News Digest - Week of October 19, 2018

Even as parts of Texas remain in stubbornly, abnormally, dry conditions, wet weather continues to have outsize impacts. Rainfall caused 400,000 gallons of wastewater to spill in Temple, Waco, and Ranger.

The EPA is soliciting public input on blending, as they undertake “new rulemaking, to look at issues associated with the management and treatment of peak flows during wet weather events at publicly owned treatment works.” The first public meeting took place this week at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C. The next meeting is October 24th in Lenexa, KS. There will be an online listening session the day before comments close, on October 30th.

Longtime Texans will remember the 1991 Christmas floods, where rain filled Lake Travis to a record 710.44 feet above sea level. Following a week of rain, which has added more water than Austin would expect to use in four years, Lake Travis is presently at 704.23 feet above sea level.

Austin residents will have the chance this November to vote on Proposition D, which asks to appropriate $184 million for flood mitigation. As we have seen this week, stormwater management is an essential component of flood control, Proposition D includes $112 million for stormwater and drainage projects.

Rain this week meant a break for the Water Reuse system in Wichita Falls, where treated wastewater is used to replenish Lake Arrowhead. Public Works Director and WEAT member Russell Schreiber says he does not expect the reuse system, which has pumped 2.2 billion gallons into the lake over its lifetime, to stay off for long.

The city of Windhoek, Namibia commemorates a milestone this week. Windhoek’s groundbreaking Direct Potable Reclamation system is celebrating 50 years of operation.

Water reclamation is not limited to municipalities. In Texas, our mineral extraction industry utilizes, produces, pretreats, treats, and reuses a tremendous amount of water. Enviro Water Minerals of El Paso says that this water offers an opportunity, both for treatment and reuse, but also for further filtration and extraction of chemicals and minerals that are byproducts of fracking. The Texas Alliance of Energy Producers will be issuing a white paper on water use in the energy industry this year.

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