- Bulletin Board
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The 32-page NWRI White Paper, entitled “Regulatory Aspects of Direct Potable Reuse in
Direct potable reuse would provide water utilities with the opportunity to augment their current drinking water supplies (such as surface water, groundwater, or imported water) with a local, abundant, and reliable source of water.
To date, no regulations or criteria have been developed or proposed for direct potable reuse in
The only example of a direct potable reuse project is in water-scarce
As identified in the NWRI White Paper, the following key regulatory issues need to be resolved for direct potable reuse to be considered as a source of water supply:
- Clarify what constitutes direct potable reuse.
- Compensate for the loss of an environmental buffer (a natural water body, such as a lake or reservoir, that physically separates product water from a recycling water facility and the intake to a drinking water plant).
- Determine the number, type, and reliability of treatment processes necessary to serve as multiple barriers (which are incorporated into the design and operation of water recycling facilities to preclude the passage of microbial pathogens and harmful chemicals constituents into the water system).
- Determine if dilution (or, the blending of recycled water with non-recycled waters, such as surface water or imported water) will be required as an added safety factor.
- Determine what monitoring requirements will be needed to assess the efficiency of the treatment process in removing microbial pathogens and chemical constituents.
- Clarify the type and level of public health risk assessment needed (which may include evaluating the risk of treatment system failure and potential health risks due to such a failure).
- Determine if scientific peer review of direct potable reuse projects by expert advisory panels will be a requirement.
- Evaluate how existing drinking water statues, regulations, policies, and permitting processes may apply to direct potable reuse projects.
- Clarify the roles of regulatory agencies in providing oversight of direct potable reuse projects.
- Develop a communication system for the timely sharing of information between water utilities and regulatory agencies to avoid the distribution of unsafe water.
The NWRI White Paper was prepared by James Crook, Ph.D., P.E., an environmental engineer with more than 37 years of experience in state government and consulting, including directing the California Department of Public Health’s water reuse program for 15 years.