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Waste Water May be the Answer for Wichita Falls' Growing Water Woes

It doesn't seem like we'll be getting any relief from this continuing drought, not any time soon at least.  That's forcing Wichita Falls officials to prepare for the worst and find every drop of useable water that's available.
    Wichita Falls officials say turning waste water into potable water seems like the most viable option for increasing our water supply water during this terrible drought.
    Crews would install temporary pumps at the River Road Waste Water Plant.
    Russell Schreiber, Wichita Falls public works director, says, "We would take the treated effluent, which is just about as clean if not cleaner that lake water, and we would pipe it in a temporary pipe along the ground."
    That piping would travel through the Wichita Bluffs along Seymour Highway all the way to Barnett Rd.
    And a portion of the Wichita Falls Circle Trail would likely have to close while the temporary pipe is there.
    The piping would then follow the railroad tracks, to the Cypress Water Treatment Plant.
    "The water would be discharged into the existing MFRO treatment plant: the plant that we built to treat Lake Kemp water.  We would treat the water through the MFRO plant.  We would then discharge it into a holding lagoon on site," Schreiber says.
    That water would then be blended with Lake Arrowhead and Lake Kickapoo water on a 50/50 blend, which would be treated at the Conventional Treatment Plant at Cypress.
    "In essence, the water gets treated three times: once through the waste water plant, once through the MFRO plant, and then once through the Conventional Cypress Plant," Schreiber says.
    If the project is approved, that would mean the city would have the buy 8.5 miles of 30 inch pipe, which is expensive.
    The estimate for this project is about $9 million.
    "It's a good possibility with this project that we may need to go out and sell some bonds first," Schreiber says.
    The city would recover the cost of the pipe, about $4.5 million, during the permanent reuse project, which Schreiber says is probably years down the road.
    Schreiber says he wants to move this project along so it could help the city during the current drought if it continues.
    Officials have been doing the legwork for this project since April, and at best case, if construction starts next month, the new treated water could be flowing in March of next year.
    Schreiber says he expects the design contract for this project to be on the Feb. 5 city council agenda.
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