On Wednesday, January 24, the Jefferson High School Conservation Leadership Team made their annual visit to Northeast Texas Municipal Water District (NETMWD) headquarters and to their drinking water purification plant at Dalton’s Corner. The group learned from Robert Speight about what all the agency does for their constituent communities, how they check and regulate water quality, and the importance of properly operating private sewage systems. Later at the treatment plant, students were led on a tour by a lead operator Gary Watson that included the steps in cleaning and then purifying drinking water. Students were surprised to learn of the limitations of disinfectants such as chlorine and how the plant works with cities to insure the safety of drinking water.
Students began their day of field work by conducting water quality monitoring at their monthly test site using electronic probes provided by Collins Academy and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as part of the ongoing Paddlefish Project.
Their next stop was NETMWD headquarters near Hughes Springs where Team Leader for Water Quality Robert Speight delivered an informative presentation about NEIMWD’s duties and responsibilities as the local authority over water quality and quantity issues at Lake O’the Pines. Robert also explained the importance of functional private sewer systems and the Clean Rivers Program.
Next, the group of 10 were off to the drinking water treatment facility at Dalton’s Corner. Here, Mr. Watson explained the physical and chemical processes if cleaning and disinfecting drinking water and then pushing it sometimes many miles to customer cities.
After the drinking water plant tour, the group stopped in at Hurricane Park at Lake O’the Pines to conduct additional water monitoring to compare water quality in the bayou to that in the lake.
The Conservation Leadership Program is a monthly citizen science project whereby students learn to test water quality using accepted scientific methods and procedures. It culminates with mastery of the content knowledge and skills necessary for certification as a Water Quality Monitor with the Texas Stream Team program out of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University in San Marcos.