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WateReuse Texas Interviews Authors of Newly Released Water Recycling Book

Date: June 03, 2022

The recent release of Bill and Rosemarie Alley’s “The Water Recycling Revolution: Tapping into the Future” brings water recycling in Texas and around the country to a general audience. According to the authors, water recycling has a “bright future in Texas given our state’s leadership, progress on the technology, and our changing climate.”

Read on to learn more about some Texas utilities featured in the book, the author’s thoughts about emerging contaminants, and their upcoming managed aquifer recovery project. 

What was your goal in writing this book? 
Reuse of municipal wastewater has the potential to significantly increase the nation’s available water resources. Our goal was to tell the history, science, and politics of water reuse in an engaging manner accessible to anyone interested in water, the environment, or public health. While there are a number of technically oriented summaries of water reuse, we believe we’ve written the first comprehensive general interest book on the topic.

Which Texas utilities were featured in the book? 
At the outset, we were particularly interested in El Paso, because of its long history of groundbreaking work in potable reuse and desalination. We were surprised to find that El Paso is on track to become the first large city in the Northern Hemisphere to undertake direct potable reuse.

We were already familiar with Big Spring’s direct potable reuse from our earlier book “High and Dry: Meeting the Challenges of the World’s Growing Dependence on Groundwater.” In addition, we were intrigued and impressed by how Wichita Falls addressed a host of technical and public communication issues to implement direct potable reuse on an emergency basis in 2014. Application of the “One Water” concept at the Blue Hole Primary School in Wimberley and Austin’s onsite water reuse plans were also quite interesting.

What pathogens/contaminants of emerging concern worry you the most and why?
Pathogens require continued vigilance and multiple barrier approaches. With respect to contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), it appears that industrial compounds, such as 1,4-dioxane, and disinfection byproducts, such as NDMA, represent a more serious human health risk than do pharmaceuticals and personal care products.What additional water or recycled water projects do you have in the works?
Bill has been working with an international team on a technical book on managed aquifer recharge (MAR) that is well along. For our next book, we’re exploring the idea of a general interest book on MAR.

Dr. William M. Alley is Director of Science and Technology for the National Ground Water Association and previously served as Chief, Office of Groundwater for the U.S. Geological Survey. Rosemarie Alley is a freelance writer with extensive writing and speaking experience. As a writing team, Bill provides the scientific expertise and Rosemarie makes it interesting and understandable for the general reader.

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