Waste Water Recycling Plan Comes to Midland

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - The Tall City consumes more than 35 million gallons of water every day, two-thirds of which comes from outdoor watering.

While Odessa has a reclamation plant that recycles their waste water for outdoor watering, Midland doesn't have one.

A study conducted back in 2003 revealed that the cost is too high for the city.

"If we did it with all of our waste water, it's probably in the $40-50 million range, and that's a tremendous amount of money to spend," Midland Utilities Director, Stuart Purvis, said. "It would all have to be funded out of our waste water rates, so we'd have to increase our rates, and then you can't take it to people's homes because that would require we tear up every street in town and relay water lines which is another $100 million, so that's not going to happen."

In order for recycled water to be used for home watering, city officials said the water would have to be purified so Midlanders could touch it, clean of all pharmaceuticals and chemicals.

Local arborists said waste water could also harm the plants of your home if not purified correctly.

"The main thing is going to be the salt content," John Hayes, Certified Arborist with Alldredge Gardens in Midland, said. "As far as making sure that we don't have as much salt content in the water."

But recycling waste water is in the cards for the future.

The City of Midland will begin construction in November on a smaller plant at Windlands Park, pumping out more than 100,000 gallons of recycled waste water a day for Midland College.

"It will replace Midland College's use of drinking water, so we can pull them off our system," Purvis said. "That's worth it because, as we replace the drinking water, it's available for other people."

That's the equivalent of providing drinking water for 100 homes.

MC officials confirmed to NewsWest 9 they have entered a partnership with the city for the plant.

City officials said the college has already installed the storage tanks, pumps, and pipes for it.

The project is set to take 18 months and will be finished in the Summer of 2013.

In the meantime, Hayes insists that people take care of their watering or find alternatives for their lawn.

"Beginning to transfer over to more Xeriscapes and synthetic turfs and things of that nature," he said. "We've been doing it for several years now."

The Tall City could also have plans to build more plants in the future.

"If it proves viable and if it proves cost-effective to do it, we'll probably look at other locations around large city parks, large irrigated areas," Purvis said.

City officials said Midland College has already invested $500,000 into the project and will pay for the water to help pay back the cost of the plant.