The Economic Development Pulse First Quarter 2016 - Page 7

In the late 1990s, Odessa had a problem. Economic development was constrained by the city’s inability under environmental regulations to combine municipal wastewater with industrial streams that had not undergone pretreatment. GCA was invited to provide a regional solution—the Odessa South Industrial Wastewater Treatment Facility. GCA rebuilt and refurbished the city’s old municipal plant, commencing operations in 1997. Today, the facility provides biological treatment services for municipal and industrial wastewater transported by pipeline from the City of Odessa and a number of industries. Under its permit, Odessa South also receives trucked-in wastewater from municipal septic systems and portable toilets as well as non-hazardous industrial wastewater. The company provides regional wastewater treatment and also water systems services to industry and municipalities and those services help attract industry to locate in Texas.

Created by the Texas Legislature in 1969, Gulf Coast Waste Disposal Authority (GCA) is a non-tax supported unit of local government dedicated to waste management activities. The Authority’s primary jurisdiction, and the area from which the nine-member Board of Directors is selected, is comprised of Harris, Chambers and Galveston Counties. The Authority may provide services in any part of the State of Texas but coordinates its activities with any other authorities or districts in those areas.

Gulf Coast Authority focuses on providing reliable, cost-effective wastewater treatment and serving as a resource for continued economic development. Approximately 80 million gallons of wastewater is treated per month at GCA’s Odessa South Facility which includes about 860,000 gallons per month of trucked in wastewater largely from portable toilet companies.

GCA’s Odessa South Facility makes use of microorganisms to clean the wastewater. The microorganisms are then removed before the treated water is released, and the microbes are then reused to clean up additional wastewater. This process is referred to as Activated Sludge. Our Odessa facility uses a unique configuration of the Activated Sludge process to optimize the treatment of the specific wastestreams received at that facility.

GCA is an active participant in the Odessa Development Corp., Ector County Development Board, and Permian Basin Economic Task Force and MOTRAN. The Odessa staff also annually volunteers at the HEB Feast of Sharing and Odessa Police Alliance activities.

Recently, GCA has been awarded a $150,000 grant by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to study the feasibility of developing regional water recycling infrastructure to provide water for industrial use—including oil and gas exploration and production—in the Permian Basin. The federal grant has been matched by the Odessa Development Corporation, bringing the total to $300,000.

The conceptual approach is to build one or more facilities that would receive non-potable water from various sources, such as flow-back water from fracking, produced water from the operation of oil wells, brackish groundwater, treated municipal wastewater, and, possibly, water recovered from salt water disposal well fields. GCA would treat and blend water from these sources to provide water with a quality suitable for industrial use—including fracking and water flooding to enhance oil production—and then redistribute the reclaimed waters to industrial users. Transportation of water to the treatment facility and then on to the location of reuse would be by pipeline.


Cleaning Odessa's Wastewater

Gulf Coast Waste Authority

BY GCA Management