North Texas Municipal Water District East Fork Water Reuse Project

CLIENT NAME

North Texas Municipal Water District

LOCATION

Seagoville, Texas
United States

PRACTICE AREA

Constructed Wetlands
Water Reuse

SERVICES INCLUDED

Environmental

Planning

Permitting

Design

Construction Management

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As one of the largest projects in Texas using reclaimed water to augment a surface water supply source, the East Fork Water Reuse Project provides the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) with over 102,000 acre-feet of water per year, which is enough water to serve 500,000 people. Completed at a cost of less than 25% of developing a new reservoir, in about 20% of the time, the East Fork Water Reuse Project is a signature solution of innovation. 

Plummer developed the reuse strategy alongside NTMWD. The project consists of diverting an average of 91 million gallons per day (mgd) of effluent dominated water from the East Fork of the Trinity River and polishing the water in one of the largest constructed wetlands in the country (2,000 acres). The wetland-treated water is then pumped 43.5 miles to Lavon Lake to augment the District’s surface water supply source. The East Fork Water Reuse Project includes six major components: 

  • 165 mgd peak capacity diversion pump station to pump water from the East Fork Trinity River
  • 2,000 acre constructed wetland to provide polishing treatment of the diverted East Fork water 
  • 150 mgd peak capacity conveyance pump station to pump the polished water to Lavon Lake 
  • Electrical substation to provide power for the conveyance pump station 
  • 43.5 miles of 84-inch diameter conveyance pipeline starting near Crandall, Texas and extending through Kaufman, Rockwall, and Collin counties to transfer water from the wetlands to Lavon Lake
  • John Bunker Sands Wetland Center, which provides public access and educational programs

As the prime consultant for the design effort, Plummer designed the treatment wetland, the conveyance pump station, and approximately 31.5 miles of the 84-inch pipeline.

Plummer first began work on the constructed wetland in 2004, providing design and construction services on the first of two nursery wetlands. The initial nursery, 20 acres in size, was used to provide plant stock of selected wetland species for a 200-acre second phase nursery. The 200-acre nursery, completed in early 2006, was used to provide over 1.6 million plants for the full-scale wetland that was completed in 2009.

Plummer worked successfully with local, state, and federal regulators to obtain the necessary water rights and environmental permits:

  • Water Rights: A Water Rights Permit from the TCEQ was required for the diversion of return flows. Biological studies were conducted to provide data necessary to determine appropriate instream flow requirements, including protection of a riffle zone within the East Fork of the Trinity River.  
  • Section 404: Multiple project components involved impacts to waters of the U.S. and therefore, required authorization under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act from the USACE, Fort Worth District.  Section 404 permit review also involved coordination with USEPA, USFWS, TPWD, and THC as well as with the TCEQ for the Section 401 water quality certification.  Surveys for threatened and endangered species were conducted to assess potential impacts to protected species.  
  • Levee Crossing: Two crossings of a federal levee on the project site required coordination with the local levee district and the USACE Operations Division to develop a tri-lateral agreement to allow the crossings.  
  • Pipeline Easement: Environmental assessment and coordination with the USACE Operations Division for the pipeline easement across the federal property at Lake Lavon was also required.  
  • Compensatory Mitigation: Due to the close coordination with the USACE Operations Division staff at Lake Lavon, compensatory mitigation for unavoidable impacts to jurisdictional waters of the U.S. resulting from the numerous stream crossings including the East Fork of the Trinity River was developed on the USACE property at Lake Lavon.  Our team provided compliance monitoring to document implementation of the mitigation plan and provided annual compliance monitoring to document the survival and success of the mitigation areas.

Ongoing work with the East Fork Water Reuse Project includes annual operations support including vegetation planting/management, invasive species, nuisance wildlife, vegetation coverage evaluation, soil and water sampling and analysis, evaluation of treatment performance, and routine meetings with North Texas Municipal Water District staff as well as the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center.

The East Fork Water Reuse Project exemplifies the value of public and private entities working together to provide multiple benefits to the community. Through its partnership with the Carolyn Hunt Trust Estate and construction of the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center, the project not only provides water supply, but also offers opportunities for research, education, wildlife observation, and community gatherings. As a result, the project has been visited and embraced by the public, regulators, and legislators locally, nationally, and internationally.

Plummer is proud to be associated with this project, which received the following awards:

  • 2013 North Central Texas Council of Governments Celebrating Leadership in Development Excellence (CLIDE) Award
  • 2012 American Council of Engineering Companies National Honor Award
  • 2012 American Council of Engineering Companies Texas Section Engineering Excellence Gold Medal
  • 2012 National Association of Environmental Professionals Environmental Stewardship Award
  • 2011 TCEQ Texas Environmental Excellence Award
  • 2008 WateReuse Association Large Project of the Year

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