Winter Water Operations

Winter Water Operations
Posted on 01/12/2021
City of Pullman Water TankOperations personnel: you may not see them daily, but they are working each day, all year long to ensure delivery of safe water to your home and business. Fondly called “pump runs” ops personnel visit each well and pumphouse throughout the city daily, to test treatment levels, and ensure the mechanics at each location are operating correctly. Pump runs are one of many things that remain consistent throughout the year. Water usage goes from 126.7 million gallons per month (~4 million gallons per day) in July, to around 50 million gallons per month (~1.6 million gallons per day) during the winter months. This is largely due to irrigation taking place during the summer. As we transition into the winter months, and out of irrigation season, there are many steps our Operations crew members take to prepare for decreased water usage throughout town. Some of the steps they take to ensure we are winter ready include:
• Changes to the pumping scheme to accommodate for seasonal usage are implemented. Example: Since demand is significantly lower, Well 5 is usually turned off and Well 8 takes over production to serve the south end of town.
• Water tank levels are lowered, and is storage reduced to keep water fresh and prevent it from becoming stagnant.
• Changes to the amount of sodium hypochlorite (chlorine) that is made and stored at each well occur, to prevent it from losing its effective strength to treat the water.
• Adjustments to well chlorine residual levels are made. As the temperature decreases, less biological growth occurs, which leads to the use of less chlorine (sodium hypochlorite) to achieve the desired residual in the water system.

Daily, weekly, and monthly duties for the Operations team do not change much in winter, but additional focus is placed on maintenance at the well and booster locations. Staff target equipment that is being used to meet demand during summer months, making sure all is ready to run at full capacity when irrigation season comes back around. We appreciate these, and all, steps the Operations Division crew members take to ensure strong infrastructure for a safe and thriving community.