PoU reverse-osmosis planned for US city’s households

The City of Andrews, USA, is likely to submit a proposal to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) at the end of this year for installation of point-of-use (PoU) reverse-osmosis (RO) water treatment on 4,500 city homes.

Andrews has levels of naturally-occurring fluoride and arsenic above the drinking water standards set by the US Environmental Protection Agency and has been exploring alternatives to achieving compliance.

For the past six months, the city has been conducting a pilot project in 40 homes to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of PoU RO for households. City manager Glen Hackler told D&WR that the key question was whether individual units were practical on a large scale.

Following the initial six-month period of the pilot study, a meeting between city officials and the TCEQ was held in Austin. Hackler says the city was encouraged by the initial results and feedback, and that a proposal would be forthcoming by the year-end.

“We believe the units, installed, would cost approximately US$ 1-1.5 million (about US$ 300 per unit), depending upon the required equipment,” said Hackler. “We are still evaluating the ongoing operations/maintenance costs, which will be contingent upon the TCEQ’s required maintenance schedule.”

The City of Andrews, he said, was committed to working with the TCEQ and EPA to develop a reasonable, affordable strategy for small to mid-sized cities. Because this was a standard for drinking water, and POU RO addressed the water being consumed by households, much less treated water was wasted than by using centralized treatment.

“We are optimistic that we can achieve a mutually-agreeable solution,” Hackler concluded.