Reuse Rules

by Herman Bouwer, (M.ASCE), Chief Engr.; USDA, U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory, Phoenix, AZ,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1992, Vol. 62, Issue 7, Pg. 72-75

Document Type: Feature article


Cities that discharge sewage effluent to surface water are under increasing pressure to reduce concentrations of heavy metals, ammonium and nitrate, and substances such as toxic organic compounds in their wastewater in order to better protect aquatic life and the public health in cities that use downstream water for drinking. Providing this treatment is costly, and that's making it harder and harder for municipalities to justify wasting their wastewater�especially in fast-growing areas where drinking water supplies may be reaching their limits. These factors are prompting municipalities to look into zero discharge and complete reuse of wastewater as a less expensive way to protect the quality of streams and lakes, while conserving valuable water resources. The article describes the two main sets of standards for unrestricted irrigation of crops consumed raw and most urban uses, treatment requirements for potable use, and available technologies for reuse, including direct pipe-to-pipe systems, well injection and ground water recharge systems, now known as soil aquifer treatment systems.

Subject Headings: Municipal water | Water discharge | Municipal wastewater | Urban areas | Soil treatment | Irrigation systems | Water resources

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