Mary's Creek Water Reclamation Facility

TCEQ schedules preliminary hearing for Feb. 28

The State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) will conduct a preliminary hearing via Zoom videoconference at 10 a.m. on Feb. 28. Official notice of the meeting publishes in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Friday, Jan. 21 and Sunday, Jan. 23. The official notice includes details of how to join the zoom meeting using a computer or a telephone.

The purpose of a preliminary hearing is to establish jurisdiction, name the parties, establish a procedural schedule for the remainder of the proceeding, and to address other matters as determined by the judge.  The evidentiary hearing phase of the proceeding, which will occur at a later date, will be similar to a civil trial in state district court.  The hearing will address the disputed issues of fact identified in the TCEQ order concerning this application issued on November 9, 2021.  In addition to these issues, the judge may consider additional issues if certain factors are met. Read more...

TCEQ issues interim order

At it's Nov. 3 public meeting, the TCEQ commissioners considered all timely filed contested case hearing requests and requests for reconsideration of the permit.

View the commission's  interim order outlining its decisions.(PDF, 170KB)

TCEQ schedules docket item

On Sept. 24, 2021, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality notified interested parties it set the Nov. 3 docket for the commissioners to consider all timely requests for a contested case hearing and reconsideration of its draft permit decision. 

Notice that docket item is set(PDF, 132KB)

TCEQ Executive Director's response to requests for a contested case hearing(PDF, 3MB)

Public Interest Counsel's response to requests for a contested case hearing and response to requests for reconsideration(PDF, 13MB)

TCEQ releases executive director's decision and response to public comments

On July 23, 2021, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality released the Decision of the Executive Director that the permit application meets the requirements of all applicable laws. The decision letter explains the process and requirements for requesting a contested case hearing or requesting reconsideration of the executive director's decision.  The deadline for making either request is August 23, 2021. 

Enclosed with the decision letter was the Executive Director's Response to Public Comments received regarding the draft permit issued by TCEQ for the Mary's Creek Water Reclamation Facility.

Read Executive Director's Decision(PDF, 3MB)

Read Executive Director's Response to Public Comments(PDF, 15MB)

TCEQ Permitting Process

Public meeting held

Because of significant public interest, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality held a public meeting on the permit application on Monday, Oct.5 . The meeting was conducted as a webcast because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The official meeting notice, published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Tuesday, Sept. 1.

The official comment period closed with the conclusion of the public meeting. 

Draft Permit Issued

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued a draft permit(PDF, 10MB)  for the Mary’s Creek Water Reclamation Facility on March 13, 2020. The required public notice published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and La Estrella on Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4, respectively.

Permit Application

The City of Fort Worth applied on March 23, 2018 to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for a Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit to construct the facility. On May 11, 2018, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality informed the city it had deemed the application administratively complete and was beginning its technical review of the application.

The city published a public notice in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and La Estrella advertising its intent to obtain a water quality permit.

This new facility will serve the needs of the growing western part of the city. Previous engineering studies evaluated collecting and treating wastewater from west Fort Worth at the Mary’s Creek Water Reclamation Facility, compared to significantly increasing the capacity of the wastewater collection system piping from west Fort Worth to the existing Village Creek Plant in east Fort Worth. 

The studies showed that constructing the Mary’s Creek facility would not only be the lowest cost alternative, but would also provide a reclaimed water supply to the area that could supplement and extend the existing water supply.  The State Water Plan includes the anticipated reclaimed water supply from the Mary’s Creek Water Reclamation Facility.

 A water reclamation facility cleans the water that goes down drains in our homes and businesses so it can be reused for beneficial purposes. At the Mary’s Creek plant, as much of the treated water as possible will be conveyed directly to customers as reclaimed water, with the remainder of the treated water being discharged into Mary’s Creek. 

 The treated water from Mary’s Creek will meet the reclaimed water standards as well as the stringent TCEQ discharge permit requirements.  Examples of reclaimed water use includes irrigation water for lawns, landscaping, or athletic fields, as well as commercial and/or industrial use.  The expanded use of reclaimed water is a critical part of Fort Worth’s future water supply.


A Mary's Creek facility has been discussed for two decades. Numerous studies commissioned by different entities have explored the wastewater needs for eastern Parker and western Tarrant counties, including a feasibility study. In 2009 and 2010, Fort Worth conducted a site selection study for a future facility in the Mary’s Creek basin. The process included a customer advisory committee and several opportunities for community engagement.

The result was the selection of three potential sites. In 2011, the city purchased one of these – a 100-acre site along Chapin Road that is across Mary’s Creek from the Waste Management landfill. The city projects the new treatment facility needs to be operational by 2026.

 Mary's Sitemap


Frequently asked questions

1. What is a water reclamation facility? Is reclaimed water safe to use?

A water reclamation facility cleans the water that goes down drains in our homes and businesses so it can be reused for beneficial purposes. This highly-treated wastewater is called reclaimed water and must meet strict water quality standards established by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Reclaimed water can be returned to the environment, used to irrigate landscape, for commercial and industrial processes, or to replenish water supplies. Reclaimed water is a critical part of Fort Worth’s future water supply and is safe for public health and the environment.

2. Why does Fort Worth need a water reclamation facility in the Mary’s Creek area? Why not use the Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility instead of building a new facility?

The city’s Wastewater System Master Plan determined Fort Worth needs a new water reclamation facility on the west side. The current plan is to initiate design of this facility after receiving the permit from the TCEQ, with an anticipated plant startup of 2026. The new plant will intercept and treat wastewater flows generated from west Fort Worth that would otherwise be conveyed thirty miles through existing wastewater collection pipelines to the Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility. It has been determined that those flows would overload the capacity of many of the existing pipelines to the Village Creek facility, requiring expensive capacity improvements in order to prevent overflows. Instead of investing in those capacity improvements, Fort Worth can save substantial costs by constructing the Mary’s Creek Water Reclamation Facility.

The Mary’s Creek basin is centrally located on the west side of Fort Worth between two other drainage basins and near potential water reuse opportunities. The new facility would also serve parts of western Tarrant and eastern Parker counties within Fort Worth’s current or future city limits.

3. What kinds of treatment processes will the Mary’s Creek facility include?

Treatment is accomplished primarily through a biological process, cleaning water the same way it is cleaned in nature but at a much faster rate. While the biological treatment process remains similar to the existing process at Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility, the city will use the newest technology and equipment designs in order to optimize treatment efficiencies within a compact footprint. One such opportunity is to incorporate membrane bioreactors into the treatment process. The membrane technology combines both the biological treatment and filtration steps by using modules consisting of thousands of hollow membranes placed within an air-fed basin. The air allows the biological process to occur while the membranes remove very small particles from the wastewater and allows clean water to pass through to disinfection. Another opportunity is to incorporate ultraviolet light into the disinfection process to inactivate bacteria and viruses, minimizing the use of chemicals at the Mary’s Creek plant.4. How big will the new facility be?

The permit application has an initial phase of 10 million gallons per day with expansion up to 15 mgd. Future expansions, which would be timed dependent on growth, could increase the average day capacity up to 25 mgd. By comparison, the existing Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility has an average day capacity of 166 mgd.

5. Will there be a lot of odors from this facility?

No. Odor control will be achieved by a combination of enclosing odor generating process within buildings and using the latest odor scrubbing technologies to treat air streams. Fort Worth is committed to using advanced technology in order to minimize odors and other air contaminants.

6. What about increased noise, lights and traffic from the new facility?

Most treatment equipment will be located inside a building or submerged in process tanks, which will significantly limit noise pollution. In addition, a buffer zone will surround the facility site to dissipate noise before it reaches surrounding areas.

While there are security requirements that must be met, Fort Worth is committed to designing lighting systems and installing lighting fixtures that would minimize any light pollution

During construction there will be an increased presence of trucks on local roadways. Every effort will be made to minimize inconvenience caused by construction or other factors. Once the facility is completed, there will be a limited number of trucks going to and from the facility for maintenance activities, chemical deliveries and biosolids transport.

7. What’s the impact on my water bill?

The Water Department’s capital improvement plan for 2018 through 2022 includes funding for the plant design work using impact fees. Impact fees are collected from new development and used to offset the costs associated with new facilities to serve new development – so these fees help reduce the financial burden on existing ratepayers.

The actual plant construction costs are not in the current five-year CIP, as we expect to fund construction of the Mary’s Creek Plant in 2023. The City has several options to finance the construction of the plant. The various options are being investigated and a decision will be made once the permit has been approved by the TCEQ.

8. What are the next steps to make this proposed facility a reality?

The process to obtain a permit usually takes 18 months to three years to complete and provides an opportunity for public comment at certain stages.

The City of Fort Worth applied on March 23, 2018 to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for a Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit to construct the facility. On May 11, 2018, TCEQ issued the formal notice that the administrative review of the application was complete, and the technical review would begin. Fort Worth then published the required newspaper notices within 30 days.

On March 16, 2020, TCEQ completed its technical review of the application and issued a draft permit for comment. Fort Worth published the required notices of its availability for review and comment in English and Spanish on April 3 and 4, respectively.

After TCEQ issues the permit, Fort Worth will seek proposals for the detailed design of the facility. It takes another four to five years to do the design engineering, bidding and construction. The city has committed that during the design phase, it will organize another community advisory committee composed of representatives of neighborhoods and property owners in the immediate vicinity of the facility.

9. How will the new facility impact our water supply?

The facility will have a positive impact on water supply. Because this is a water reclamation facility, the reclaimed water would be available for non-potable purposes, such as irrigation. This reduces the demand on our potable supplies.

The 2016 Region C Water Plan approved by the Texas Water Development Board calls for 27 percent of our water supply to come from conservation and reuse by 2070. Without a water reclamation facility located on the west side of Fort Worth, reuse would not be feasible in that area. Because most of the service area is undeveloped, there is a tremendous opportunity to create an extensive reuse system.

10. Will there be discharges from this facility into Mary’s Creek and, if so, will that harm the water quality in the creek?

The reclaimed (treated) water not piped elsewhere for irrigation or other uses would flow into Mary’s Creek. The purpose of the permitting process is to establish water quality limits for the discharged water so it does not harm the creek. The more water that is reused, the less water will be discharged to Mary’s Creek. The TCEQ has established water quality standards within Mary’s Creek that protect aquatic life and other beneficial uses of the stream. Extensive water quality modeling is performed before and during the permitting process so the TCEQ can set protective water quality parameters in the discharge permit.

11. Will increased discharges into the creek increase flooding?

The discharge from the reclamation facility will not impact flooding conditions in the basin. The city’s Transportation and Public Works (TPW) Department is studying what happens in the Mary’s Creek watershed during significant rainfall events. Accurate floodplain maps during the 100-year storm event are being generated as part of this study. The peak flow from the water reclamation facility is anticipated to result in less than a one-eighth of an inch increase in water surface elevation at the Mary’s Creek crossing with Loop 820.

12. Will there be more erosion along the banks of the creek from increased discharges?

The TPW Department’s Stormwater Management Division determined the risk of increased erosion is negligible because the future maximum discharge from the facility will increase the annual flows by less than 1 percent. The Mary’s Creek plant’s daily flows may actually help mitigate stream bank erosion by promoting root growth and sustainability of vegetation.

13. What dangerous chemicals will be used at the new facility?

No chemicals with any potential hazardous offsite impacts will be used at the facility. Wastewater treatment is all about protecting public health and the environment. The process is biological, cleaning water the same way it is cleaned in nature but at a much faster rate. Disinfection is anticipated to be accomplished using ultraviolet light rather than gaseous chlorine. Chlorine used will be in liquid form, similar to bleach you can purchase at the grocery store.

14. Will the facility be built to the property line?

No. The TCEQ requires a minimum buffer zone of 150 feet between the treatment units and the property line. In addition, the proposed site has existing industrial uses along its southern and eastern borders.

15. Is this going to be a regional facility?

A regional facility is a possibility, but Fort Worth needs this facility regardless of whether another community becomes a customer. Because of the high level of treatment that will be achieved and the anticipated high quality of the reclaimed water, a future regional facility could be beneficial for regional water quality in Mary’s Creek and the Clear Fork of the Trinity River. However, if the Mary’s Creek plant were to become a regional facility, any regional customer would be required to contribute to help offset the facility’s cost to ratepayers within the City of Fort Worth.

16. How will biosolids be handled?

Biosolids generated from the treatment process will be dewatered and then stored in an odor controlled environment protected from the elements until being removed from the site. Biosolids will be hauled from the site by truck.

17. How can I find out more information about the project and its progress?

Get connected and stay informed about the Mary’s Creek Reclamation facility project. Visit the city website to sign up for updates. Enter your email address and select the topics that interest you.

18. How do I comment on the environmental permitting process?

There is information on the TCEQ website about how to sign up to be on the TCEQ notification list and submit comments.

Additional information