The Future of Wastewater Treatment Series: San Antonio, TX

This article is part of our feature on the future of wastewater in the U.S.’s fastest growing metro areas. We’re using the Transcend Design Generator to automatically build, expand, or upgrade regional wastewater treatment systems in each of these regions.

San Antonio, Texas has experienced substantial population growth in the past decade, with Bexar County ranking #6 on the list of the Top 100 fastest-growing U.S. counties.

The city’s #wastewater infrastructure is facing significant challenges accommodating the expanding community’s needs (the city grew from 1,722,838 people in 2010 to 2,014,052 in 2020!) and maintaining strict effluent quality standards while also minimizing environmental impacts.

San Antonio Water System (SAWS) conducted a study in 2019 to evaluate the impact of population growth on wastewater management from 2018 to 2028. SAWS’ comprehensive study was designed to assess the city’s wastewater infrastructure’s ability to handle the increasing population and to identify necessary upgrades or expansions. The findings from the study confirmed our own research, which left us impressed with the SAWS’s proactive planning in addressing the challenges associated with rapid growth.

The Steven M. Clouse Water Recycling Center provides a solid foundation for the city’s water recycling efforts. But expanding smaller plants, such as the Medio Creek Wastewater Plant (MCWP), is essential to ensure comprehensive wastewater treatment coverage. For this project, we will explore recent upgrades to the Medio Creek plant, its planned capacity expansion, and how this project will contribute to San Antonio’s sustainable water management strategy.

MCWP has recently undergone an upgrade, increasing its treatment capacity from 7.5 MGD to 16 MGD. However, to stay ahead of the population growth, there are plans for further expansion of the plant, ultimately raising its capacity to 31 MGD. This increased capacity will ensure that the Medio Creek plant can efficiently handle the increased wastewater volumes associated with San Antonio’s thriving communities.

The recent expansion followed a unique approach by creating a completely separate extension that operates independently from the existing plant – or at least it looks like it. In line with this strategy, we’ve used the Transcend Design Generator to generate a conceptual design for the upcoming capacity expansion.

This involves the construction of a new plant section with the same technology – featuring a CAS treatment process, separate pretreatment, and no primary treatment. Additionally, tertiary filters will be incorporated to ensure high effluent quality, and UV disinfection. By designing the new plant section to function independently, San Antonio can optimize the overall wastewater treatment process, improving efficiency and adaptability in response to the city’s dynamic population growth.

Take a look at the automatically generated technical description below, and comment “SAWS design” if you’d like to see the full design package, include a 3D BIM model, carbon footprint document, and more!

If you’d like to see the full design package for this treatment plant, send us a note at or contact us here and a member of our team will share it with you!

If you enjoyed this piece you may also want to read about the future of wastewater in Seattle.


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