About Water Systems
The Water Systems Division is comprised of four subdivisions: two water treatment facilities, a water testing laboratory, and the transmission and distribution department.
The city’s first water purification plant was constructed in 1918 and had a total treatment capacity of 1/2 million gallons per day (MGD), when the population was around 5,000 to 6,000 people. The population grew to approximately 9,000 people by 1928, and two additional filters and facilities were constructed, bringing the total plant capacity to 1 MGD. The original plant remained in service until 1998, when it was decommissioned. The land has since been dedicated to Firemen’s Park, a City park founded by the McAllen volunteer fire department. The old water storage reservoir is being widened and deepened and will be the first fishing and non-motorized boating recreational facility in McAllen. The City now has two more modern water treatment facilities in operation.
The Southwest plant, located along U.S. Highway 83, began operation in September of 1959 and has undergone several expansions since that time to its current treatment capacity of 47.25 MGD.
The Northwest plant, located on Bentsen Road, was constructed in 2004 with the capability to be expanded to increase treatment capacity up to 32 MGD. The current peak capacity is 11.25 MGD.
Both plants operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. With a staff of approximately 80 full-time employees, we take the safety and health of our citizens very seriously and work hard to ensure our water is safe for consumption at all times. A water operator is present every hour of the day to ensure the systems are operating properly.
The water laboratory, which is certified by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), is located adjacent to the Southwest plant. We test water samples from all over the city daily to ensure the City’s water quality. We routinely test for bacteriological content, total organic carbon, pH, turbidity, chlorine, hardness, alkalinity and temperature. In addition, TCEQ collects samples and conducts its own testing on many samples on an annual basis. An annual report known as the Consumer Confidence Report is available for your review. This is a detailed report on the quality of water from the previous year.
Transmission & Distribution, formerly Water Line Maintenance, is the newest addition to Water Systems. Transmission & Distribution is responsible for water line maintenance such as repairing breaks or leaks, maintaining water line pressure, repair and maintenance of fire hydrants, and performing maintenance work on meters. Transmission and Distribution also oversees the backflow prevention program, which is a program created to regulate the installation and maintenance of backflow prevention devices. See more about backflow prevention here.
Water Systems also oversees the water conservation education program. For more information on our program andinformation on what you can do to conserve water, take a look at our Water Conservation page.
Water Systems Staff
|Name ||Position ||Phone |
|Water Hotline ||After-Hours Emergency Line ||681-1717 |
|Javier Santiago ||Director of Water Systems ||681-1705 |
|Joe Solis ||Assistant Director of Water Systems ||681-1707 |
|Jose Salinas ||Southwest Water Plant Manager ||681-1708 |
|J.D. Ibarra ||Working Supervisor (South Plant) ||681-1709 |
|Toby Hernandez ||Northwest Plant Manager ||681-1741 |
|David Nolan ||Working Supervisor (North Plant) ||681-1742 |
|Jennifer Dorsett ||Water Education Specialist ||681-1704 |
|Ester Balboa ||Administrative Supervisor ||681-1702 |
|Perla Pitones ||Administrative Clerk ||681-1701 |
|Water Plant Info ||General Information Line ||681-1700 |
|Water Laboratory ||Water Laboratory Main Line ||681-1720 |
|Gary Gracia ||Laboratory Manager ||681-1722 |
|Christina Flores ||Water Laboratory Assistant Manager ||681-1721 |
Frequently Asked Questions
Where does our drinking water come from?
We receive our water from the Rio Grande via purchase agreements with four water districts: Hidalgo County Irrigation Districts Nos. 2 and 3, United Irrigation District and the Brownsville Irrigation Districts via a network of canals and pipes. The water is then directed to a relift pumping station located within the City. From there, the water is transported to the Boeye Reservoir to await treatment at one of our two water treatment facilities.
How is our water treated and purified?
At the plants, the raw water is injected with a disinfectant to kill any bacteria present. After this, in a process known as flocculation, the water is mixed with a coagulant, which will adhere to any solids such as dirt that are in the water and cause these particulates to clump together. The water is transferred to sedimentation tanks, where the “floc,” or the clumps of solids, settles to the bottom of the tanks. The water passes over several barriers in the tanks to ensure as much floc as possible is eliminated. At this time, a secondary disinfection process utilizing chlorine occurs to make certain the water is as clean as possible. The clarified water is transferred into one last set of tanks, where filters made of coal and fine-grained silica sand further clean out any impurities. Finally, the water is transported to homes and businesses for your use, and what isn’t needed immediately is transferred to water towers for storage.
Who would I call to report a leak?
If you see a leaking fire hydrant, a water main break, or any other leaking pipes, please call the water hotline at 956-681-1717.
Why do I need to install a backflow prevention device on my irrigation system?
Transmission & Distribution oversees the backflow prevention program. Please visit their page and if you have any remaining questions, they would be happy to address your concerns at 956-681-1660.