The need for more efficient use of water from all of its sources has become axiomatic, and it is a critical issue in many water-short areas. Wastewater is a valuable commodity that can be processed, and its components can be completely reused for a variety of purposes including as a source of highly treated water for human consumption (Cotruvo, 2012).
Indirect potable reuse (IPR) implies that reclaimed water is returned to the environment before being sourced for water supply. Direct potable reuse (DPR) involves the delivery of highly treated reclaimed water (with or without retention in an engineered storage buffer) to a drinking water plant or distribution system. Unplanned de facto IPR has been common practice for many years, as in discharge of treated or untreated wastewater to a water course upstream from a drinking water plant intake. Planned IPR and DPR are quickly becoming viable and possibly necessary options for many areas where water availability is turning into a critical need. Numerous states and some countries are engaged in projects producing drinking water via DPR or IPR technologies (Crook et al, 2005). The rapid advances in process technologies and monitoring techniques have made these reuse technologies plausible and safe options, and have demonstrated the capability to produce water of higher quality than many typical drinking water supplies. There is, however, a gap in the availability of guidance and benchmarks that can be used by planners, designers, operators, and regulatory decision-makers to help them make wise choices and implement the appropriate technologies to ensure safe, economical, and sustainable reclaimed water systems.
In the United States, the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act regulate sourcewaters and drinking waters. Thousands of water suppliers provide drinking water by de facto IPR from sourcewaters with upstream wastewater discharges. They are successfully managed in the United States by reasonably comprehensive drinking water standards that include filtration and disinfection treatment requirements and Maximum Contaminant Levels for almost 100 organic and inorganic chemicals, microbials, and radionuclides, and more than 500 drinking water health advisories.
However, advanced treatment systems in planned IPR or DPR projects receive greater scrutiny than de facto
The authors believe that detailed, comprehensive criteria are needed for decision-makers to ensure confidence in the quality and safety of reclaimed water for potable applications. National water reuse regulations are not being developed. State regulators often must operatewith some level of isolation and make major decisions without direct guidance from national regulatory authorities. This could lead to decisions that are not representative of the state of the art or that have excessive redundancies that can impede the implementation of essential projects and cause unnecessarily high costs and delays. On the other hand, some choices might not require adequate multibarrier treatment, redundancies, process monitoring, operator training, or other elements necessary to ensure protection of public health.
The WateReuse Association has undertaken a process for developing consensus guidelines for IPR and DPR. It defined DPR as a practice that does not include an environmental buffer in the treatment train, and it defined IPR as a practice that includes an environmental buffer (such as a reservoir, aquifer, wetlands, or river) in the treatment train. Several large-scale, planned IPR projects have been in operation for many years, typically providing treated water for soil aquifer treatment and aquifer recharge, or using wetlands to enhance the quality of treated effluent before use as a drinking water supply. Planned potable reuse projects receive greater scrutiny because of concerns about the variability and not completely controlled composition of wastewater sources. Of particular concern are sourcewater pathogen concentrations, and trace chemicals are of possible concern, including those in pharmaceuticals and personal care products, endocrine-active chemicals, industrial chemicals, and others, depending on the source and the level of wastewater treatment being provided.
The public and some regulators are naturally skeptical about potable reuse when they do not have complete
SURVEY ON THE STATUS OF THE REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR POTABLE REUSE
A survey was conducted with the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators to obtain feedback on
The primary drivers for potable reuse included water quantity and quality, environmental concerns, and statutory requirements for sustainability and economic development, for reducing effluent discharges, and that
The lack of activity in some states may be because of either a sense that they have adequate drinking water
Among the procedural operational issues, those states that were developing frameworks to support potablereuse strategies—e.g., California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas—indicated that piloting or other demonstration projects would be required. Virginia and Arizona indicated that strategies would be determined on a case-bycase basis. Appreciation is growing for the capabilities of technological strategies that have been successfully applied in several long-standing water reuse applications. Some of these are considered high tech (e.g., reverse osmosis or advanced oxidation), but more traditional technologies such as land application (including wetlands) and soil aquifer treatment are also successful components of multibarrier-reuse treatment trains. The authors suspect that piloting will almost always be necessary
Regarding obtaining external technical support for potable reuse projects, Arizona, California, Georgia, and
Finally, educating decision-makers and the public about the safety and high quality of product water and
In the near term, the likelihood of specific federal regulations or guidelines is small. The WateReuse