Radium And Iron Removed From Radioactive Water To Solve Water Scarcity Crisis In Texas


Jim Jackson, National Sales Manager for Mazzei, discusses a San Angelo, TX project removing radium and iron from a radioactive water source to solve the city’s water scarcity problem.

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The following is an excerpt from a Q&A with Water Online Radio. Click on the Radio Player above to hear the full interview.

Water Online Radio: I hear a lot of noise about water scarcity. Is it really that big an issue?

Jim: You know, it's becoming an issue. We always thought of water scarcity when shown pictures of Africa or the Sahara Desert, but in fact, it's right here in the US. I came across an article recently about Haskell County, Kansas running out of water.

I mean, they're going deeper and deeper and they're destroying their pumps. They're now pumping gravel, and they're unable to raise crops, so I thought, “That's one place.”

Then when I got off the plane this Sunday, and I come across the Sunday Denver Post, right here on the front page, “Drought Turns Planes to Dust.” It turns out that Lamar, Colorado, is facing the same concerns. Aquifers have been over-pumped, they're not being replenished, and now we're facing severe drought conditions here in the US.

Water Online Radio: What can technology do to help us combat this problem?

Jim: Well, we're fortunate. There are water sources that in the past, we wouldn't have considered using. They were just too contaminated, too difficult to utilize. But thanks to progress we've made in the technology of water treatment, we can take some of these unusable sources and turn them into potable water resources.

A very good example would be San Angelo, Texas. This is a town of about 100,000 people, and right now, they're in drought level II. They have 18 months of surface water left. That's if they get normal rain. In 18 months, when they're out of water, it's lock the door and say goodbye.

Fortunately, they do have a reservoir. Hickory Aquifer Project was started over 18 months ago, and the only reason they didn't use the aquifer in the past was because it was contaminated with radium. It's actually radioactive water. I don't know if it glows in the dark, but you can't drink it.

Water Online Radio: Boy, and we thought arsenic was ugly.

Jim: The project's bringing that water through 62 miles of 30-inch pipeline. It'll deliver about 6 MGD when it's done, later this summer, and the difficulty here is that the water contains both iron and radium.

Now, there is a special media that will remove the radium. Actually, the company is here on the floor today, WRT. The only problem is, the iron will fowl their media. That's where Mazzei Injector got involved.

We got involved with the pressurized aeration of the water, without breaking pressure well head, so that we could have one continuous line from the pump field through that 30-inch line, through the water treatment plant, remove it with standard media, and then go into this special filter, add some chlorine, and voilà, we have 6 MGD of purified drinking water…

Click on the Radio Player above to hear the full interview.