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As EPA works out new rules, Denton struggles to reach and measure forever chemicals

Nov 15, 2023


In early October, the Pecan Creek Water Reclamation Plant smelled like the solids that fall out of wastewater as it’s treated during the city’s multistage treatment process.

“It smells like money,” said Rusty Willard, the city’s water reclamation superintendent. “Actually, it usually doesn’t smell this bad. We’re under a little bit of construction right now. That’s the reason for it. Usually, it’s not bad at all.”

Willard was joined by Denton’s Water Utilities Director Stephen Gay and Chief of Staff Ryan Adams on a Tuesday morning in October for a tour of the Pecan Creek facility. We were discussing the city’s biosolids program — which turns leftover wastewater sludge into Dyno Dirt — and the so-called “forever chemicals” known as PFAS, which have been found in biosolids, drinking water and wastewater, not only in Denton but in cities around the country.

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