Investment in High Quality Wastewater Treatment is Wise

Category: Engineering

Written By: Brian Stephens

Date: July 16, 2021

Investment in High Quality Wastewater Treatment is Wise cover image

Brian Stephens, PE, is a Principal and Parkhill’s Director of Treatment. As an expert in water and wastewater treatment, he has directed engineering services for projects ranging from $1 million to $80 million. Brian is passionate about providing clean and affordable potable drinking water to Parkhill’s clients. He identifies and provides effective treatment and reuse solutions to our clients’ treatment of wastewater so we can minimize the effect of potable groundwater usage here in our West Texas and Southeast New Mexico communities. Brian is a dedicated advocate for the Engineering profession and is actively involved in the National Society of Professional Engineers and American Society of Civil Engineers. He is also a member of the American Water Works Association and the Water Environment Foundation. For his dedication and professional conduct, Brian was recognized as the Young Engineer of the Year for the South Plains Chapter of TSPE in 2011. 

Here at Parkhill, we believe great communities are built upon clean and plentiful water supplies. Traditionally communities have been successful in providing their citizens with treated surface water from nearby lakes or rivers. Others have been successful in drilling water wells down into freshwater aquifers where their communities are located.   

Today, many of these water supply options are exhausted or are dwindling at an alarming rate. Our Treatment group at Parkhill is focused on working with communities on their next source of water that they already have — their wastewater. Treating wastewater for reclaimed/potable uses is nothing new. In many cases, water is treated 10-15 times in river basins throughout the country. Communities utilize surface water, treat the wastewater and then stream discharge that treated water back to the surface water source for the next community to use downstream. Treating wastewater effluent to a high level for reuse is something that communities can do to reinforce their current and future water supply plan. 

The first step in this plan is an investment in high-quality wastewater treatment as existing facilities reach the end of their useful life. Communities that invest in high-quality wastewater treatment now will be much better off in years to come as they’ll have the opportunity to recapture their water and not solely depend on surface or groundwater supplies. For some in our communities, this idea of reuse makes them uncomfortable. At the heart of every treatment plant is their operations staff. These individuals protect the public by having the knowledge and expertise to treat water correctly and safely regardless of its initial quality or origin. In addition to knowledgeable operations staff, a good public relations (PR) program is also key to explaining water reuse to the public to understand this engineering process and how it can be safely implemented in our communities. 

As our country continues to grow in population and experiences dwindling water supplies, the adage “It may be more expensive — but at least it’s water we can treat” is something we will hear more often!