Drought-Stricken Texas Town Will Purify Wastewater To Drink

Wichita Falls has experienced extreme droughts for three years. It plans to treat wastewater to add to its dwindling drinking water supply.

Drought-Stricken Texas Town Will Purify Wastewater To Drink
Times Record News

You know what sounds really good right now? A nice cup of purified wastewater. In fact, that's what citizens of one Texas town might soon be drinking. 

Residents of Wichita Fall have faced major restrictions on water usage due to a three-year drought. Officials expect the current water supply to run out within two years. But they've came up with a solution. (Via Times Record News)

"The city's built a new 13-mile pipeline, connecting its waste treatment plant directly to a second facility that purifies drinking water." (Via KETK)

Wait, what? Drinking wastewater? The idea sounds pretty gross, but supposedly it's not as bad as it sounds.

"The water that's coming in to the treatment plant has already been treated once at the wastewater plant. It's not raw, untreated sewage." (Via NBC)

According to the Times Record News, chlorine is added to treated wastewater before being sent down the pipeline to the second plant where it will be filtered and treated again. That water will then mix with water from traditional sources to be purified and later become drinking water.

But the process isn't quite ready yet. The city is currently performing tests that should finish within the next month. When it's approved, it will be the first U.S. city where as much as half of its drinking water comes directly from wastewater. (Via Times Record News)

But most people who have dubbed the process "toilet to tap" are still a little squeamish about the whole thing.

One resident tells KERA she thinks it's "gross" and plans on switching to bottled water. Another resident says it's a "mindset kind of thing."

Still, others are remaining optimistic. According to NPR, one resident says, "You do have to give them the benefit of the doubt, because they have done their research."

The project is expected to treat about 5 million gallons of wastewater every day — water that would have been dumped into a nearby river instead.

For ongoing reports covering this project, check out timesrecordnews.com/lifeline. (Via Times Record News)