What is the purpose of the East Fork Reuse Project?
The NTMWD service area is expected to serve at least 700,000 more residents by 2020, which would cause a water shortage if the current supply is not increased. To serve this burgeoning population, NTMWD is building a man-made wetland called the East Fork Reuse Project, which will use natural filtration to further cleanse raw water from the Trinity River and will augment the NTMWD’s water supplies for North Texas.
How does the project work?
Water will be pumped from the Trinity River’s East Fork near Crandall into a man-made wetland. As the water passes through 1,840 acres of wetland, aquatic plants will polish the water – a natural process that removes about 95 percent of the sediment, 80 percent of the nitrogen and 65 percent of the phosphorus. The cleansed water from the wetland will then be piped 40 miles to the north end of Lavon Lake and blended with NTMWD’s other raw water sources that include Lavon Lake, Lake Chapman and Lake Texoma.
Is this a sewage treatment plant?
No. The East Fork Reuse Project is essentially a large-scale recycling project harnessing the power of nature’s water filtration process. Filtering raw water through a wetland naturally cleanses murky, sediment-filled river water into a relatively clear raw water supply.
Does this project use direct or indirect water reuse?
The East Fork Reuse Project is an example of indirect water reuse. With indirect water reuse, the water runs through natural surface or ground water bodies before entering a raw water supply. Direct water reuse involves using treated wastewater effluent conveyed directly to the location of use for uses such as industrial applications or irrigation.
Who will ultimately use this water?
Customers of the NTMWD will benefit from the additional raw water supply needed to meet the ever-increasing potable water demands. NTMWD provides treated drinking water for more than 1.5 million citizens in Collin, Dallas, Denton, Hunt, Kaufman and Rockwall Counties.
How big is the wetland, and how long will it take to construct?
The wetland will encompass 1,840 acres. Construction on the East Fork Reuse Project began in late 2004 and is scheduled for completion in 2008.
How much will the project cost? How much value will it provide?
The East Fork Reuse Project is a $246 million investment by NTMWD that will help avoid the severe financial hardship that would be caused by a regional water shortage. According to the 2001 Region C Water Plan, by 2020 inadequate water supplies would lead to a 36 percent reduction in population, 41 percent reduction in employment and 36 percent reduction in income for the 16 counties that make up Region C.
Can North Texas achieve similar results through water conservation?
No. Reuse is recognized as a form of water conservation and efficient use of this limited natural resource. While water conservation is crucial for the region, estimates show North Texas is growing too fast for conservation alone to ensure an adequate future water supply. The East Fork Reuse Project will create 40 times more water than proposed conservation measures. Water conservation decreases the strain on existing water supplies, but the East Fork Reuse Project is creating an entirely new raw water supply by tapping into an unused resource – water flowing into the Trinity River’s East Fork.
Is a wetland like this a breeding ground for mosquitoes?
No. The wetland's water will be constantly moving as it travels through the aquatic plants preventing stagnant water that provides a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The wetland also provides a habitat for birds that feed on mosquitoes and other insects.
Will residents living around the wetland experience decreased property values?
No. The project, designed with aesthetics and public enjoyment in mind, will resemble a nature preserve and will include a nature center. The East Fork Reuse Project’s wetland is being built on private ranchland, protecting it from future development and congestion. Caroline Hunt Trust Estate, the property owners, are currently designing a mitigation bank for the remainder of the 2,500 acres of the ranch that will include planting a hardwood forest around the wetland.
How will this benefit the community?
The communities in the area served by NTMWD will benefit through the development of additional raw water supplies to meet their drinking water needs. This environmentally friendly project assists in delaying the need to construct another water supply reservoir. NTMWD and Caroline Hunt Trust Estate will design and build a nature center that will offer tours and exhibits for the public to learn more about wetland habitats and conservation issues.