breaking news

Court of appeals blocks Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance

Project to save 10 million gallons of water yearly, Travis County says


Highlights

Recycled wastewater will be used to cool chillers that provide air conditioning to four county buildings.

Travis County will use recycled wastewater to cool the chillers that provide to air conditioning to four county buildings, saving 10 million gallons of water a year, Commissioner Brigid Shea announced Tuesday.

That’s the equivalent of taking 150 homes off city water permanently, Shea said, “so we are dramatically expanding our water supply by not wasting it in an epic fashion for air conditioning.”

The reuse is possible because of a program run by the city of Austin, Shea said. Instead of wasting drinking water, she said, the city’s program enables commercial users to use treated wastewater that would ordinarily be discharged into the Colorado River.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Austin’s reclaimed water program seen as way to deal with drought

FROM 2015: Austin Water Breaks ground on downtown reclaimed water main

The county also will reuse water by capturing moisture from the evaporator coils in the cooling systems, rather than draining it to the sewer.

The switch will cost the county about $1.2 million for engineering and construction involving the four buildings, but the change will save $136,000 a year from the lower cost of recycled water, Shea said. That means the county will start to see a return on its investment in about nine years.

So far, the Heman Marion Sweatt Courthouse, 1000 Guadalupe St., and the Ned Granger Administration Building, 314 W. 11th St., are online, said Roger El Khoury, director of the county’s Facilities Management Department.

RELATED: PolitiFact: Austin, San Antonio not so different on water reuse

The reclaimed water system at the County Administration building, 700 Lavaca St., is under construction and will take three months to finish. The change-over at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center, 509 West 11th St., which is connected to the Gault Building, 505 West 11th St., will go up for bid next week and take about six months to finish, El Khoury said.

“We live in a pretty dry area,” said Daryl Slusher, an assistant director of Austin Water Utility. “There’s going to be more extremes as climate change continues to take hold, and it’s more important than ever that we do things to save our water.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story quoted Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea giving an incorrect estimate of the equivalent amount of water used by single-family households relative to a new county conservation effort that will save 10 million gallons of water a year. The correct equivalent number of households this compares to based on annual water consumption by the average single-family household is 150.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

State panel suspends Williamson County Judge Dan Gattis over threat
State panel suspends Williamson County Judge Dan Gattis over threat

The Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct has suspended Williamson County Judge Dan Gattis from judicial duties with pay, said county spokeswoman Connie Odom. The suspension was in connection to an official oppression charge filed against Gattis, she said. It will not keep him from doing his job because he performs administrative duties in the county...
Austin school district launches clear bag policy at athletic events
Austin school district launches clear bag policy at athletic events

The Austin school district announced Friday a clear bag policy at athletic events that officials say is meant to enhance safety and security for athletes and spectators. The policy, set to begin Aug. 30, will be enforced at Burger Stadium, Delco Center, House Park, Nelson Field and Noack Sports Complex. It could be expanded in the future to include...
8 officers shoot, kill man who ran at them with gun, police say
8 officers shoot, kill man who ran at them with gun, police say

The sound of gunfire reverberated on Sixth Street on a busy back-to-school weekend and sent crowds scrambling as eight Austin officers shot and killed a 21-year-old man who was carrying a gun and ran toward them early Friday, police officials said. Family members said the man was Aquantis Givens, a rapper from Baton Rouge, La., who was performing Thursday...
Appeals court tosses 3 UT professors’ lawsuit challenging campus carry
Appeals court tosses 3 UT professors’ lawsuit challenging campus carry

A federal appeals court has rejected three University of Texas professors’ claims that the state’s campus carry law and its implementation by the university violate their constitutional rights. Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore and Mia Carter argued that their First Amendment right to academic freedom has been violated because free speech...
City sued in Texas Supreme Court regarding CodeNext ballot language
City sued in Texas Supreme Court regarding CodeNext ballot language

CodeNext might be dead, but litigation regarding the controversial land-use rewrite is alive and well. On Friday, a petitioner sued the city of Austin in the Texas Supreme Court concerning ballot language tied to the now-abandoned comprehensive rewrite of the city’s land-use rules. The suit marked the second time this week that a petitioner represented...
More Stories