhead becomes to low to release water out of. Bloodworth said the city has looked into reverting to wells that were once the source of city water, but some of the wells were no longer usable.

Henrietta is in Stage 3 water restrictions. The city pumped water from the Little Wichita River to feed the city reservoir last week, but has not had to have a release of water from Lake Arrowhead for some time. The City of Henrietta has first right for water from Lake Arrowhead over the City of Wichita Falls, which owns the reservoir. Henrietta is guaranteed 1,560 acre-feet of water from the lake each year.

Lake Arrowhead is at 39 percent capacity, down 20 percent from one year ago.

As lake levels continue to decline, Henrietta could face Stage 4 restriction, which would ban all outside watering.

On Monday, the council voted to order chemicals and begin the cleaning process of the city pool. If the city reaches Stage 4 after the pool opens in early June, it will be closed immediately. The city pool holds 95,000 gallons and costs the city approximately 200,000 gallons each summer.

In other business, the council:

  • Approved a final plat for a property in the Country Club Estates addition owned by Robert Forrester.
  • Approved George Davis, George Slagle and Mike Scott to serve another term on the Henrietta Housing Authority board of directors. Sandra Webb is the new executive director.
  • Approved a resolution authorizing continued participation in the steering committee of cities served by electric provider Oncor. The City of Henrietta pays an annual membership fee of 10 cents per capita.
  • Took no action on a request to close the 900 block of North Main Street for a block party.

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The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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