San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

July 19th, 2009
City uses reclaimed water for irrigation

A worker for the City of San Marcos re-fills with treated wastewater for an irrigation project. Photo provided by the City of San Marcos.

STAFF REPORT

City water/wastewater crews in San Marcos are attempting to conserve water by allowing the use of treated wastewater, also known as reclaimed water, to irrigate city construction projects.

The city’s water/ wastewater utility has set up a fill station at the River Road Wastewater Treatment Plant that allows contractors to truck reclaimed water to city construction sites.

Under the city’s drought rules, use of alternative water sources such as reclaimed water is exempt from drought restrictions.

“The use of reclaimed water gives us a practical conservation option and is very well suited for these types of projects.” says Tom Taggart, the city’s director public services.

Most of the city’s treated wastewater is discharged into the San Marcos River. Because it is discharged into an environmentally-sensitive stream, the water is treated to the highest standards. San Marcos reclaimed water meets the Type 1 designation, which is approved for uses where public contact is likely.

“The end-product is actually cleaner than most of the rivers and lakes we use for recreation and raw drinking water sources,” Taggart said.

The city received a reclaimed water authorization from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) in August, 2000, allowing use of reclaimed water for cooling towers, process water, construction dust control, kennel cleaning, and irrigation of city-owned properties.

The city provides reclaimed water to American National Power for use in its cooling towers. The city also has a contract with TXI Operations to provide reclaimed water for processing and dust control, pending the construction of a reclaimed water line to the facility.

Under the TCEQ reclaimed water authorization, the city is not allowed to provide reclaimed water to the public for use on private properties.

For more information, contact Jon Clack, the city’s assistant director of water/wastewater utilities, at (512) 393-8010.

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