Frequently Asked Questions
Where does Mesquite's drinking water originate?
Drinking water in Mesquite originates at Lavon Reservoir in Wylie, Texas. The water levels in Lavon are supplemented by raw water from Lake Texoma, Lake Jim Chapman, Lake Tawakoni, the Upper Sabine Basin Supply Project, the East Fork Raw Water Supply Project and Lake Bonham.
Who treats the water received from Lavon?
The drinking water in Mesquite is treated by the North Texas Municipal Water District, located in Wylie. Mesquite is one of thirteen member and many customer cities purchasing treated water from NTMWD. In addition to Mesquite customer cities include Garland, Richardson, Frisco, Allen, Plano and others.
What type of water facilities are located in Mesquite?
The City of Mesquite currently operates three pumping stations with an estimated delivery capacity of 67,794,000 gallons per day. In addition, there are four overhead storage tanks holding a total of 9.5 million gallons of potable water.
Who treats the wastewater in Mesquite and where is the plant located?
Wastewater is treated at the Mesquite Regional Treatment Plant on Lawson Road. The treatment plant is located adjacent to the Compost Facility and Citizens Convenience Center. The treatment plant is operated by the wastewater division of the North Texas Municipal Water District.
Sometimes the tap water appears white and milky. Why is this?
White or milky looking water is caused by air. The milky appearance is the result of millions of small air bubbles released into the water by cooler water temperatures or air trapped in the distribution system. If a glass of this discolored water stands for a short period of time, the air will migrate to the top of the glass then dissipate.
Sometimes the water is brownish or even yellow in color. Why is this?
Brown or yellow water is caused by leaching of oxidized iron in cast iron water mains. The water at such times is harmless although aesthetically unpleasant. If a citizen experiences discolored water please call 972-216-6278 for assistance.
Sometimes I have small particles clogging my faucets and shower head. What is this material?
If the material looks or feels like a plastic product, it is the dip tube located in the hot water heater. Many plastic dip tubes deteriorate with time and must be replaced. It is recommended that a licensed plumber perform this task. This became a common problem when manufacturers began using plastic dip tubes some years ago. If the particles do not appear to be plastic and crumble easily in your hand, they are from mineral build up in the hot water heater. As water is heated the minerals such as calcium and magnesium cling together and settle out of the water into the bottom of the hot water heater. Flush the heater periodically to rid it of these particles.
What is the white substance left behind in the pot when we boil water?
When water is boiled, calcium in the water is dissipated from the water which then clings to the surface in which it is boiled.
What is the hardness level of the water in Mesquite?
Mesquite's water is considered moderately hard. The hardness level can vary from month to month, but averages between 93 and 134 milligrams per liter. For reference when purchasing a new washing machine, the hardness levels calculate from 5.44 to 7.84 grains per gallon.
How can I obtain a chemical analysis report on the drinking water?
Each month NTMWD provides Mesquite with a chemical analysis report reflecting the previous month's averages. This report is available by mail, fax or a customer may pick one up in person by calling 972-216-6278.
Is fluoride added during the treatment process?
Although there is natural fluoride in the raw water, additional fluoride is added by NTMWD during treatment. The fluoride is added for the prevention of tooth decay in young children.
What about chlorine in the drinking water?
The City of Mesquite does not maintain a "free chlorine" residual in the drinking water. The NTMWD uses "chloramines" for water disinfection, leaving a chloramine residual behind for secondary disinfection of water in the distribution system. In other words there is a chloramine product in the water which is available to disinfect anything that might enter the system after initial treatment. Chlorine alone was found to bind with other materials to produce a bi-product considered to be carcinogenic in nature. Chloramines are formed by combining chlorine and ammonia before injection to the water. This combination stabilizes the chlorine greatly reducing the production of carcinogens, thus meeting Federal Drinking Water rules. In addition, this combination lasts much longer in the system for secondary disinfection.
What about water testing?
The City of Mesquite is required by law to furnish 120 bacteriological samples per month for testing. These samples are taken weekly and delivered to the State-certified lab in Wylie. If a bad sample is found, immediate retesting is required. If repeat testing fails the public would immediately be notified. The City of Mesquite has been recognized by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for "outstanding performance" related to bacteriological sampling.
Testing is done based on a mapping system approved by the TCEQ. The testing sites are set up to encompass the entire distribution system. This site map and subsequent testing provides coverage for all areas of the distribution system.
Occasionally I see water running and no one repairing it. Why is this?
Current Federal law requires notification to all franchise utilities before excavating. A 48 hour notice is required for line locations. In an emergency when safety or property damage is an immediate concern, line location may be secured in two hours. Most repairs are not classified as emergencies. Often the locations may be made and there still seems to be no activity. Leaks are prioritized with large impact leaks and emergencies taking precedent over small nuisance leaks.
How large is Mesquite's water system?
My water was cut off and I was not notified. Why is this?
The City of Mesquite attempts to notify customers of water service interruptions whenever possible. When water is cut off in an emergency situation residents are not always notified. On occasion there is not adequate time to notify due to a water main break which is causing property damage or is a safety concern. There are times when a water main rupture is substantial enough to depressurize the water lines in the immediate vicinity of the damage. Under this condition water is exiting the pipe in such volume that water pressure and flow can not be maintained. The drop in pressure gives the appearance of the water being turned off even though this has not occurred. If water service will be interrupted for only a short period of time, notification is sometimes not given. Notification in these cases takes manpower which is not available and service will be restored very soon.
Why do I see fire hydrants running and no one around? Why are we wasting water?
Fire hydrants are flushed for numerous reasons. Hydrants are opened to flush the system when water appears discolored, has an odor or to remove air from the system. Hydrants are often left open after a water main repair to relieve excessive pressure build up as the system is repressurized.
My water has an earthy or musty taste and odor. What causes this?
The musty or earthy taste and odor is caused by an algae bloom at the lake. Texas lakes are prone to blue green algae bloom around July and August, which creates problems in the treatment process. The algae is removed during the treatment process but leaves behind the odor and taste problems experienced by customers. The water is treated at the Wylie plant with activated carbon and potassium permanganate to aid in the control of these odors and foul tastes. Little can be done in the distribution system to control this harmless nuisance. Customers often ask City forces to flush fire hydrants in an effort to control this problem. Fire hydrant flushing is non-effective during this time. The odor and poor taste clears as the algae levels slowly return to normal.
The City of Mesquite currently uses a metal meter box which is much more durable and practical than plastic or concrete boxes. The box locks to protect the City-owned meter and cut off valve. This is the industry standard in use by most communities. It is a violation of City Code for anyone to tamper with the City-owned valve, meter or line within the City right-of-way.
Section 16-6 of the City Code states "It shall be unlawful for any person to tamper with or interfere in any manner with any water meters, service mains, standpipes or any other utilities division property."
The valve located in the meter box is the property of the Utilities Division and is easily damaged by those not acquainted with its operation. Most homes have a cut-off valve belonging to the property owner located next to the foundation. In many cases these valves are difficult to locate. They are approximately 18" deep and were installed with a valve extension to ground level which eventually rusted away or broke off. Property owners may choose to excavate the valve and place a plastic valve box over it (available at any home improvement center) for ease of use in the future. Customers may call 972-216-6278 for water cut-off and reconnect at the City meter box. During normal working hours Utilities personnel can often make a cut-off or reconnect within one hour of notification. During off hours this will take longer than during normal operating hours.