Drought forces Texas town to consider reusing wastewater

The Texas drought is forcing one city to consider a direct reuse of wastewater as drinking water.

Because of the lack of water, the town of  Brownwood may tap into their wastewater by installing a system that cycles toilet water through a series of treatment plants and right back into the municipal water supply, MyFoxAustin reports.


"The drought can be a very persuasive argument to look for new sources of water," Jorge Arroyo, the Director of Innovative Water Technologies with the Texas Water Development Board told MyFoxAustin.

With the state population expected to hit 50 million people in 50 years, Arroyo says new water resources must be found.

The idea of building a toilet to faucet water system has some residents questioning the sanitation. Bob Valentine and his wife reaction to this idea saying, "somebody better have a real good filtration system."

The Director of Utilities in Brownwood, David Harris says the hard sell is not convincing residents that treated wastewater idea will work.

"I'd tell you what is hard it is hard to explain to a community of 20,000 that we have to close down the restaurants and that we have to close down the schools and the industries because we don't have water," Harris told MyFoxAustin.

Much of the state remains under drought conditions and community water systems are struggling under the dry conditions. The situation is serious but Arroyo says there is still time to develop a plan.

Building plants to treat salt water is a key part of the state plan. The water would come out of the Gulf and from oceans of underground aquifers.

But Brownwood does not have an aquifer to tap into. 

Harris is confident the wastewater filtration system will work saying, "this is my life my career my licenses everything I have is on the line for this. And I wouldn't do it if it was." 

Pending two more reviews, construction of the new system could begin by February of next year.

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