Updated 09/19/2012 08:18 AM
Company uses reclaimed water for highway project
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Last year, the drought pushed many small, rural water systems to the limit.
While the drought may have eased, Central Texas’ water demands are still growing. Officials say they've found a new water source to use for construction on the Interstate-35 project.
Building a highway takes a lot of concrete, and that means a lot of water. Crews are building 20 miles frontage road and widening 20 miles of interstate.
"[We’re] projected to make 440,000 cubic yards of concrete," Lane Construction Project Manager Eric Pruemer said. "It typically takes 20 to 30 gallons per yard. So, we're going to use about 11 million gallons of water by the end of this project."
Usually, crews use drinking water from the local water system, but for the Interstate-35 project, Lane Construction found an alternative.
"We noticed there was a reclaim line running right through the back-end of our property that we had the plant set up on. They just put it into service a few months ago," Pruemer said.
It was the new Bull Hide Creek treatment plant -- a system with reclaimed water lines built in.
"Water that has been treated through the sewage treatment plant -- so it's clean, but there's a lot of stigma with it. People don't really necessarily want to drink it," City of Waco Water Utility spokesperson Jonathan Echols said.
Instead of running the water into the creek, Lane Construction is now using it in their concrete.
"Having fewer chemicals in the water that we use for the concrete is beneficial to us," Pruemer said.
It’s also water that isn't wasted.
"They're reusing it, and we do not have to sell them water that we could use for drinking water," Echols said.
It’s good news for the people who live in Lorena. The Lorena section of the Interstate-35 project should last another two to three years. In that time, they expect to use about 61 million gallons of reclaimed water.