The Brazos Valley’s long drought is over — at least for now — but conserving our water resources remains one of the City of College Station’s highest priorities.
The city’s proactive conservation efforts take another giant step this spring when its first reclaimed water system begins operating at Veterans Park & Athletic Complex. Reclaimed water, sometimes called recycled or reused water, is the beneficial and sustainable use of treated wastewater. This virtually drought-proof water supply is pumped from the Carters Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant to a 480,000-gallon storage tank that’s used to irrigate the entire facility.
The high-quality recycled water will save about 25 million gallons of drinking water each year, which is enough to:
- Cover Kyle Field to a depth of about 57 feet, almost twice as high as the goal posts;
- Provide every College Station resident with adequate drinking water (1 gallon per day) for 8 ½ months;
- Fill more than 250 million 12-ounce bottles;
- Provide 878 people with adequate drinking water for an average lifetime (78 years);
- Fill more than 45 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Cost and Benefits
Funded in part by utility revenues, the system cost about $3.3 million and has been in the works for more than a decade. College Station plans to eventually use reclaimed water to irrigate Stephen C. Beachy Central Park and other city facilities as well.
A common-sense element of water economics is that “the cheapest water you will ever have is the water you already have.” Our reclamation system substantially reduces demands on our potable water system, which will delay costly expansions and the need to drill additional groundwater wells to support our rapid growth. That saves money for the water utility and our customers.
Is Reclaimed Water Safe?
Water reuse is a safe and responsible approach to conserving water resources. Reclaimed water undergoes a high level of treatment to remove bacteria and viruses, and extensive testing makes sure that the water meets quality standards. In addition, recycled water pipelines are colored purple to distinguish them from those carrying drinking water or untreated wastewater.
Make Every Drop Count
The City of College Station has established itself as a proactive leader in water conservation. Here are some of the city’s programs designed to reduce water usage:
- College Station Water Services offers no-cost water usage checkups for residential and commercial customers. Last year, the department provided more than 100 on-site irrigation check-ups. These visits are designed inform our customers about efficient water use and ways they can save water in their landscapes.
- Rebates are available to customers who replace old toilets with high-flush volumes (more than 3.5 gallons per flush) with new WaterSense-labeled toilets that use 1.28 gallons or less per flush.
- Rebates are available for rainwater collection barrels of 30 or more gallons. They don’t even have to contain rain to qualify for the rebate –they just need to be hooked up and ready whenever the rain falls.
- The City of College Station is a promotional partner with the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program, which promotes efficient products and practices. WaterSense-labeled products use at least 20 percent less water while performing as well as, or better, than conventional models.
- The city also is a partner in Water IQ, a conservation awareness program developed by the Texas Water Development Board.
What do you think about College Station’s reclaimed water program?
Water Resource Coordinator