Testing a Mobile Treatment Option

The City of Houston’s emergency wastewater response to Hurricane Harvey

On Aug. 26, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas. During the following days and weeks, more than 1270 mm (50 in.) of precipitation fell in the greater area around the City of Houston. This wet weather led to significant flooding and disruption or failure of utility service for several communities.

To guard against this type of disruption in the future, Houston Water, a division of the City of Houston Public Works, solicited requests for proposals to develop decentralized, grid-independent, mobilized wastewater treatment capacity operated by licensed wastewater operation professionals. Houston Water extended this request via the Texas-based water technology hub, Accelerate H2O. This solution is meant to prevent service interruptions even if some of Houston Water’s water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) become inundated again. Along with testing which technologies worked best in this situation, the utility also developed techniques and procedures to deploy these mobile units.

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