New water concept for Amarillo: Transform sewage water into drinking water

AMARILLO, Texas---A new water production concept is on the drawing board at Amarillo's Public Works Department.

After a recent article was published online regarding a plan to transform sewage water into drinking water, many people got a bad taste in their mouth.

The idea may sound off the wall, but as we discovered, it's happening all across the state.

During peak water usage seasons, the city distributes more than 80 million gallons of water per day.

"We're thinking in terms of alternative ways to help conserve water in times of drought," Director of Utilities Emmett Autrey said.

In a time where Lake Meredith's resources wash away, the city washed up a new concept of taking sewage water, purify it and then distribute it.

"It's doable," Autrey said. "Since 1985, the city of El Paso has been doing it."

Already the buzz has spread on the Internet regarding safety concerns.

"I did drink the water," Autrey said. "It tasted great."

Before drawing conclusions, nothing is set in stone and if the city decides to approve this plan, it's quite costly.

"One of the main issues is cost," he said. "It's not something that can be done cheaply."

In fact, it's estimated it would cost the city $10 million for a new treatment plant.

Autrey says he is just looking into the future of water conservation.

"Looking at it in an extremely long-term basis, it would prolong our water rights for several more years."

We spoke with Brad Jones with the EPA who says the practice is more common than we think.

He also says the water goes through a rigorous testing process before ending up in your sink.

The city of Big Spring is next on the list to start this procedure.