The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 21, 2013

Water pressure concerns in Hennessey

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

HENNESSEY, Okla. — Cliff Vogt, owner of Hennessey’s Sonic Drive-In, is concerned about water pressure in the community.

Vogt told the town board Feb. 13 some of his equipment requires water pressure of 25-28 pounds, and at times the pressure has fallen as low as 18 pounds. He said he is concerned a new motel being constructed across the street from his restaurant will further affect the water pressure, when occupants of 50 rooms take showers at the same time.

Hennessey Public Works Director Curtis Turner said there have been periodic mechanical problems at the city reverse osmosis water plant, but he said the pressure has not fallen as low as Vogt’s did.

Turner said he was not present at the meeting, but said he may have been able to answer some of Vogt’s questions.

“Enid and Hennessey both pull from the same acquifer, but we have a reverse osmosis plant. We have nitrate problems and the supply is low because of the drought,” Turner said.

There were problems at the water plant, he said. The town is fed by two pumps, one from the wells into the plant and a second from the plant into the town’s two elevated water towers. From the water towers the water is gravity fed into the town.

“There’s usually 40 to 45 pounds pressure,” Turner said.

There are occasionally problems that prevent water moving from the plant into the water towers.

“When the plant needs water we run the wells, and when the water towers get low the plant will run water to town,” Turner said.

Recently, there was a problem with the automated pumping system at the plant and the pump had to be operated manually. Turner said that resulted in city employees driving five miles from Hennessey to the plant to manually turn on the pump, then make the drive again to turn it off when the towers were full.

“If the level drops 15 feet, it equals a loss of about 18 pounds, then if it drops another 10 feet it will drop about 20 pounds,” he said.

Turner said he has not been to the Sonic to check it out for problems. The business will have to have its water shut down to measure the pressure. He thinks Sonic may have been an isolated problem, because other places in the area consistently show 40-45 pounds pressure.

“In addition, more farmers are applying for irrigation permits every day and that will also use water,” Turner said. “It begins to add up with what has been taken out. Last year, we took out more than was replenished. There was no time we have done without water, and we haven’t had to ration water. That’s not saying that won’t come.”

The town’s reverse osmosis plant has been in operation since 2002. Reverse osmosis is a filtration method that passes water through pores in a filter membrane so small only the water is able to get through. Other contaminates are too large to pass through the pores of the system.

The plant has two parts. They also have high service pumps going to town. One pump broke down and the standby pump also broke on one occasion, Turner said. Water Department workers had to bypass the plant and pump directly from the wells until the pump going into town was operational again. On another occasion, the automatic system would not work and the pumps had to be operated manually, he said.

“We went through a period of about 12-13 days operating manually, and in some instances where the tower, usually about 115 feet, got into the 90s,” Turner said. “That made a lot of pressure difference.”

However, Turner does not believe there were any plant problems at the time of Vogt’s water pressure decline.

In the meantime, Vogt said nobody has come by and he will wait for the city to investigate his problem. Although he has periodic problems, the pressure is good now.

“It’s only been a week. I will let them get back to me. Sometimes it is low, but it’s fine now,” Vogt said.