Potable reuse is the process of purifying wastewater so it can be reused in the drinking water system.
Yes. The water purification process employs advanced multi-barrier treatment technology. This separates pollutants from the water, purifying it to a level that fully complies with both federal and state drinking water standards. Like other drinking water supplies, it is rigorously tested and publicly reported.
Yes! Reuse occurs when wastewater has been discharged to rivers or lakes, then withdrawn, treated and distributed downstream. For instance, there are more than 300 wastewater outfalls on the Colorado River, a major source of drinking water for Southern California. In this situation, public health is protected through treatment required by the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act.
Planned potable reuse started in California in 1962 through groundwater recharge in Los Angeles County. The largest planned potable reuse project is in Orange County, where the water agency has been injecting purified wastewater into an aquifer for decades, then reusing it to serve millions of people each year. Anyone who’s visited Disneyland has drunk potable reuse water.
Potable reuse refers to purifying wastewater to be drinkable, while non-potable recycling refers to cleaning wastewater to a level acceptable for industrial and irrigation use. The decision on how best to recycle water depends on local infrastructure and the water demands of each agency.
By 2035, potable reuse projects are expected to produce approximately 110,000 acre-feet of water, enough to serve more than 220,000 typical homes. That’s enough water to meet about 16 percent of the forecasted demand in the San Diego region.
Potable reuse replaces water that would otherwise have been removed from lakes, rivers or aquifers, then transported — sometimes hundreds of miles – to local homes and businesses. Potable reuse reduces stress on our waterways, and it can reduce wastewater discharges to the ocean.
The State Water Resources Control Board currently regulates potable reuse projects on a case-by-case basis. It proposed general regulations for potable reuse through surface water augmentation in July 2017.