Corpus Christi moving forward with desalination plant

Texas– The city of Corpus Christi has been exploring potential sites for a desalination facility to help diversify its water supplies for drought occurrences. The city has applied to obtain a water quality permit with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The proposed facility would be situated on land off La Quinta Road in Gregory, with a discharge route planned into the La Quinta Channel in Corpus Christi Bay. The desalination plant would not exceed a daily flow average of 19.1 million gallons per day. The proposed facility will output water treated for industrial use. Since the plant will be located near the San Patricio Water Municipal District, the water can be further treated to become drinkable.


According to the Texas Desalination Association, nearly 100 small and intermittent inland desalination facilities across Texas produce 138 million gallons of water per day from the 2.7 billion acre-feet of brackish water in Texas’ aquifers. Brackish water has far less salinity than seawater. The biggest desalination facilities in Texas are the Kay Bailey Hutchinson plant in El Paso, which can produce up to 27.5 million gallons of fresh water daily, and the Southmost Regional Water Authority Desalination Plant, which produces 7.5 million gallons a day for south Texas. According to the Texas Water Development Board, the average cost to produce 1 acre-foot of desalinated water from seawater is projected to range from approximately $800 to about $1,400

New York fixed on $1B drinking water system

New York– The city of New York has committed $1 billion to protect the nation’s largest municipal water system as part of a 115-page agreement with state health officials. Funding for the drinking water system will be used for programs that protect the one million acres of watershed. The biggest chunk, $200 million, will be used to maintain and upgrade dozens of wastewater treatment plants. Another $180 million will go toward reducing pollution from working farms and replacing old and dead forest trees with young saplings that collect nutrients from rain and snow that runs into the reservoirs. There will also be $150 million for shoring up eroding streams to improve water quality and supporting flood mitigation projects. In addition, $96 million has been allocated for preserving land from development and $85 million will be used to expand a program that repairs or replaces septic systems for homes and small businesses.


The new agreement is the result of more than six months of negotiations between city and state officials, along with input from environmental and public health advocates, and representatives of upstate residents near the reservoirs. The agreement also calls for an independent review of the city’s water protection efforts by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

USDA funds water infrastructure for 168 towns

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced $283 million in funding for water and waste infrastructure for 168 small towns as part of the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program. The program provides assistance and financing to develop drinking water and waste disposal systems for communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.

“Strong infrastructure is critical to keeping America’s communities of all sizes thriving, and USDA is proud to partner with the National Rural Water Association to help improve the livelihood of our smallest towns by providing access to reliable water and wastewater systems,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Projects like these are critical to the economy, health and future of rural America, and today 19 million residents now have improved water and wastewater services in their communities thanks to investments USDA has made since 2009.”

Vermont’s Town of Williamstown will receive an $884,000 loan and $1,277,000 grant to upgrade the town’s water treatment facility. The funds will be used to increase efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

The town of Orleans, N.Y., will receive a $500,000 grant. The grant will be added to state funds to help install a water line to provide clean drinking water to residential wells contaminated by salt.

In Florida, Jacob City will receive a $30,000 USDA technical assistance grant to study possible improvements to the city water system. The city will use the funds to pay for an engineering report to evaluate the system

The largest loan announced under the program will go to the city of Monticello, Ill. It will receive a $14.3 million USDA loan to construct a wastewater treatment plant. The funding will help the city expand its sewage capacity for its 5,500 residents and comply with environmental regulations.

One of the program recipients, the Mt. Olive Water Association in Mississippi, was one of the first applicants to use Rural Development’s new online application system, RD Apply. The new process allows applications to be submitted anywhere in the country via the internet.  Mt. Olive will receive a $297,000 loan and a $238,000 grant for a water storage tank, fire hydrants and a generator.

Click here for a full list of funded projects.

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Levee, water plant included in Foster City CIP

The two largest projects included in the $130 million capital improvement plan (CIP) for the city of Foster City, Calif., are a new levee, which is needed to avoid having the federal government place the entire city in a flood zone, and an overhaul of a wastewater treatment plant located in San Mateo.

Foster City shares the water treatment plant with other municipalities, including Hillsborough, the county of San Mateo and the Crystal Springs Sanitation District. State water officials have mandated the plant be updated to avoid sewage spilling into the San Francisco Bay.

The entire project will cost $770 million and could take 10 years to complete. Foster City’s portion of the project would run to $100 million. The city’s levee system runs eight miles long, and upgrading the system will cost between $35 million and $75 million. If improvements aren’t implemented, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will classify the entire city as a flood zone.

Over the next two years, the city will spend another $6.5 million on design, permitting and construction.