News Feature | May 28, 2014

Indirect Potable Reuse May Come To North Texas

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome


Texas regulators are considering a proposal for a major indirect potable reuse project in drought-plagued Wichita Falls. 

"The North Texas city near the Oklahoma border is about 34 inches behind on precipitation over the past three years. It's awaiting state regulatory approval of a system that would reuse wastewater, a small amount coming from flushes," the Associated Press reported

Drought conditions in Texas have had a severe effect on Wichita Falls. Lakes that serve the city are only a quarter of the way full, the report said. 

What would the proposed project look like? "The ground-breaking four-step recycling process, which would provide more than a third of the city’s current daily water use, entails treating a blend of 50 percent wastewater with 50 percent reservoir water," the Star Telegram reported

The project would cost the city $35 million, according to Liberty Voice

"If approved it will take wastewater from the sewage plant and recycle it to Lake Arrowhead at a rate of 12 to 16 million gallons of water every day and the project is estimated to take 3-5 years to complete," the report said.

Locals are already on board. "Residents of the city of 104,000, about 100 miles northwest of Fort Worth, were initially hesitant about drinking “potty water or toilet water,” but they’ve realized it is one of the few alternatives left until the drought breaks, said city spokesman Barry Levy," the report said. 

Wichita Falls strengthened its water conservation efforts this month. Council members "passed a water rate increase for residents who use more than 10 units of water -- that's about 10,000 gallon," KFDX reported

The city is used to garnering national attention for its struggles against the drought. 

"National media is once again in Wichita Falls shedding the spotlight on Texas’s devastating drought and how residents are banding together in an effort to make sure every drop counts," KFDX reported in a separate piece. 

"The Weather Channel is running a series on the drought crisis in Wichita Falls but more importantly what residents are doing to raise public awareness on the region's crippling issue," the report said. 

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