The decommissioning of the Direct Potable Reuse project started Tuesday in Wichita Falls. City officials shut off pumps at the treatment plant early Tuesday.
However, water from the DPR will continue flowing until the remaining water is used. The remaining water is estimated to last another day, maybe two, according to Public Works Director Russell Schreiber.
“The DPR served its purpose, and served it well,” said Schreiber. “We knew going in, it was a temporary project. All along we knew it was a temporary project. We did it because we knew we could do it quickly.”
City Councilors approved an additional $115,000 Tuesday morning to get that process going. It will begin with the re-establishment of connections at the Cypress plant to bring all treatment facilities online. Then contractors will start removing piping for relocating.
For more than a year, the DPR brought Wichita Falls more than 2 billion gallons of water. It accounted for a third of the city's water supply.
Although the DPR helped push Wichita Falls through an historic drought, city officials say it’s time to begin the transition to the Indirect Potable Reuse system.
“With the DPR, we were only able to recover five million gallons a water per day,” said Schreiber. “With the IPR project we'll be able to recover 11 to 12 up to 16 million gallons of water per day.”
Once the remaining DPR water is used, the city will begin utilizing water from Lake Kemp. Officials expect to pump 8 to 10 million gallons a day from the lake. That source will take the place of the DPR, making up about a third of the city’s need.
“We will be going back to regular lake water,” said Schreiber. “Hopefully, if everything goes well, people won't notice a difference.”
With the city relying only on reservoirs, residents may notice a saltier taste out of the faucet.
The DPR decommissioning process is expected to take a couple months. Then bidding for the permanent IPR project is estimated to begin at the end of August to early September.
The IPR will not go online for another two years, according to Schreiber.
Even with more water coming from reservoirs, city officials are not expecting a dramatic decrease in lake levels.
Right now, residents are using about 16 million gallons of water a day with lake levels at 100 percent. That's compared to using 14 million gallons a day last year, when lake levels were around 25 percent. Schreiber said on a typical summer month water usage and consumption would be 30 million gallons.