Reclaimed Water Flowing Freely For North Texans

EULESS (CBSDFW.COM) – At Texas Star Golf Course in Euless, every golf ball is landing on a green fairway.  Every putt is rolling true on bright greens.  In the middle of a historic drought with water restrictions, the course has found a way to keep conditions perfect.

They’re even doing it while using temperature and drought sensitive bent grass on greens, instead of the more durable but also coarser Bermuda.

A small sign though as you drive toward the bag drop, tells you how they’re keeping it from drying out.  It is reclaimed water now soaking the course daily, up to a million gallons of it.

Water that goes down the drain in your home, or is flushed down the toilet, is now being used to water the course.  It’s coming from a $16.2 million pipeline, paid for primarily through Recovery Act funds, that started running at full capacity in August.

The 11.5 mile line runs between Fort Worth’s Village Creek water treatment plant and DFW airport.  The plant usually dumps about 110-million gallons a day of treated water into the Trinity River.

Now about two million gallons is being diverted for irrigation at the golf course, parks, and even to gas companies.

Chesapeake Energy became the first retail customer last month, to use for fracking gas wells.  “This water’s drought proof,” said Mary Gugliuzza from Fort Worth’s water department. “There’s no restrictions in times of drought on how much, or how they can use this water.”

The current system can be handle up to 12 million gallons a day.  Upgrading to larger pumps could expand capacity to 18 million gallons.

“The timing couldn’t have been better,” said Betsy Deck from the city of Euless. “We were able to turn on the water three weeks ago, just in time for the watering restrictions.”

Reclaimed water has been used for decades in other states.  Gugliuzza said the cost of infrastructure here, and a need to secure interested customers delayed expanded use of the water in the metroplex.

The system could eventually be used in residential areas she said, if developers are willing to put in the pipelines.

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  • Marc

    The story fails to mention that water used by Chesapeake never gets recycled; it is carried off to injection wells and does not return to the water supply. Water used for irrigation either evaporates and returns as rain (somewhere, even if not here) or seeps down to join groundwater.

    This distinction in the water’s destination is important and needs to be made clear.

  • debetee

    16.2 million for the pipeline, paid for.primarily with Recovery Act funds. Does anyone think it will ever show a profit? Where does the “Recovery Act” get the money? TAXES. To help a golf course and a rich corporation. I don’t think the unemployed are playing much golf, especially on this course.

  • Ex-Golf Pro

    The logic is an EPIC Failure. It appears that this whole water/drought issue is very difficult for the municipalities to wrap their brains around. Maybe they should stop playing GOLF with Chesapeake and listening to their Barnett Shale BS. This industry has got a grip on way too many politicians and land owners…people who aren’t doing their own due diligence to understand what the Heck is going on.

  • Kim Triolo Feil

    Arlington’s Section 4.08 Reclaimed Water warns that this highly treated water should NOT come into contact with edible crops and should not spray across property lines and is NOT drinkable for human or pets (what about wild birds?). This water is so treated that is needs to be prevented from backflow. I had alot to say about reclaimed water last Thursday night at Arlington’s Budget Public Hearing only Mayor Cluck didn’t want to hear what I had to say and interrupted my time and then refused to reinstate the full time.

    The (honorable?) Doctor Mayor Cluck was “angry” on his interview weeks after Chesapeake trucked Arlington drinking water to frack in Grand Prairie (who was on water restrictions) He’s known about this since last month’s city council meeting on August 16th. How dare him act like he just found this out on this interview with channel 11!

    In my opinion, he was only angry cause the city got caught by a resident allowing this!!! How bout fire the employee that knew about this, yet informed a resident questioning this like it was “business as usual”?

    At the special budget public hearing on 9/8/2011, I was interrupted by Mayor Cluck and was refused to have my time reinstated that he wasted trying to outline the content of what I should be speaking about (which is the bulk of this blog here)….

    1) Instead of having a moratorium on fracking, it will more affordable for drillers to purchase reclaimed water at $2.50 per 1,000 gallons so the drillers stop buying our drinking water. But pumping highly treated reclaimed water mixed with unknown frack chemicals to disturb NORM, arsenic, lead, heavy metals & brine down there and then flow back all these toxins up to mix with BTEX/hydrocarbons from fossil fuels has unknown chemical properties and unknown cancer latency effects on life and our environment. Because this toxic mix will never be returned to the water shed (hope not), water destined to be used only once must be priced accordingly at a premium.

    2) I told council that on page 378 of the proposed budget, the General Gas Fund has a Pipeline Administration acct that should not be terminated. Instead, continue evaluating extending reclaimed water into the Entertainment District to flush the Jerry Jones toilets and so that the drillers can access it for fracking the GM gas wells and in south Arlington too. The city should budget to build a series of pipelines to the other side of town for this reclaimed water to be accessed so the diesel trucks don’t have to go to north Arlington which will worsen the benzene in our airshed from existing traffic and drill sites. The gas isn’t going anywhere, we need to wait and do this right! 212 Resources, a Utah based water recycling company, said “There is a fresh water zone of drilling usually to about 4,000 ft where the driller must use fresh water to drill through the aquifer so it is not contaminated.” Reclaimed water should only be used for fracking and should NOT be used during drilling.

    3) We have only two gas well coordinators when drilling revenues are $8.3 million. We need more city staff available 24/7. After expenditures (like historical markers), the gas fund accts have over one and a half million dollars left. To be protective of public health, please purchase infrared thermal imaging cameras (FLIR) to detect invisible hydrocarbons at our urban drill sites.

    4) Our firemen also need to be equipped with air testing equipment to the parts per billion, not parts per million. I have been requesting for council to budget these “Gov Perry approved Detecto Spectrometers” for at least three years now.

    5) Budget BTEX blood and urine tests for the gas well coordinators and first responders that get exposed to drill site emissions and make the results public information.

    6) Hire city guards for these drill sites for a quicker response if a well needs to be shut in. Drill sites need to be protected from terriorists and mentally ill citizens.

    7) Do not eliminate the Emergency Mgmt. Planner’s position. Between the stadiums and the drill sites and our ever changing weather patterns, this job is of utmost importance.

    Since my buzzer went off and the mayor took the time from me in the beginning, I was not able to ask council about……

    8) Budgeting for our drinking water needs to be tested more frequently for drilling effluents. For example, the federal requirement to test for barium is every 9 years and we haven’t tested for this since 2002, yet we’ve been drilling and drinking this water for years now and we had a Lake Arlington drilling spill July of 2010. Currently we are no better than the drillers taking short cuts and only meeting the minimal requirements to be in compliance.

    I guess I have to look into an ethics violation on the mayor for his continual thwarting of my right to Freedom of Speech.

  • Wow

    Holy Cow! The story says that Chesapeake is their FIRST commercial customer. Earth to Euless, TX…that water you are selling to Chesapeake can NEVER be used again. EVER. Hey CBS, your story is slightly misleading…showing how the “recycled” water will be returned to the rivers after being used. Unless Chesapeake decides to start cutting those corners, too, by sending their “Produced Water” from fracking back into the rivers…but if that ever happens ~ Game Over.

  • Kim Triolo Feil

    Shale Play=Game Over

  • Byron

    I have a question for all of you against natural gas drilling who are making your comments on a website. Where does the electricity you use come from? You can only complain about natural gas drilling if you cut all your ties to any energy usage that requires natural gas. Once you have done so I will listen to your stupid rants, because until that time comes they must drill for natural gas.

    • Kim Triolo Feil

      A couple of months ago, I personally went with Bounce Energy 100% wind for my home’s energy source. For one year, I get 9.2 cent per kilowatt hour. If you switch, give them the friend referral promo number #1222201. Then YOU can get $50 for every referral and then WE take the load off of the fossil fuel industry grid…I’m smiling as I type this.

      • Byron

        Dear Kim, I applaud your selfless act of promoting your chance to make money of the uneducated. Let me ask you a couple of quick simple questions. First, where does the supplemental energy come from when the wind turbines are not generating enough energy for the demand they were supposed to satisy? That energy is provided by either fossil fuel or nuclear plants. Second, do these stand by plants sit idle waiting for this need or do they have to run 24 hours a day to be ready to meet this wind demand when the winds slow? They have to run in standby mode burning fossil fuels the whole time. If you are so concerned about saving the enviroment from evil fossil fuels please stop using electricity. Come to think of it, please go recycle your computer which is only possible due to nasty chemicals, strip mining and oh yeah I forgot fossil fuels.
        Have a nice day in your blissful ignorance of how your consumption is destroying this planet.

  • For Safe and Healthy Communities

    Byron, do you realize we’re talking about a “process” for extracting gas from shale formations utilizing slick water (chemicals, sand and water), fracking of horizontal wells ~ unconventional drilling. This has only been conducted since 2002 in the Barnett Shale. It is very experimental. There are HUGE issues with it. So, when you refer to the comments as “stupid rants,” I would like to remind you that extracting shale gas (which is also a fossil fuel) is turning our communities into sacrifice zones. .

    • Byron

      I fully understand what the process is. The point is that unless you are willing to cut all ties with energy of any type, fracking is what will enable us to have energy into the foreseeable future. I guess you just want energy from someone else’s backyard and that the “sacrifice zone” is their responsibility? By the way fracking is not just a Barnett Shale creation. It actually is used in most shale formations in North America. Do you think there is a zero emission energy source that will last indefinitely?

  • Kim Triolo Feil

    Shale “play” = Game Over for our planet. NG only burns cleaner than the other fossil fuels. The extracting of it and its life cycle makes it worse than coal as it speeds up GLOBAL WARMING! Technologies exist to get off of our addiction. Green jobs $$ await, (not temporary cancer causing jobs.

    Sing with now…
    “Old school fossil fuels-makes a few rich and the rest of us fools!”

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    • Byron

      I truly appreciate your concern for our future. May I ask you how wind turbines and all other “green energy” products get brought into existence? It takes strip mining and many products made from fossil fuels. It takes nasty massive amounts of steel and plastic to make those bird killing wind monsters. It also requires many massive vehichles burning fossil fuels the whole way to assemple and maintain them. Do not fall for an energy product that cost more than fossil fuel or nuclear energy to bring it to the market.
      Have a wonderful day in the rabbit hole!

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