BONHAM, Texas -- Bonham's waste water treatment plant was built in the 1950's, and is now in violation of regulations set by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. City officials tell us they are partnering with TCEQ to get the plant up to code, a project that will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Floating, non-biodegradable, solid waste is supposed to go through a headworks machine, to be ground up and disposed of, the moment it enters Bonham's waste water treatment plant.
"The current one is out of service," explained Ronny Ford, director of public utilities.
So the TCEQ issued a code violation because plastic solids are traveling past the headworks station, further into the plant.
"When you have that headworks not working properly, some of that stuff gets into the plant. It becomes very labor intensive to keep it clean, and it can be overwhelming at times," said Bonham city manager Bill Shipp.
Ford says they've been using nets to filter out the solids, and those nets must be manually cleaned out twice a week, "If the headworks were in place right now, it would be removed at the head works, and hauled away and never go through the system."
Shipp assures residents the water is being properly treated -- it's just taking extra resources and manpower--and they've been planning these improvements for a while.
"It's just one of those things that you can't say begins at X date, it's something that just over time gradually becomes worse on you," said Shipp.
The City has now signed an agreement with TCEQ, and will spend an estimated $230,000 to start fixing the headworks station in December, then get an engineering analysis of the entire plant.
"Really and truly, it's TCEQ and the City, working together through an agreement, and applying monies that otherwise might be fines, and they're actually applying it to fix our plant," said Shipp.