First in the Nation: The Fred Hervey Water Reclamation Plant in Northeast El Paso takes domestic wastewater and produces potable water that meets state and nation drinking water standards through a rigorous treatment process. Working with El Paso Water, PSC recommended the development of wastewater facilities that could be used to reclaim wastewater for injections into the city’s largest subsurface water source, the Hueco Bolson.

Environmental and water quality data were studied extensively and the results were presented along with a plan to implement a treatment process. Public acceptance of the plan was achieved through a citizen outreach program. PSC and EP Water presented the plan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency who approved the plan and provided a $21 million grant to the city to construct the $33 million plant.

The plant, built in 1985, sends the wastewater through 11 processes which purify the water through a combination of physical, chemical and biological treatment. Online analyzers evaluate the effectiveness of the process along the way.

The initial project employed a distribution system that conveyed the treated water to 10 injection wells, strategically placed throughout the Hueco Bolson. In addition to the recharge of the aquifer, the plant also supplies cooling water to a local power plant, spread basins and a golf course – 100 percent of the effluent produced is used for aquifer recharge or to offset using new water pumped from the Hueco Bolson.