Population growth, urbanization and industrialization have driven the need to address the field of reuse and increase its application both in the United States and around the world.
Amidst growing water scarcity, and concern about the future availability of water, a new GE survey shows increased support for reusing water to help the United States drive economic competitiveness and protect the environment.
General Accounting Office predicts that 36 states face water shortages in the coming year. However, water reclamation and reuse standards in the United States are currently the responsibility of state and local agencies, with no federal regulations for reuse. Recognizing the need to provide national guidance on water reuse the EPA has developed guidelines in support of appropriate water quality, uses, and regulatory requirements for development of reclaimed water systems for the benefit of utilities and regulatory agencies. The 2012 updates to the “Guidelines for Water Reuse” have thus been updated to address new applications and advances in technology.
Technologies today are advanced enough to treat wastewater to the water quality required for their intended use. This concept of “fit for purpose” is highlighted in the EPA Guidelines to emphasize the efficiencies realized by designing reuse for specific end applications. There is widespread support for using recycled water for activities that require significant amounts of non-potable water, such as agricultural irrigation, power generation, landscaping, industrial processing and manufacturing, toilet flushing, and car washing. These guidelines therefore provide useful information to engineers and others involved in the evaluation, planning, design, operation, or management of water reclamation and reuse facilities.