From Flush to Faucet

From Flush to Faucet (Image 1)

A drought-stricken Texas town turns sewer water into drinking water. 

Drought conditions have reached critical levels in Wichita Falls.

Just three years ago, almost 90 percent of Texas was in the 'exceptional drought' category.  It was the worst in history.  But today, only one percent of the state is in this category, and this includes Wichita Falls. 

The city's main water source, Lake Arrowhead, is just a dustbowl.  It is only at 27 percent capacity. 

The city is now at stage four.  This means extreme water restrictions are in place. 

The city's water usage is usually around 50 million gallons per day, but it's now down to 12 million gallons.  This drop, however, isn't enough. 

Officials say recycling water is the only way to go. 

So the city is now in the middle of a 45-day test period of turning waste water into drinking water. 

The waste water is pumped through a black pipe.  This then runs to the water treatment facility where it undergoes four stages of purification. 

Once the testing is done, the results will show if the recycled water is good enough for human consumption. 

So far the public operations manager say the quality appears high. 

According to KFDX, Wichita Falls will be the first city in the world to blend 50 percent lake water with 50 percent waste water to use for drinking water. 

Waste water is usually treated and released back into the environment. 

So how do the residents feel about it?  Most say they are fine with it.  They are just happy to know that they will have water.  

If all goes to plan, the program could be in effect by April. 

(sources:  NY Times, Texas Tribune, WGMB and KFDX)



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