New reclaimed water committee to ponder standards for water reuse
The Governor’s Water Augmentation Council has formed a reclaimed water committee to create standards for reusing wastewater.
The committee chairman will be John Kmiec, utilities director of Marana Water.
Chuck Graf, of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, said that Arizona water-treatment facilities produce some of the best-quality reclaimed water in the country.
As illustrated by Graf and others, the goal of “mixing” reclaimed water into the water supply doesn't mean the water must be drinkable. It has many other potential uses, such as for the production of recycled paper products or in semiconductor fabrication.
The push to reuse wastewater many times over raises questions, such as whether all treated water must be treated to reach drinking water standards.
"As we’ve evolved as society, we tend to take all the highest quality sources we can find and shove it all through highly technical water treatment plants,” Guy Carpenter, president of the National WateReuse Association, said. “We deliver all of that water for all of our uses. And it’s all drinking water quality, yet less than one percent of it is for drinking water. Most of it is for fire flows and filling swimming pools and irrigating our landscaping. It doesn’t need to be drinking-water quality to do that."