Whether building residentially or commercially, seldom does a project finish on time. The new water plant in Archer City was projected to open last April, but that did not happen. According to water plant manager Billy Ballard, there were a lot of things that were not put into the plan for the plant to run automated. When it came time for completion, there were other pieces of equipment that had to be bought. These had to go through the red tape process of changing orders and then approval by engineers and the City.
“Two turbity meters we bought were brand new, but when they were opened, they did not work. Those had to be sent back and replaced. The SCDA system, the brain which runs everything automatically, has had problems getting the bugs worked out. There is SCDA data needed to put on TCEQ reports, and they are having to figure out a way to format that into an excel sheet that can be used.”
Billy has run some tests manually to get water to the plant with pretty good results, but fully auto did not work. There are two different computer systems, one for filters and one for rest of plant, and they are having difficulty trying to work the bugs out for the two computers to talk to one another.
“ If the plant was manually operated 24 hours a day, we wouldn’t have to have all this extra equipment, but for it to be automated, we must have it,” Ballard said. “Everything just adds up and prolongs the process.”
City Manager George Huffman says this delay will not cost taxpayers additional money.
Whether the new water plant is operational in a few week or months is not certain, but the City will not accept the plant completion until everything is running just as it should.
“I know everybody is ready for the new water plant to open, but nobody is more ready than I am,” Ballard said. “This old plant is standing on its last leg. Sometimes I wonder how it is still going.”