Fort Worth recently celebrated the grand opening of a first-of-its-kind water treatment plant in the city.
The $63 million project located on Old Weatherford Road in west Fort Worth was financed with a $50 million loan from the Texas Water Development Board.
"We built this water treatment plant more for reliability on the city's west side. It was sort of a weak link in our system," said water department spokeswoman Mary Gugliuzza.
The facility has a membrane filtration system that cleans and treats the water. The system uses tubes filled with what look like tiny straws. The water passes through and is cleaned in the process.
"It's the latest, greatest technology in drinking water treatment," Gugliuzza said.
Fewer chemicals are needed in the cleaning process. Chlorine and ammonia are used in their liquid form not their gas form at the plant.
"While it's a cost about $15 more per million gallons to use the liquid forms, from a safety standpoint, it's much safer," Gugliuzza said.
The Holly Treatment facility near downtown is currently converting from use of the gas form to the liquid form. The process should be completed by the end of the summer.
The new plant is only producing 10 million gallons of water a day right now. It can produce as much as 12 million gallons and could produce as much as 15 million gallons during the hot summer months. Gugliuzza said warmer water allows the membranes to produce more water each day.
But the plant isn't finished -- it was built with expansion in mind. When completely done, the plant could produce as much as 70 million gallons of water per day.
"We built the infrastructure to make expansion less expensive and quicker to achieve," Gugliuzza said.
But the proof of what the technology is capable of is in the water.
"We came in second this year in state [in the] best tasting drinking water contest," Gugliuzza said. "Next year, we're looking for first, and the water we send is coming from this plant."
The plant also features public art inside and out.