Recycled water can satisfy most water demands, as long as it is adequately treated to ensure water quality appropriate for the use. The Treatment and Uses chart shows types of treatment processes and suggested uses at each level of treatment. In uses where there is a greater chance of human exposure to the water, more treatment is required. As for any water source that is not properly treated, health problems could arise from drinking or being exposed to recycled water if it contains disease-causing organisms or other contaminants.
Recycled water can satisfy most water demands, as long as it is adequately treated to ensure water quality appropriate for the use.
Uses for Recycled Water
Although most water recycling projects have been developed to meet no potable water demands, a number of projects use recycled water indirectly for potable purposes. These projects include recharging ground water aquifers and augmenting surface water reservoirs with recycled water. In ground water recharge projects, recycled water can be spread or injected into ground water aquifers to augment ground water supplies, and to prevent salt water intrusion in coastal areas.
While numerous successful ground water recharge projects have been operated for many years, planned augmentation of surface water reservoirs has been less common. However, there are some existing projects and others in the planning stages.
The use of gray water at decentralized sites (see definition) for landscape irrigation and toilet flushing reduces the amount of potable water distributed to these sites, the amount of fertilizer needed, and the amount of wastewater generated, transported, and treated at wastewater treatment facilities. In other words, water reuse saves water, energy, and money. Decentralized water reuse systems are being used more in the arid west where long term drought conditions exist. Successful gray water systems have been operating for many years,. They can meet up to 50% of a property’s water needs by supplying water for landscaping. Recycling gray water saves fresh potable water for other uses, reduces the volume of wastewater going to septic systems and wastewater treatment plants, and increases infrastructure capacity for new users.