American Society of Civil Engineers

How Reclaimed Water Makes Cents

by Stephen F. Crumb, P.E., (City of Fort Worth, TX) and Clete Martin, P.E., (Alan Plummer Associates, Inc., Fort Worth, TX)
Section: Planning, pp. 1461-1470, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Pipelines 2010: Climbing New Peaks to Infrastructure Reliability: Renew, Rehab, and Reinvest
Abstract: The North Central Texas Metroplex, which includes the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, has seen record growth during the past 10 years and landscape irrigation needs are a big part of the regional water demand. Fort Worth Village Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant provides a high quality source of effluent that is currently discharged to the Trinity River. In 2007, the Fort Worth Water Department completed a "Reclaimed Water Priority and Implementation Plan" to evaluate potential reuse projects that have a high probability of being implemented. The Eastern Reclaimed Water System had the most viable customer base and lowest capital cost of all alternatives evaluated in this plan. The system includes a 10-mile pipeline and was envisioned as a regional project primarily serving wholesale customers, including the City of Arlington, City of Euless and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFWIA). The ultimate capacity of the pump station is 18 million gallons per day (mgd). The pipeline has a reducing capacity at various take points. The pipeline sizes are 36-inch (steel), 30-inch (ductile iron), 24-inch (ductile iron and PVC), 20-inch (PVC), and 16-inch (PVC) (Reference Figure 1). Implementation of the project required collaboration between Fort Worth and each of the wholesale customers. In order to facilitate initial discussions about the project, the City prepared preliminary estimates of potential rates and identified key issues requiring consensus in order to proceed with subsequent discussions. Initial meetings with the customers were positive and the framework for a wholesale contract was laid out. Development of an equitable rate structure that could be agreed upon by all parties was a key component of contract negotiations. Key contractual issues for Fort Worth were a minimum payment (i.e., "take or pay") provision to ensure a minimum level of cash flow to the utility, and a commitment to a systemwide rate from all customers. While the City was willing to subsidize the system in the initial years, it was committed to a goal of operating a system that would ultimately be self-sufficient with rates based on cost-of-service principles. In order to accommodate customer concerns, the City agreed to limit the percentage increase of the rate in any given year and provide an upper limit on the rate equal to its wholesale water rate for potable water.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Water reclamation