Building a Water Conservation Program

In hot central Texas, water is a precious commodity. Drought conditions are common, causing water restrictions and high prices. The Edwards Aquifer, which supplies much of the area, has experienced diminishing reserves for years, making water conservation a major priority in the region. Martin Marietta’s Hunter Cement Plant, north of San Antonio, understood this growing concern in their community and realized the importance of water conservation efforts. To enhance the sustainability of their operations while also remaining competitive, the plant decided to make a significant investment in their water management future.  

BUILDING A WATER CONSERVATION PROGRAMPlanning for Expansion

As plans were underway to expand the capacity of Hunter Cement plant, the team in charge uncovered an opportunity to incorporate a water conservation plan to support the new expansion. Discussions with the nearby city of San Marcos revealed their need to manage treated municipal wastewater.   It was discovered that this reclaimed water met the standards the plant needed for the majority of its production-related water usage. This recycled water would give Hunter Cement the ability to expand their operation without pulling more well water from the Edwards Aquifer.

The team worked closely with San Marcos city officials starting in 2007, to gain access to their reclaimed water, chosen based on water quality tests. Once an agreement was made, approximately 3,500 feet of pipe had to be laid under railroads, highways and other infrastructure to carry the water to the plant. This required approval from all involved, including local governments, private landowners and other officials. Even with all the time and effort spent to set up the system, it has proven to be incredibly valuable.

Tremendous Savings per Year

Today, the reclaimed water is used in the greater San Antonio area. While the water requires some extra treatment at certain facilities for use, it saves the area millions of gallons of water per year. The value of the water is not only monetary as fresh water becomes more expensive in the area, but it also has a lasting impact on the reserves of the Edwards Aquifer.  At the Hunter Cement Plant alone, it has saved 45 million gallons from being pulled from the aquifer in the first seven months of 2014.

As central Texas continues to feel the effects of restricted water usage and increasing prices of this valuable natural resource, Martin Marietta’s Hunter Cement Plant is able to maintain their water usage in a more sustainable way. They understood the need for water conservation early on and decided to invest in their future, which has proven to be worthwhile for their bottom line and the community.

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