32 Years of Indirect Potable Reuse in El Paso, Texas

Category: Water Treatment

Written By: Mark Sanchez, PE

Date: June 9, 2017

32 Years of Indirect Potable Reuse in El Paso, Texas cover image

Mark Sanchez, PE, is a Principal and Team Leader for Parkhill’s Treatment Practice. He markets and manages multi-disciplined projects related to municipal water and wastewater services in Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico. Mark is an exceptional project manager and project engineer with over 20 years of experience and has led the planning and design of over $300 million in water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

The City of El Paso’s Fred Hervey Water Reclamation Plant (WRP) was one of the pioneers for indirect potable reuse in the nation. At the time it was brought online in 1985, it was the nation’s first full-scale wastewater reclamation plant to use tertiary treatment to restore wastewater to national and state potable water standards, and inject it back into the groundwater aquifer. After 30 years of operation, the Fred Hervey plant holds its own in cost-effectiveness, performing these objectives using the same technology.

Because of this plant, the life of the city’s groundwater resources has been extended significantly and it remains a key component of the city’s overall water resource management portfolio. This report will review the plant’s design and treatment cost from its early years of operation, its current cost of treatment, compare these treatment costs to that of the Orange County Ground Water Replenishing Facility, formerly the Water Factory 21 Facility, and show how cutting-edge research being done on the plant’s biologically activated carbon filters continues to keep this plant in the forefront of innovation.