Recreational reuse potential of percolated municipal wastewater



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Texas Tech University


Impending water shortages through the southwestern United States have provided the impetus for the conception and implementation of various water reuse plans. A leader in this area is Lubbock, Texas. The city has been using its treated municipal effluent for irrigation purposes for over 35 years and is now in the process of making a second reuse of the wastewater. A series of recreational lakes being built in Yellowhouse Canyon, north and east of the city, will be fed with reclaimed percolated effluent.

Recognizing the potential problems inherent in recreational reuse projects, the City of Lubbock enlisted the help of the Texas Tech University Water Resources Center in an advisory capacity. With the aid of an Office of. Water Research and Technology, Department of the Interior grant, a model of the Canyon Lakes Project consisting of nine common-wall concrete tanks was built on the University's farm land. The make-up water for the ponds was recovered percolated effluent of comparable quality to that which will be used in the actual project. The model system provided an excellent opportunity for ascertaining the suitability of reclaimed percolated municipal wastewater for recreational purposes, as well as an opportunity for more clearly defining the role of phosphorus in an aquatic environment. Researchers conducted studies relative to water quality, algal growth and control, suitability of the water for fish life and recreational contact, critical phosphorus levels, and the factors affecting the availability of phosphorus for algal growth. The results obtained from the study not only will be of value to the City of Lubbock in helping them to maintain an aesthetically pleasing system of lakes but also will be applicable to the successful operation of other warm water impoundments in the southern United States.



Water reuse, Water quality management