Texas town receives $29 million for water reuse project

December 21, 2023

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) awarded the city of Liberty Hill almost $29 million to plan, design and build a direct potable water reuse project.

The loan, provided through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, will bring more drinking water to the rapidly growing community 30 miles northwest of Austin.

Liberty Hill will receive $18.5 million along with $10 million in principal forgiveness to build a plant that will use treated wastewater from the city’s existing facility. The project also includes a planning phase pilot study for a reverse osmosis treatment system and drilling a deep injection well to dispose reverse osmosis brine waste streams.

Direct potable reuse systems pipe treated wastewater back to the treatment plants to be used again by consumers for drinking water. They have been developed in the U.S. since the 1970s and have become increasingly popular in the past decade as a way for many communities, particularly those in the southwest, deal with water aquifer depletion and drought.

Texas is currently experiencing a drought that began in October 2010. In 2022, Texas’ water plan called for 1.1 million acre-feet of reused water by 2070 to account for 14.4 percent of all its new water supply.

The EPA’s drinking water fund awards grants to states based on the results of their most recent Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment. States provide a 20% match.

A variety of set-asides are available to the states. The set-asides support programs and activities to ensure safe drinking water. Each state may take approximately 31% of its capitalization grant as set-asides.

After taking their set-asides, states place the balance of their capitalization grant, together with the state match, into a dedicated revolving loan fund, according to the EPA. This revolving fund provides loans and other authorized assistance to water systems for eligible infrastructure projects.

As water systems repay their loans, the repayments and interest flow back into the dedicated revolving fund. The funds may be used to make additional loans. The federal government initially invested $21 billion into the funds and since 2019 has invested $41.1 billion into the nation’s water systems.

The TWDB also provided funding to two other Texas for water and wastewater projects:

  • The city of Aledo west of Fort Worth will get $3.5 million to support the completion of a new interceptor sewer system, the Clear Fork Interceptor Sewer Project. State aid will also support increasing the capacity of wastewater collection by financing upgrades to the Old Tunnel Lift Station.
  • The city of Gladewater in East Texas will get $850,000 in financing and $1.9 million in principal forgiveness for a series of water system improvements, including adding looping throughout its distribution system. Plans also call for replacing deteriorating water mains and treatment and electrical upgrades at the city’s water treatment facility.

All news and information on this site is provided by the team at Strategic Partnerships, Inc. Check out this short 1-minute video that provides a quick overview of how we work with clients.

Photo courtesy of the city of Liberty Hill

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