Friday, April 3, 2009

Wastewater Reuse

According to the National Environmental Services Center, wastewater reuse conserves highly treated, expensive drinking water, and reduces the release of nutrient-rich wastewater into environmentally stressed streams and rivers.

Wastewater reuse can be grouped into the following categories:

Urban reuse—the irrigation of public parks, school yards, highway medians, and residential landscapes, as well as for fire protection and toilet flushing in commercial and industrial buildings.

Agricultural reuse—irrigation of nonfood crops, such as fodder and fiber, commercial nurseries, and pasturelands. High-quality reclaimed water is used to irrigate food crops.

Recreational impoundments— such as ponds and lakes.

Environmental reuse— creating artificial wetlands, enhancing natural wetlands, and sustaining stream flows.

Industrial reuse—process or makeup water and cooling tower water.

The City of Ventura currently reuses wastewater from its treatment plant near the Santa Clara rivermouth for golf course irrigation. Initial studies commissioned by the city suggest that there is a limited market and lack of infrastructure to reclaim more of this effluent. We have commented that a truly integrated water management plan would reveal greater opportunity for wastewater reuse in Ventura. With some creative thinking, there may even be opportunities in Ojai, where two golf courses are currently irrigated with groundwater and treated drinking water.