One Year Later: Water Reuse Project

It has been one year since the temporary water reuse project went online.
“The system has performed flawlessly.  It’s done everything that we wanted it to do,” Daniel Nix, Operations Manager said, “It’s met our expectations, so it’s been a good year.”
However, it wasn’t that way leading up to flipping the switch.  There were a number of hurdles, officials had to get past.  A major hurdle was getting approval by the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality.  An even more challenging obstacle was how it was all going to work.
“It wasn’t just figuring out how to treat the water.  It was figuring out how to make these plants perform in ways that they weren’t really designed to do,” she said.

In the end, officials had to do some internal piping at the Cypress Water Treatment Plant to make them operate in a series, rather than parallel to each other.

Officials were starting to feel the pressure after the record breaking heat in 2011.  This was because lake levels were declining rapidly.  Due to the situation, officials initially wanted to try to get the reuse system online by 2013, but it didn't pan out that way.

"It was a little bit more involved that we thought it was going to be," Nix said.

Officials still pressed forward despite the challenges, because they knew the drought wouldn't let up.

It took 27 months to get everything in place and get approval by the TCEQ.  Nix said this was a huge accomplishment for everyone involved.  Plus, it was in record time for this kind of project.  Then the big day came when it was time to let the water flow and right from the start it did its job.

"We actually started to show that we were saving water and kept more in the lakes," he said.

This was something that hadn't been seen on their models in a long time.  Prior to the project going online, their projections on when the city would run out of water was spot on.  However, that changed when the project went online.

Everything changed when Texoma saw record rainfall in May 2015 and heavy downpours in June 2015.  All of that rain filled the lakes and ended the drought, but the reuse project still played its part.

"Since we came online 365 days ago we have treated just under two-billion gallons of water," Nix said.

When you put that into perspective, that's nearly 3,100 Olympic sized pools.

Nix said even if we didn't get all of the rain, the project would have kept us afloat until 2019.  This was projected for the worst case scenario.  However, because of the rain they can press forward with the permanent project sooner.

"Thank God we got the rains and that the lakes filled up because if the lakes were still low we couldn't afford to turn the DPR off for 12 months and rely 100-percent of the lakes," he said.

While Nix expressed he will be sad to let the project go, it was worth all of the blood, sweat, and tears.

"I'm just happy that the reuse is going to be a part of our source water strategy from this point forward," he said.

Officials plan to shut the temporary project off in the next 15-30 days.  The pipe will be reused to build the permanent water reuse project.

Alexandra McClung, Newschannel 6