Only publicly-owned wastewater and water recycling agencies were included in the survey. The results of the survey indicate that 723,845 acre feet of recycled water is being used in California. Of that amount, 29% is used towards agricultural irrigation, 18% towards landscape irrigation, 5% towards groundwater recharge, and less than 1 percent for indirect potable reuse.
While recycling is a term generally applied to aluminum cans, glass bottles, and newspapers, water can be recycled as well. Water recycling is reusing treated wastewater for beneficial purposes such as agricultural and landscape irrigation, industrial processes, toilet flushing, and replenishing a ground water basin (referred to as ground water recharge). Water recycling offers resource and financial savings. Wastewater treatment can be tailored to meet the water quality requirements of a planned reuse. Recycled water for landscape irrigation requires less treatment than recycled water for drinking water. No documented cases of human health problems due to contact with recycled water that has been treated to standards, criteria, and regulations have been reported.
Water is sometimes recycled and reused onsite. For example, when an industrial facility recycles water used for cooling processes. A common type of recycled water is water that has been reclaimed from municipal wastewater, or sewage. The term water recycling is generally used synonymously with water reclamation and water reuse.
Through the natural water cycle, the earth has recycled and reused water for millions of years. Water recycling, though, generally refers to projects that use technology to speed up these natural processes. Water recycling is often characterized as \"unplanned\" or \"planned.\" A common example of unplanned water recycling occurs when cities draw their water supplies from rivers, such as the Colorado River and the Mississippi River, that receive wastewater discharges upstream from those cities. Water from these rivers has been reused, treated, and piped into the water supply a number of times before the last downstream user withdraws the water. Planned projects are those that are developed with the goal of beneficially reusing a recycled water supply.
EPA regulates many aspects of wastewater treatment and drinking water quality, and the majority of states in the US have established criteria or guidelines for the beneficial use of recycled water. In addition EPA developed a technical document entitled Guidelines for Water Reuse (PDF) (28pp, 614K) About PDF) which contains a summary of state requirements, and guidelines for the treatment and uses of recycled water. State and Federal regulatory oversight has successfully provided a framework to ensure the safety of the many water recycling projects that have been developed in the United States.
Although most water recycling projects have been developed to meet nonpotable 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. For example, since 1976, the Water Factory 21 Direct Injection Project, located in Orange County, California, has been injecting highly treated recycled water into the aquifer to prevent salt water intrusion, while augmenting the potable ground water supply.
In addition to providing a dependable, locally-controlled water supply, water recycling provides tremendous environmental benefits. By providing an additional source of water, water recycling can help us find ways to decrease the diversion of water from sensitive ecosystems. Other benefits include decreasing wastewater discharges and reducing and preventing pollution. Recycled water can also be used to create or enhance wetlands and riparian habitats.
In some cases, the impetus for water recycling comes not from a water supply need, but from a need to eliminate or decrease wastewater discharge to the ocean, an estuary, or a stream. For example, high volumes of treated wastewater discharged from the San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant into the south San Francisco Bay threatened the area's natural salt water marsh. In response, a $140 million recycling project was completed in 1997. The South Bay Water Recycling Program has the capacity to provide 21 million gallons per day of recycled water for use in irrigation and industry. By avoiding the conversion of salt water marsh to brackish marsh, the habitat for two endangered species can be protected.
Water recycling has proven to be effective and successful in creating a new and reliable water supply without compromising public health. Nonpotable reuse is a widely accepted practice that will continue to grow. However, in many parts of the United States, the uses of recycled water are expanding in order to accommodate the needs of the environment and growing water supply demands. Advances in wastewater treatment technology and health studies of indirect potable reuse have led many to predict that planned indirect potable reuse will soon become more common. Recycling waste and gray water requires far less energy than treating salt water using a desalination system.
While water recycling is a sustainable approach and can be cost-effective in the long term, the treatment of wastewater for reuse and the installation of distribution systems at centralized facilities can be initially expensive compared to such water supply alternatives as imported water, ground water, or the use of gray water onsite from homes. Institutional barriers, as well as varying agency priorities and public misperception, can make it difficult to implement water recycling projects. Finally, early in the planning process, agencies must reach out to the public to address any concerns and to keep the public informed and involved in the planning process.
As water energy demands and environmental needs grow, water recycling will play a greater role in our overall water supply. By working together to overcome obstacles, water recycling, along with water conservation and efficiency, can help us to sustainably manage our vital water resources.
Most states have regulations governing water quality for water recycling of reclaimed water from centralized treatment facilities, but only about 30 of the 50 states have regulations pertaining to water recycling of gray water. The WateReuse Association has a detailed summary of state-by-state gray water regulations. A compendium of state regulations governing the reuse of reclaimed water is contained in Appendix A in the USEPA 2004 Guidelines for Water Reuse document (click on icon picture of front cover of this document at the beginning of this webpage to access the document online).
Through our collection companies, transfer stations, recycling centers and landfills, we focus on providing effective and reliable environmental services and solutions to make proper recycling and waste disposal effortless for our 14 million customers.
This special grant program offers funding to initiate or expand multifamily recycling programs within the state. Download the Multifamily Recycling Grant request for proposals: PDF or Word.
Eligible applicants include local governments, recycling businesses or non-profits, multifamily property owners, or multifamily property management companies. Grant funds may be used to purchase typical equipment needs to start or expand the collection of traditional household recyclables (paper, cardboard, metal cans, glass and plastic bottles and containers) from multifamily residences. Examples of eligible purchases include carts, dumpsters, collection vehicles, concrete pads, recycling corrals and education. Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis through February 16, 2023. For more information or assistance please contact Sandy Skolochenko at 919 707-8147.
The Recycling Business Assistance Center (RBAC) offers small grants to North Carolina recycling businesses. Requests for proposals are typically issued each fall, depending on funding availability, for projects to begin the following spring.
Projects involving the collection, processing or end use of materials in the solid waste stream are eligible for funding. Generally, the grant money is intended to fund sustainable investments in equipment and buildings necessary for increasing the capacity of a recycling business to divert more materials from disposal and into economic use. Grant money cannot be used to cover labor costs, general operational costs, or the cost of contract processing.
This special grant program provided funding for single stream material recovery facilities (MRFs) to purchase glass recycling equipment or for local governments to establish or expand community drop-off glass collection through the Glass Equipment and Infrastructure Grant program.
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Creators of the AMCS Platform: an enterprise grade cloud and software platform that is designed based on the best practice processes of thousands of customers with some of the most complex logistics operations in the world. Our platform is inspired by market trends, driving automation and delivering end-to-end standardization and optimization of all your business processes. We enable our clients across the globe to automate, de-carbonize and optimize the most challenging logistics across the waste and recycling, complex logistics and utilities