Water Utilities director retiring Dec. 8

    Water Utilities Director Bill Riley is retiring from the City of San Angelo, effective Dec. 8.

    The search for Riley’s successor begins Friday, Oct. 20, when the opening will be posted at cosatx.us/jobs.

    Riley joined the City in December 2014 with more than 30 years experience as a water utilities professional. Over the past three years, he has spearheaded major efforts that have led to:

    • The purchase of the Ford Ranch, which protects San Angelo’s rights to the Hickory Aquifer from encroachment by other users.
    • Expansion of the Hickory Aquifer wellfield that will give San Angelo full access to its allotment from the groundwater source.
    • A new water rate structure that has put the water utility back on a path to financial sustainability. The new rates are also allowing for greater investment in water infrastructure and increasing the ability to finance future water supply projects.
    • An exhaustive search for future water supplies in coordination with the West Texas Water Partnership.
    • The replacement of water and sewer mains as part of the City’s 10-year plan to rebuild San Angelo’s worst streets.
    • The necessary research to update San Angelo’s nearly 100-year-old water treatment plant and to use retreated wastewater at some future point.

    “San Angelo is mostly unaware how fortunate we were to have Bill Riley, his expertise and his experience,” Public Works Director Ricky Dickson said. “Water is our community’s most pressing challenge, and we’re in a far better position today than we were three years ago. That’s directly tied to Bill’s efforts and his leadership.

    “Beyond that, he’s just a tremendous person,” Dickson added. “Hopefully, we can find someone of Bill’s caliber. It’s important to find the right person who fits this organization.”

    The water utilities director is responsible for all operational and infrastructure matters related to water supply, productiondistributionquality and conservation. The director is also responsible for wastewater treatmentutilities maintenancebilling and customer service.

    Riley cited pressing needs within his family as the reason for his retirement.

    “I was drawn to this job because I knew how challenging San Angelo’s water issues are,” Riley said. “I hope I’ve made a difference that will serve this community well for generations to come. I wish I could continue, but life has other plans for me.”

    Prior to joining the City, Riley served as president and general partner of Water Resources Management, LLC, a consulting firm that assisted water utilities with developing strategies for a broad spectrum of operational, management, financial and resource challenges. From 1991-2000, he served as the water/wastewater utilities manager in College Station, where he began his career in 1983. From 2000-02, Riley managed the water and wastewater consulting practice of Reed, Stowe & Yanke, providing financial, management and operations guidance to public sector clients.

    Water Reclamation 

    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.

    Kickapoo Composting Facility

    Composting operations were initiated in December 2003. 

    Feedstock consists of Class B digested biosolids from the nearby City Water Reclamation Facility. Approximately 1,100 cubic yards of material are transported to the facility each month for processing. Windrows are formed by combining incoming biosolids with finished product to obtain the desired moisture content. 

    Once the material has been composted, has completed a curing process and passes all tests mandated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the material is classified as a Class A biosolid. The composted Class A biosolids' use is unrestricted. The material makes an excellent soil amendment.

    Wastewater treatment

    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:     

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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

    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.