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Water Reuse Project of the Year

Global Water Intelligence

The Colorado River Municipal Water District's Raw Water Production Facility was named the 2014 Water Reuse Project of the Year by the Global Water Intelligence. From their website:

What is it?

A groundbreaking reuse facility with a design capacity of 2.5 MGD (9,462m3/d), which in April 2013 started refining treated wastewater to potable standards. Although the produced water is blended with reservoir water in ratios as high as 20 parts to 80, the process is classified as direct potable reuse (DPR) since it channels treated wastewater into a conventional drinking water source without touching an environmental buffer.

Who is responsible?

Colorado River Municipal Water District (CRMWD) contracted Freese and Nichols to design the plant, and CSA Construction for the construction element. Tertiary effluent from the Big Spring WWTP is run through Pall Microza MF and Toray RO membranes before undergoing advanced oxidation treatment using a system supplied by Trojan UV.

What makes it special?

  • This project constitutes the most serious advance in DPR applications in the USA to date. As the first large public agency to embrace DPR, CRMWD has demonstrated its untiring commitment to diversifying its water supply options in drought-stricken Texas. With reservoir levels dwindling to a critical 0.19 percent in 2012, and a population boom and industrial activity putting an increasing strain on water resources, the decision came not a moment too late.
  • The repurified effluent, subject to 75 operational and quality checks by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, emerges cleaner than the high-TDS raw reservoir supply. This exceptional standard is a gift to the DPR campaign, which has often struggled against a public convinced that ‘natural’ surface water must be cleaner. At just 1.41 kWh/m3, the power consumed by the streamlined MF/RO/UV system is little more than the 1.33 kWh/m3 already required to pump water from the reservoir to the existing municipal WTP.
  • At an estimated $0.74/m3, the facility’s DPR process comes in substantially below the average unit cost of generating desalinated water. With no need for changes to the distribution system, and few added operational costs, DPR is an essential weapon in the war against America’s snowballing infrastructure deficit.
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