By Mark Sanchez, PE

The City of El Paso’s Fred Hervey Water Reclamation Plant (WRP) was one of the pioneers for indirect potable reuse in the nation. At the time it was brought on line in 1985, it was the nation’s first full-scale wastewater reclamation plant to use tertiary treatment to restore wastewater to national and state potable water standards, and inject back into the groundwater aquifer. After 30 years of operation, the Fred Hervey plant holds its own in cost effectiveness, performing these objectives using the same technology.

Because of this plant, the life of the city’s groundwater resources has been extended significantly and it remains a key component of the city’s overall water resource management portfolio. This report will review the plant’s design and treatment cost from its early years of operation, its current cost of treatment, compare these treatment costs to that of the Orange County Ground Water Replenishing Facility, formerly the Water Factory 21 Facility, and show how cutting-edge research being done on the plant’s biologically activated carbon filters continues to keep this plant in the forefront of innovation.