News Feature | July 7, 2015

In Texas, Rain Ends Direct Potable Reuse Reign

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

A so-called “toilet-to-tap” project in Texas — the first of its kind in the nation — is ending along with the state’s record drought.

“It's been almost a year since the Emergency Reuse Pipeline in Wichita Falls went online, and now that lakes are full, city officials say it's time to start the decommission process,” Nexstar Broadcasting reported.

The 12-mile pipeline carried treated wastewater — normally released into the Wichita River — to a drinking water treatment plant so it could be treated again and then relayed to homes. Wichita Falls is the only U.S. city that has served recycled wastewater to homes, according to KALW.

“With the end of the drought will come the phase out of the temporary water reuse pipeline,” Nexstar Broadcasting reported in a separate piece. ”Public Works Director Russell Schreiber says it's going to take the contractor some time to remove the 12-and-a-half mile pipeline, but they hope to begin that process sometime [in July].”

Ever mindful of conservation, Wichita Falls is reusing the pipeline materials in a more permanent installation. Schreiber explained the progress on this latest effort, an indirect potable reuse project.

"The [indirect potable reuse] project is moving along well. We intend to have that project ready to bid late summer, maybe as quick as August or September, at which time we will need that pipeline that's part of the [direct potable reuse] project," he said, per the report.

Last year, Wichita Falls began to reuse “millions of gallons of water at the River Road Waste Treatment plant that's been purified to meet government drinking standards. The water is then sent by a 12-mile pipeline to the Cypress Water Treatment Plant for additional purification," the Associated Press reported.

The permanent project will carry water along a new route. It will go from the River Road waste plant to Lake Arrowhead, instead of into the Cypress Water Plant, Nexstar Broadcasting reported.

For more potable reuse news, visit Water Online’s Water Reuse Solutions Center.