A Texas city is looking to recycle sewer water into drinking water

Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 5:47pm

What would it take for you to drink tap water that had been recycled straight from the sewer? Well, it could soon happen in Wichita Falls, a Texas City about two hours from Dallas. It's facing severe water shortage and is looking for solutions, Larry Mowry has more.

For most going from this to this, would be pretty hard to swallow, Glenn Barham, Wichita Falls Mayor, "I don't know, you know Larry it's getting pretty drastic."

In Wichita Falls, they're literally running out of water, Glenn Barham, "This reuse project will put 5 million gallons a day back in the distribution steam so it saves us taking 5 million gallons out of the lake."

Larry Mowry, "This is Lake Arrowhead. Or what's left of it. This boat dock hasn't been used in years. The water that's left in this lake is way down there. The lake itself is only 27 percent full."

Lake Arrowhead is the city's main water source, but when it started looking more like a dust bowl two years ago.

City leaders reached out to the state about the possibility of recycling sewer water straight to the tap, Daniel Nix, Wichita Falls Public Utilities Operations Manager, "We evaluated the waste water first to see what we were going to have to be dealing with."

Turns out the treated wastewater wasn't all that bad. It wouldn't take much to turn it into drinking water.

Daniel Nix, "The only missing piece of that puzzle was the pipeline connecting the wastewater plant to the water treatment plant."

With that pipe now in place the city is doing tests so the state will sign off on the project

Larry Mowry, "Would you drive the water?"

Daniel Nix, "Absolutely."

Larry Mowry, "Would you let your kids drink the water?"

Daniel Nix, "Absolutely. We're all living downstream from somebody. So we in essence are all already doing reuse."

City leaders say after years of higher water bills and increasing water restriction, most residents, they get it.

Resident, "I think you can get used to it."

Resident, "I'm happy about it because we're concerned here about our water levels and whether or not we're going to have water."

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