Wichita Falls Treats Wastewater For Drinking

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(credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

(credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

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WICHITA FALLS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Watering restrictions have become commonplace as extreme drought conditions continue across North Texas. But one city is resorting to more drastic measures.

Wichita Falls has begun treating wastewater in a state-approved recycling process to bolster drinking supplies.

On Wednesday, the city began reusing millions of gallons of water at the River Road Waste Treatment plant that’s been purified to meet government drinking standards. The water is then sent by a 12 mile pipeline to the Cypress Water Treatment Plant for additional purification.

“This reuse system will put five million gallons [of water] back in the distribution system a day,” explained Mayor Glenn Barham in February. “So, it saves us taking five million gallons out of the lake.”

The lingering Texas drought has sent reservoirs to low levels in the Wichita Falls area, where drinking water is needed for about 150,000 users.

The city is operating under a Stage 5 drought catastrophe, which bans outdoor watering and urges conservation.

The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality in late June approved the Wichita Falls program for a period not to exceed six months.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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