Water Reuse

State Regulations

Two states have recently adopted or proposed regulations in the area of water reuse. A recent final rule went into effect in Virginia on October 1st, 2008 and the California Department of Public Health released a draft regulation concerning the use of reclaimed water for groundwater recharge in August 2008.

Virginia's "Water Reclamation and Reuse Regulation" addresses uses of non-potable water. Specifically, it describes the use of reclaimed water for six specific use categories. The categories are urban-unrestricted, irrigation-unrestricted, irrigation-restricted, landscape impoundments, construction and industrial. The regulation establishes treatment standards and monitoring requirements for reclaimed municipal wastewater and allows for similar provisions for industrial wastewater. It also includes various requirements for water reclamation systems, such as design, construction, operations and permitting. There are no provisions in this regulation for using reclaimed water for potable purposes, either through direct reuse or using groundwater recharge.

Final Rule
Virginia Register of Regulations. Volume 24, Issue 26. September 1, 2008.
Proposed Rule
Virginia Register of Regulations. Volume 23, Issue 24. August 6, 2007.

In contrast to Virginia's recent regulation, California's recently released draft regulation specifically addresses the recharge of groundwater with recycled municipal wastewater, with an emphasis on indirect potable reuse. Indirect reuse is emphasized because it provides multiple and effective barriers between the wastewater and potable source and because it allows for more time for problems with the wastewater augmented groundwater to be identified. Provisions for monitoring and treatment requirements are included. The proposal attempts to address both surface application and subsurface application, protections of any groundwater aquifers and maintenance of public confidence in drinking water supplies. In order to ensure that these requirements are met, any project that engages in this type of reuse will be required to operate a series of monitoring wells, demonstrate treatment standards, and only reclaim water that has been retained underground for at least 6 months before being removed for drinking water supply. The regulation also lists recommendations and requirements for the types of studies and monitoring that must be undertaken in order to get the necessary permits for operation of such a groundwater recharge operation. In most cases, tracer studies will be necessary to comply with the regulation.

Groundwater Recharge Reuse. DRAFT Regulation. August 5, 2008.
Collins, Heather. "California's Draft Criteria for Grounwater Recharge with Reclaimed Water & Emerging Contaminant Control." Presentation at the 2008 Water Quality & Regulatory Conference, Ontario, CA. October 15th, 2008.