Wichita Falls, Texas

Texas’s second direct potable reuse project is in Wichita Falls, a community of more than 100,000 that experienced a Stage 5 drought catastrophe.

The direct potable reuse process involved several steps. First, effluent was treated to a level that met 97 percent of all drinking water standards. That high-quality water was then transferred to the Cypress Water Treatment Plant, where it was purified using the latest technology in the City’s microfiltration reverse osmosis plant. This facility brought the water to a standard that was higher than current drinking water standards. The water was blended 50/50 with raw surface water, after which the blend was treated at an adjacent conventional surface water treatment plant and distributed to water users. This emergency water supply project began operating in July 2014, making use of existing surface water treatment facilities, and was taken offline a year later after the drought was followed by heavy rains.

The City is now putting together a long-term, permanent project that uses the high-quality effluent by discharging it into Lake Arrowhead, thus keeping the water in the region for municipal use.