Using Indirect Potable Reuse to Provide New Water Supplies in Resource-Limited Regions

by James Lozier,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: WRPMD'99: Preparing for the 21st Century


(No paper) Historically, water resources needed for potable use have been derived from readily-accessible surface and groundwater supplies of freshwater origin because such supplies can be economically treated using conventional means. Increasing population, particularly in source-limited coastal and arid southwest areas, and declining availability of additional high quality supplies have forced an increasing number of utilities to seek alternative water resources to meet their needs. One such alternative, is indirect potable reuse (IPR), defined as the recovery of water from wastewater for its purposeful reintroduction into either a surface water or groundwater body that ultimately serves as a drinking water supply. In more than one instance, IPR has turned out to be an economically-viable and publicly-acceptable option for supplementing existing raw water supplies. This paper will describe the reasons for the growing importance of indirect potable reuse in water resource planning. The history of IPR will be briefly summarized and milestone projects that have paved the way for IPR's increasing acceptance as an alternative source of potable water by the water supply community and public will be documented. Regulatory considerations in IPR implementation will be reviewed and contrasted to those needed with treatment of conventional water sources, and the treatment techniques and monitoring requirements that must be applied to meet these regulations will be presented. A key consideration in the successful implementation of IPR is public acceptance as treatment, reclamation and reuse of sewage as a new drinking water supply presents unique problems, which will be briefly described. Finally, the economics of IPR will be presented for two cases to illustrate how its cost compares to more conventional water supply alternatives.

Subject Headings: Water resources | Water supply | Water treatment | Water reclamation | Economic factors | Drinking water | Drinking water treatment | Groundwater supply

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