Direct potable reuse gets a win in Texas

Dec. 23, 2019
Bureau of Reclamation awards El Paso Water $3.5M for Carollo-designed water reuse project.

WALNUT CREEK, CA, DEC 23, 2019 -- El Paso Water and Carollo are taking the next step toward direct-to-distribution potable reuse with a $3.5 million grant from the US Bureau of Reclamation to complete design of the full-scale Advanced Water Purification Facility (AWPF). Using advanced, state-of-the-art technology, the AWPF will transform treated wastewater into purified drinking water and deliver it straight to the city's drinking water distribution system.

"Carollo's design is about 30 percent complete, and El Paso Water anticipates this grant will help to bring the design to 95 percent," said Carollo project manager Sanaan Villalobos. "We're thrilled to help deliver this cutting-edge project to our El Paso community."

Carollo is not only designing the facility, but also collaborating with El Paso Water to apply for grants like this one. The goal is to offset some of the total construction cost, which is estimated to be $75 million.

“El Paso Water is always thinking of minimizing the impact on rate payers for these large-scale projects,” said Communication & Marketing Manager, Christina Montoya. “That’s why we aggressively pursue these grants. Carollo has been a great partner in design, and they have also helped us identify and submit funding applications like this one with outstanding results.”

While El Paso Water and other utilities have been using treated wastewater for irrigation and other purposes for decades, the AWPF represents the first facility that will distribute treated wastewater directly to El Paso's drinking water distribution system. Once operating, the AWPF will produce up to 10 million gallons per day of renewable, drought-proof water to supplement the city's drinking water supplies.

“The Advanced Water Purification Facility project is an example for the nation and the world on how a forward-thinking utility can use the latest technology to create a safe, sustainable, and locally controlled water supply to sustain and grow a community in an increasingly arid climate,” said Patricia Sinicropi, Executive Director of the WateReuse Association.

El Paso Water, Carollo, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) have been working together closely throughout preliminary design and pilot testing. Before construction begins, TCEQ will review and approve the plans.

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