Barriers to direct water reuse identified in California

Gaps and existing barriers in the development of direct potable reuse regulations in California are identified in a new workshop report prepared by three US institutions.

The Direct Potable Reuse Workshop Report has been prepared by the California Urban Water Agencies, the National Water Research Institute (NWRI) and the WateReuse Association California Section. It arises from a two-day “Direct Potable Reuse” workshop on 26-27 April 2010, in Sacramento, California, which included over 60 representatives with various technical, scientific, policy, and social science backgrounds from regulatory, academia, environmental, and water and wastewater industries.

The following issues – and possible strategies to address them – were summarized in the workshop report:

  • Public acceptance.
  • Communication between agencies in the water supply chain and between agencies and the public/customers.
  • Microbial and chemical constituents of concern.
  • Effectiveness and reliability of treatment unit processes.
  • Multiple barriers of protection.
  • Monitoring needs (treatment processes and product water).
  • Use of indicators/surrogates for both microbial and chemical constituents.
  • Redundancy in treatment.
  • Management and operational controls.
  • Permitting issues.
  • Information provided in the workshop report is expected to help support the needs of water, wastewater and recycled water agencies in long-term planning and in prioritizing research-related activities.

    The workshop sponsors also intend to use the workshop report as a basis for a work plan to conduct the studies and research needed to: (1) support an evaluation of whether developing direct potable reuse regulations is appropriate; and (2) support the development of any regulations.

    The “Direct Potable Reuse Workshop Report” is available to download from NWRI.