New Water Reclamation Plant Coming to Midland College

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - The Tall City and Midland College are teaming up to save water. Council members approved a contract to start building a water reclamation plant.

The new facility will save thousands of gallons of water for irrigation and it was planned way before we reached this historic drought.

Mother Nature brought some much needed rain Tuesday morning, but just about everyone around here knows that's hard to come by these days.

"With the drought that we're in, we're looking for all types of strategies and alternatives for irrigation," City Manager, Courtney Sharp, said.

Look no further than Midland College.

On Tuesday morning, City Council members gave the green light for a company to build a water reclamation plant on the campus.

"We feel like it's an opportunity that we can capture some of our wastewater instead of using potable water to irrigate," Sharp said.

Dennis Sever with Midland College explained how it'll work.

"It will take the raw sewage from here, pump it up to the water plant and treat it and then pump what's left back over to the sewer line," Sever said. "The water will then be pumped back into the half-million gallon tank on campus and used in their irrigation systems."

Sharp said 60% of the city's water is used just for irrigation purposes.

"Anything we can do to lower that percentage is what we're really looking at doing," Sharp said.

Midland College sits on about 225 acres of land.

They've stopped watering the grass, but there are still nearly 1,500 trees they're trying to keep alive.

The new plant will help with those efforts and it'll save thousands in clean drinking water.

"We expect about 150,000 gallons a day from the plant," Sever said.

"What it does is it equates to about 130 households in water savings," Sharp said.

Sever said the college and the city had been preparing for a drought ever since a water study was done back in 2004.

Money for the reclaimed water facility was then included in the 2005 bond.

Now that the drought is here, both men are hoping the plant will go a long way.

"For a community like Midland which has always been a little green pearl here in the middle of the Chihuahuan desert, it's important for us to manage our water resources as carefully as we can," Sever said.

Construction on the water reclamation plant is scheduled to start next month and will cost about $6.5 million. The facility should be up and running by June 2013.