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Treated effluent could be used to irrigate Marble Falls parks, saving 290,000 gallons of potable water


MARBLE FALLS — The city of Marble Falls plans on saving 290,000 gallons of potable water thanks to efforts by staff and the parks department to use treated effluent on parks and ballfields.

“Right now, we’re working on the three pieces of Phase 1 of the plan,” said Robert Moss, Marble Falls Parks and Recreation director. “Hopefully, we’ll have this completed by the end of the summer.”

But it’s only the start of a project that could have all public parks and sports fields utilizing treated effluent instead of potable water for irrigation. The city council approved a resolution during its meeting March 19 supporting the staff’s request to apply for a Lower Colorado River Authority water conservation grant.

Moss said the grant would allow the effluent use to expand to other sports fields and parks, but planning hasn’t begun on those projects.

The current phase includes extending purple pipe, which carries treated effluent, from the city’s wastewater treatment plant across Avenue J to Yett Avenue and Main Street. From there, the pipe cuts south along Main Street to Lakeside Park.

The final part of Phase 1 takes the purple pipe to the Johnson Park ballfield along Johnson Street, Moss said.

Taking those parks and fields off potable water for irrigation not only saves the recourse, but takes pressure off the water treatment plant.

While the idea of pumping effluent on public areas might raise a few eyebrows, Moss said the treated water is safe.

“What we have is Type 1 treated water, which is safe for human contact,” he said.

Currently, the city pumps its effluent to hay fields located northeast of town. Moss said the amount of treated water used on “the farm” keeps the fields well saturated.

“We have more than enough (treated water) for the parks and ballfields,” he said.

The city will only irrigate the parks and ballfields during the hours the facilities are closed to the public, Moss added.

“But, even for some reason, if the irrigation system came on during times people were (at the parks or fields), the water isn’t going to harm them,” he said.