News Feature | February 22, 2016

Wichita Falls Plans $30 Million IPR System

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

Officials in Wichita Falls, who have distinguished themselves as some of the nation’s most forward-thinking water planners, are making headway on the Texas city’s latest water supply project. 

The city is building a 17-mile pipeline between Lake Arrowhead and River Road Wastewater Treatment Plant, according to the Times Record News. That will include five miles of new, 36-inch ductile iron pipe as well as 12 miles of 32-inch high-density polyethylene pipeline re-purposed from a deconstructed direct potable reuse system that the city uses during the since-ceased Texas drought. 

The plant currently processes 9 MGD, treating it and then releasing it to the Wichita River, according to KAUZ. “The city will eventually have the capability of capturing 16 million gallons of water a day that will be treated at the wastewater treatment plant, then travel 17 miles and end at Lake Arrowhead,” KAUZ reported. 

“The $30 million project, termed the ‘permanent indirect potable reuse system,’ is expected to dump 8 million to 10 million gallons of treated wastewater into the lake daily — water which otherwise would be lost downstream,” the Times Record News reported. 

Upgrades will also include “the construction of new chemical facilities, wastewater treatment process units, pumping facilities, infrastructure improvements, and associated works,” KAUZ reported, citing city officials. 

Russell Schreiber, Wichita Falls director of public works, told KAUZ: “It involves some chemical treatment to remove phosphorus, and we want to add some cloth filtration out there.” 

Construction on the initial phase of the project begins this month. Schreiber told KAUZ: “With this project we will capture that water and we get to put it back into our supply. We get to put it back into the lakes and use it again for our supply. It’s a tremendous boost to our overall water supply. It will certainly make us a lot more drought tolerant, during the next drought.” 

Schreiber said the design phase of the project is complete. The entire project is slated for completion in February 2018. 

A four-year drought ended in Texas last year, and now the state is almost universally out of drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. But water challenges have not evaporated in the Lone Star State. 

“The amounts of water stored in the ground are still greatly below normal,” The Fort Stockton Pioneer reported, citing scientists at the University of Texas at Austin. “The analysis of satellite data indicated that the state lost 84 million acre-feet of water during the peak of the drought, but had only recovered about 10 percent as of January 2015.” 

For more IPR news, visit Water Online’s Water Reuse Solutions Center