DENISON, TX -- The city of Denison is one step closer to a possible new pumping station at Lake Texoma, but they want to assure area residents they will not be pumping any more water than normal out of the already low lake. Monday, council members gave the green light to hire a company that will take the initial steps to replace the pump station that is more than a half century old.
When water begins to run dry at Lake Randell, Denison's primary water source, the city replenishes the lake with water from Lake Texoma. A pump station, built in 1953, takes water from Lake Texoma and dumps it in a creek that carries it to Lake Randell.
"We don't pump Texoma water every year. We don't pump it every month of those years even. If we get average rainfall and Randell is sufficient without Texoma then we don't have to pump that year," Dean Rylant, Water Plant Superintendent said.
Water Plant Superintendent Dean Rylant says due to the drought, Denison has had to pump from Lake Texoma for the past four years. He says with water levels at 30 year lows the station's intake box, where the water comes into the pump station, has been affected.
"If the lake was at a normal elevation then our box would be five feet deep, and right now there's two feet of it sticking out of the lake," Rylant said.
Now, the intake box can only bring in water through the sides, which forces the pump to work harder. That is why Denison Public Works Director David Howerton says the new pump would be built down deeper into Lake Texoma.
"Down to the point that the corps allows municipalities to withdraw water which is elevation 590. It's about 18 feet lower than were it is right now," Howerton
Rylant adds that the pump station also needs to be replaced to block out invasive species like Zebra Mussels.
"The materials that our screens are made out of aren't for, you know preventing Zebra Mussels," Rylant said.
With Monday night's vote the Denison City Council took the first step in replacing the pump, hiring Alan Plummer Associates to find a new location and help create a design.
"The project will take about three years to complete. We're going to have a kickoff in about three weeks and start our initial site assessment," Alan Tucker, with Alan Plummer Associates Inc., said.
Alan Plummer Associates says once it is done creating the initial plans it will send off an application to the Army Corps of Engineers who will either approve or deny the building of the pump station.