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Reclaimed Water

What Does Reclaimed Water Mean?

Reclaimed water is municipal wastewater that is treated so it can be put to beneficial use, but is not suitable for human consumption.

The threat of water scarcity and the need for water conservation has led the states of California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, and Nevada to reclaim wastewater. The availability of reclaimed water ensures that less of the supply of drinking water is used for purposes other than consumption, cooking, and hygiene.

Reclaimed water is also known as recycled water or re-purified water.

Safeopedia Explains Reclaimed Water

Reclaimed water is domestic sewage water that undergoes a series of mechanical, biological, and chemical processes to ensure it is safe for use or release into a natural body of water. While this water is still not fit for human consumption, it meets the standards needed to be used for water gardens, flushing toilets, and cleaning roads, among other things. This helps conserve freshwater resources that might otherwise be used for these purposes. It also reduces water pollution, as it is not discharged into rivers and other bodies of water.

The level of treatment used to reclaim wastewater depends on its exposure to the public during reuse.

Uses of Reclaimed Water

Some uses of reclaimed water include:

  • Watering golf courses and landscaping along public roads
  • As coolant in power-generation plants
  • Concrete mixing, soil compaction, and hydraulic fracturing
  • Irrigation of public parks, sporting facilities, gardens
  • Fire-fighting systems, vehicle washing, toilet flushing
  • Hydroponic and aquaculture
  • Dust control

Pipe Coloring for Reclaimed Water

Reclaimed water is not drinking water. To demarcate it from potable water supplies, which travels through blue-colored pipes, reclaimed water courses through purple pipelines.

Reclaimed Water Regulations

The use of reclaimed water in the U.S. is not directly governed by any federal standards. Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established comprehensive guidelines for water reuse, states are ultimately responsible for developing their own regulations.

Some states have incorporated water reuse into their current programs, while others have specific programs to address reuse. In either case, these programs must meet the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act.

Reclaimed water must not be confused with gray water, which is wastewater from bathroom sinks, tubs or washing machines. Gray water has some of the same uses as reclaimed water, such as watering lawns, but it is simply collected and does not undergo a treatment process.



Recycled Water, Re-purified Water

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