Reuse Water

What is Reuse Water?
Reuse water refers to treated wastewater that has been repurposed for beneficial use. Reuse water is also referred to as reclaimed water, recycled water, and non-potable water.  

What is potable water?
Potable water refers to water that is safe to drink and use for food preparation. 

What is the City of Denton's Water Reuse Program?
The City of Denton Water Reuse Program started as a conservation initiative to conserve our limited water resources by utilizing an alternative water source. Reuse water helps enhance Denton’s economic vitality by providing businesses the option to reduce water costs by purchasing non-potable water for non-drinking water purposes.  


Water Reuse Program Graphic

Figure 1 - Flow chart showing beneficial water reuse within the City of Denton.


The Pecan Creek Water Reclamation Plant (PCWRP) is authorized by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to provide reuse water for non-drinking purposes to commercial and industrial customers.   

 

Wastewater treated at the PCWRP goes through an advanced treatment process. This process uses physical, biological, and UV disinfection processes to remove harmful materials in the water. The reuse water that the PCWRP produces is of a very high quality and can be used for many beneficial purposes. The final product is colorless and odorless.   

 

At this time, reuse water is only available for commercial/industrial customers. 

 

Is reuse water exempt from usage restrictions? 
Yes, reuse is exempt. Potable water designated for irrigation during the summer is subject to restrictions, while reuse water is not, even during a severe drought.   


Is reuse water the same price as potable water? 
No, the cost of reuse water is significantly lower compared to potable water. Because reuse water is used in situations where water is needed but not ingested, it requires less treatment, and costs less to produce.   


To determine how much your organization would save by switching to reuse water, please use the below calculators. If you know your annual water use, then choose the Annual Savings Calculator. Otherwise, you can calculate the savings on a single bill by using the Monthly Savings Calculator (based on 2024 rates):

Reuse Savings Calculator

Reuse Annual Savings Calculator

(For commercial/industrial customers only;
Limited to certain geographic areas)

Reuse Savings Calculator

Reuse Monthly Savings Calculator

(For commercial/industrial customers only;
Limited to certain geographic areas)

What are the benefits of reuse water?
As Denton continues to experience rapid population growth, having a reliable water supply depends on developing a diversity of water supply sources. Two major components of this diversified water portfolio include making the most of the water we already have, namely water conservation and water reuse. There are many water supply advantages to harnessing treated wastewater for beneficial reuse:  

  • Deferred needs for costly new drinking water supplies. 
  • Enhanced capacity of existing water treatment plants.
  • Optimization of existing water rights.

By investing in our reuse program, we create a sustainable and drought-resilient water resource in our community.  


What is Type I reuse, and what are some common uses of it? 

There are two types of reuse water, Type I and Type II. The TCEQ designates reuse water of the highest quality standard as Type I. This is approved as safe for situations where contact with the public is likely. The COD only distributes reuse water of Type I quality. For nearly two decades the COD has provided reuse water to customer for many uses including: 

  • Landscape Irrigation
  • Cooling Tower Water 
  • Car Wash Water 
  • Pond Maintenance 
  • Dirt Compaction 
  • Dust Suppression

Landfill Sign

Figure 2 - Sign at the City of Denton Landfill informing the public of reuse water utilization for irrigation. 

Why purple pipe?
Whenever you see a purple pipe, you can be sure that there is non-potable water flowing through it.  Reuse water has its own internationally recognized pipe color designation to ensure it is not confused with potable water or untreated wastewater. The color is not limited to the pipe, but is also found on all reuse water fixtures, valve boxes, and irrigation heads. 

Purple Pipes

Figure 3 - Purple Pipe used for reuse water transmission

An early adoption of reuse.
Denton was early adopter of water reuse within the state of Texas.  Beginning in the 1970’s, treated effluent from the PCWRP started providing treated effluent to the Spencer Generating Station for cooling water purposes, which it continues to this day. In February of 2001, the COD Reuse Water Program was expanded with a reuse permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to use up to 6 million gallons of treated effluent a day for beneficial reuse. Throughout Texas and across the world, water reuse is continuing to play an ever-larger role in water supply plans.  


Cooling Tower

Figure 4 - Spencer Generation Station utilizes water reuse in their cooling towers. Pictured is one of four such towers at the site. 

The Current System
Today, City of Denton Water Utilities maintains over 5 miles of purple transmission mains as well as a 250,000 gallon reuse elevated storage tank. In 2023 alone, more than a quarter billion gallons of reuse water were distributed to customers.  

Website Reuse MapFigure 5 - Map showing the location of the City of Denton reuse system.


Reuse EST

Figure 6 - Denton Water Utilities Reuse Elevated Storage Tank


PCWRP Google Earth Image

Figure 7 - A Google Earth image of Pecan Creek Water Reclamation Plant, the source of Denton's Reuse Water.

The Path Forward
Regional water supply planning in the state of Texas is overseen by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). Every five years the TWDB publishes a State Water Plan which identifies and addresses each regions’ water supply needs. Denton is located in Region C, which spans 16 counties in North Texas. In the 2022 State Water Plan, the TWDB recommends that Region C utilizes reuse water to make up 27.2% percent of its water supply needs by 2070 (see the figures below). In 2023, the City of Denton reused just under 4% of all wastewater treatment plant effluent for direct non-potable reuse. 

Denton Water Utilities is in the early stages of exploring many additional ways to implement reuse water throughout the city. This initiative reflects Denton’s commitment to water security and sustainable development. 

TWDB Regions JPEG

Figure 8 - TWDB Regional Water Planning Areas. https://www.twdb.texas.gov/waterplanning/rwp/regions/index.asp


Reuse Pie Chart 2070

Figure 9 - Pie Chart from TWDB's website. https://texasstatewaterplan.org/region/C