Reclaimed water – opportunities for growth

Posted in: Water


Reclaimed water usageGrowing up in the Midwest, I had never heard of reclaimed water. I learned plenty about drinking water treatment and wastewater treatment in college, but it was not until I started my engineering career in Florida that I learned all about reclaimed water treatment and distribution. Lately, I have been wondering why this might be. The Midwest may not be as hot, humid, or populous as Florida, but surely beneficial reuse is an option up north.

Three states? Or 33 states?

When we think of reuse water, often we think of hot arid parts of the county such as Florida, California, or Arizona. It is time to expand reuse awareness beyond these three states. Currently, 33 states have some available guidelines for reuse, and we are starting to see more opportunities and implementation of beneficial water reuse.

The growing interest in reclaimed water to support community water systems comes at a time when many areas are seeing groundwater depletion. In locations where large-scale irrigation operations are required for agriculture or recreation, reclaimed water can supplement a community’s water supply and offset groundwater use.

Expanding reuse

In Hays, Kansas, nearly 25% of treated wastewater is reused annually. This supports irrigation at a golf course, community sports complex, and college soccer and track and field complexes. This operation conserves groundwater and adds value to the community by supporting recreation. In Murfreesboro, Tennessee, reclaimed water is utilized for irrigation at the treatment plant, a golf course, soccer fields, and for a housing complex. Onsite irrigation at your treatment facility may be a great place to start if you have not yet implemented beneficial reuse.

Larger cities and suburban areas are implementing beneficial reuse strategies also. In 2018, Long Island, New York began a project for the state’s first wastewater treatment facility to provide reclaimed water for irrigation. This operation is designed to conserve nearly 100 million gallons of groundwater annually. On the other side of the country, the City of Beaverton, Oregon is implementing a non-potable irrigation system. This system will supply irrigation for newly developing neighborhoods in the area.

Opportunities for reclaimed water are not limited to hot or dry climates. Whether your water supply is strained, your population is increasing, or you are just looking to try something innovative, reclaimed water might be your next step.


Allison Lukens

About the Author

Allison Lukens is passionate about innovative design in wastewater treatment. She believes that any project can benefit from implementing more sustainable practices. In her time outside the wastewater industry, Allison enjoys yoga and playing piano.

Read more posts by Allison Lukens

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