Strube 'right fit' as new Water Utilities director
San Angelo’s water utilities director is responsible for all operational and infrastructure matters related to water supply, production, distribution, quality and conservation. The director is also responsible for wastewater treatment, utilities maintenance, billing and customer service.
“Everyone agrees water is San Angelo’s number-one issue,” Strube said. “Without it, our community can’t thrive the way we all want it to. Beyond ensuring San Angelo has an abundant water supply, Water Utilities is also striving to improve our water quality, our infrastructure’s reliability and the ease of our customer service. To be entrusted with these responsibilities is both a great honor and a welcome challenge. I’m committed to making a difference.”
Strube replaces Bill Riley, who retired Dec. 8. She had served as interim director since then and as the assistant director since 2015.
“She’s extremely qualified and the right fit for this organization,” Public Works Executive Director Ricky Dickson said. “Allison understands our most pressing needs and issues, and the factors that influence those. Her work has earned her the respect and trust of her colleagues. All of that is important. It makes the transition seamless.”
Strube joined the City in 2012 as a project engineer in the Engineering Services Department. In that job, she designed system improvements and evaluated infrastructure issues related to water and sewer. She also managed Capital Improvements Plan projects and reviewed site development plans to ensure compliance with ordinances and other regulations.
As assistant director of Water Utilities, she assisted in administering department’s operations, including water treatment, reclamation and conservation; utility maintenance; and special projects. She evaluated capital plans, and recommended priorities and funding for infrastructure improvements.
Strube previously worked as a product engineer for Martifer-Hirschfeld Energy Systems. She graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Texas Tech University, and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Texas.
The job opening for assistant director of Water Utilities will soon be posted on the City’s website at cosatx.us/jobs.
The Water Reclamation Facility treats wastewater from the City of San Angelo to remove pollutants and to produce an environmentally safe water that meets state permit requirements.
All of the reclaimed water is utilized for irrigation. The water is either used to irrigate the City's farm or provided to the Tom Green County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 for irrigation for its members. Below are the operations managed by the Water Reclamation.
The wastewater treatment plant is a conventional activated sludge treatment plant that treats an average of 9 million to 10 million gallons per day. The plant uses three anaerobic digesters for sludge stabilization. The treatment process consists of six steps:
- Lift station: All of San Angelo's wastewater flows into a wet well located at the wastewater treatment plant. The wet well contains large pumps that pump all the wastewater to the head works of the plant.
- Mechanical bar screens: There are two mechanical bar screens located at the beginning of the head works. These bar screens are set on times to operate every 15 minutes. The bar screens have square tubing spaced approximately 1 inch apart. Any large rags or debris is stopped by these bar screens. The bar screens have large mechanical rakes that clean the debris off the bars and deposits them into a dumpster for disposal in the landfill.
- Grit removal: There is a grit removal system after the wastewater goes through the bar screens. Here sand, gravel, etc. are removed from the system and taken to the landfill for disposal.
- Primary clarifiers: There are four primary clarifiers that slow the flow of the water to allow fine particles to settle out. The sludge that settles to the bottom of the clarifiers is pumped to the digesters for stabilization. The effluent from the primary clarifiers flows into aeration basins for further treatment.
- Aeration basins: There are two aeration basins. Each basin contains more than 3,000 ceramic fine bubble diffusers. The diffusers act just like an air stone in a fish tank. Air flows through the diffusers to provide oxygen for the aerobic bacteria in the aeration basins. The aerobic bacteria thrive in the presence of oxygen and feed on the organic matter in the water, thus removing pollutants in the water.
- Final clarifiers: There are four final clarifiers that slow the flow of the water to allow the sludge from the aeration basins to settle out. The sludge settles to the bottom of the final clarifiers, where most of it is recirculated to the aeration basins to maintain an adequate level of aerobic bacteria. The cleaned wastewater flows into a wet well for pumping to the holding reservoirs. The water from the reservoirs is either pumped to the Tom Green County Water Control and Improvement District in Veribest for irrigation or is irrigated at the City's farm.
City Farm is located adjacent to the Water Reclamation Facility. It consists of approximately 2,463 acres that are leased for agricultural production.
The farm contains two effluent holding reservoirs that have the capacity to hold approximately 1 billion gallons of reclaimed water. An irrigation pump station is located adjacent to the reservoirs. The station pumps the water to either the Tom Green County Water Control and Improvement District's canals or to the farm's distribution system. All of the reclaimed water is utilized by irrigation.