Bistone water project nearly complete
Bistone Water Supply District is about to complete a huge project that included replacing one of its major water tanks and making other significant upgrades, including installing smart water meters for all its customers.
Installing the meters is the final phase of the project and began May 1. As of June 15, about 50 percent of the meters had been installed, with 90 percent of them projected to be installed by the end of June.
Brent Locke, who has been general manager of Bistone for 26 years, spoke to the Mexia Lions Club on the project, focusing on the smart meters; but he also talked about how the project began.
Bistone’s water comes from two sources, he reminded those at the meeting: Lake Mexia, which is surface water, and wells in Personville, which are classified as groundwater. The Personville well water is purified at the site then piped to Mexia. The water in Lake Mexia is also purified at its site, and is used for customers outside Mexia.
The old water tank at the Personville location was long past its expected life, was getting rusty and had at least one significant leak where someone had shot a hole in it. It got so bad, Locke said, that he had senior operator Andy Smiley and another employee cut a cedar stake and drive it into the hole so the tank would last until the new tank was operational.
“You hear some people say the project wasn’t justified, or it cost too much,” Locke said. “That tank was in so bad a shape, we had to do something. That’s what started us down this road.”
Simply replacing the tank, however, would have meant no water for the two months needed to do so, which was not an acceptable alternative. Instead, Bistone had a concrete tank installed near the old tank so the changeover was seamless as far as customers were concerned.
More than the tank needed work, however. Bistone needed to do maintenance work on the filter, which had been online since 1982; and make other upgrades.
The project added an access road to the Personville facility that was desperately needed. The site had a gate that opened and closed; but when the power was off, there was no way to get inside the plant to try to troubleshoot what was wrong.
“You literally had to crawl over what was supposed to be a man-proof fence to work on it,” Locke said.
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