The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

December 11, 2012

City of Palestine plans water system burn out Jan. 11

PALESTINE — The Palestine City Council heard details on an upcoming city-wide water system burn out set to take place in January during a report from city utilities director Robert Sedgwick on Monday.

This is the first time the city has ever done a burn out, Sedgwick said, which is needed to kill nitrification growth in the distribution system that is causing taste, odor and color issues.

“It is also a necessary action for removing the ammonia residual from the water,” he added, stating that the utilities department will be performing the burn out on Friday, Jan. 11.

“Residents may experience possible chlorine smell and red water, especially in areas that use cast iron water pipes,” Sedgwick said. “The ammonia will be turned off and then turned back on in three weeks time, and residents may experience the effects for approximately one week.”

The burn out is a suggestion of the local TCEQ Regional office because of the city’s struggles with maintaining its chlorine residuals, especially in the summer months.

A distribution burn out is accomplished by turning the ammonia off at the treatment plant. By doing this, a free chlorine residual is produced, which is much stronger than the combined chlorine residual the city’s system normally has.

“This process will kill the bacterial growth in the distribution system,” Sedgwick explained.

According to reports, the City of Palestine has struggled to maintain the required .5 parts per million, chlorine residual.

“After checking with other cities that undergo the same process,” Sedgwick said, “we have found that conducting a routine free chlorine burn out every six months may be the best way to ensure a safe drinking water supply for the citizens.”

Sedgwick reported that citizens, media outlets and the TCEQ will be notified about the burn out as required by law. The process is safe and does not prohibit use of water by residents.

Also on Monday, the council:

• HELD a work session to discuss existing regulations for outdoor storage and off-street parking in residential areas.

• RECOGNIZED building official Buck Kelly for attaining certification as a licensed plumbing inspector.

• RECOGNIZED the finance department for receiving the Financial Reporting Achievement Award.

• HEARD city manager reports, which included city attorney fees, water system burn out notice, and departmental reports from the fire, finance, public works and economic development departments.

• APPROVED the consent agenda, which included awarding the bid for pick-up trucks (Bid No. B2013-03) to All-Star Ford of Palestine and approval of minutes for the work session and regular meeting on Nov. 26.

• APPROVED an ordinance annexing the Homestead at Fort Houston subdivision, Unit 6, and the west half of Variah Street that is parallel with the east line of Unit 6.

The second of two public hearings on the issue was held during Monday’s meeting. No one voiced concerns for or against the annexation at either hearing.

• APPROVED a 24-month Lease Agreement at Palestine Mall for Taxboys LLC.

• DISCUSSED in closed session lease negotiations for property located at 200 Vista Ridge, Project Pico, Project Swiss, the acquisition and sale of real property and Larry Coker v. City of Palestine.

Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at

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