RECYCLING SEWAGE EFFLUENT (WATER) BY LAW
WITH ASSOCIATED VIABLE, NONCULTURABLE BACTERIA, VIRUSES, ETC.,
PIPED INTO BUILDING COOLING SYSTEMS AS WELL AS IRRIGATION SYSTEMS
In a message dated 12/20/2006 10:42:06 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, BynJam writes:
In a message dated 12/20/2006 6:56:49 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, FPecar4525 writes:
There is a mandate that businesses consider maximizing opportunities for water reuse in irrigation, industrial
supply, cooling system, toilet flushing, etc. But California has a reasonable use doctrine that balances
reasonableness against beneficial uses.
This is starting to get very interesting. Since sewage effluent is used in building cooling systems, that
might explain the occasionally outbreak of legionnaires disease. Just as we have the occasionally outbreak
in produce from Salinas Valley. My, My, all these foodborne cases with no explanation.
If you recall, In my last California Progress Report article I cited supportive California legislation ( AB 371) that pushed
the plumbing issue and was recently signed by Arnold Swartzenegger .
That public agency involvement is not limited to the federal government. Governor Arnold Swartzenegger signed a new
bill into law on September 28, 2006 that seeks to increase the availability of recycled water by simplifying retrofit
projects. Assembly Bill 371 requires the Department of General Services and the California Department of
Transportation (Caltrans) to install piping appropriate for recycled water use in any of their landscape irrigation projects,
if they are notified by a recycled water producer that within 10 years recycled water will be provided for those projects.
The new law also requires the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to adopt and submit to the Building Standards
Commission a state version of Appendix J of the Uniform Plumbing Code. This will insure proper design standards to
safely plumb buildings for both potable and recycled water.
Oh my gosh, the law Arnold signed into law makes sure the plumbing is installed “safely” in California buildings? But
who is going to protect us from the E. coli 0157H:7 that this “recycled” water will contain that is running through those
safely installed pipes? Talk about focusing on the wrong problem or getting the cart before the horse! Arnold’s state
agencies are all concerned about piping when the material they’re “piping” has hazardous and deadly pathogens and
germs on their way to a location near you.
In a message dated 12/19/2006 6:40:10 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, [email protected] writes:
I wrote Senator Dianne Feinstein about the issues of reclaimed water and its potential involvement in the Salinas Valley
issues and asked that she cut out some staff time to discuss it. I got back an essentially boiler-plate letter thanking me
for my interest and her comment,--------that the EPA publishes guidelines for water reuse and the information can be
found on line at---and then she gives me the website. In other she either never read the letter or is ducking the issue---I
think both. What a lousy response from an elected official about such a critical issue. So much for the best senator that
money can buy. What a joke this US Congress is. It really does not make any difference whether the Republicans or the
Democrats are in, they all have their strings pulled by industry.
No cheers on this---------------------Edo
It is going to be a problem that many people in politics have "signed off" on the water recycling issue legislatively.
Feinstein is one of those I found who has specifically supported the federal government's involvement in endorsing
water recycling and the bills that enable the US Bureau of Reclamation as well as USDA to help finance these projects.
That is also why so many like Congressman Sam Farr spend so much energy trying to find excuses for this mess.
It would appear that 2003 was a "banner year" for the water recycle crowd.
Take a look at all the series of bad decisions and disinformation that was diseminated in order to get us here. People
like Richard Atwater and the WateReuse Association are the ones who should be held liable for all this mess.
"California has many different water needs and interest groups that advocate for them. We need ecological restoration
for our environment; we need recycling and desalination, water quality and conveyance for our cities, and we need
storage, both groundwater and surface, for our farms."
--- Senator Dianne Feinstein
House Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power
Water Supply and Reliability: The Role of Water Recycling
March 27, 2003
Betsy Cody, Specialist in Natural Resources, Congressional Research Service
Peggy Neely, Councilwoman, Phoenix, Arizona
General Eugene Habiger, USAF (Retired), President and CEO, San Antonio Water System
Joseph Grindstaff, General Manager, Santa Ana Watershed Project -- accompanied by Richard Atwater, CEO and
General Manager, Inland Empire Utilities Agency
Mike Gritzuk, First Vice President, WateReuse Association
Doug Scott, Director, U.S. Water/Sewer Group Coordinator, Fitch Ratings
The House Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power held a hearing on March 27, 2003 to examine water recycling
(i.e., the reclamation of wastewater from sanitary systems and surface runoff) as a way to ensure water supply, and to
examine the value of federal involvement in funding water projects. This hearing is the first in a series of hearings to
focus on water supply and reliability issues. Testimony was heard from analysts and industry representatives with
experience in water recycling projects. The entire panel agreed that water recycling is an important way to ensure water
supply and an important function of the Bureau of Reclamation (BuRec).
Ownership of recycled water was a reoccurring theme in the question and answer session. Mike Gritzuk, First Vice
President of WateReuse Association, commented that recycled water is owned by the entity that recycled it. Richard
Atwater, CEO and General Manager of Inland Utilities Agency, agreed with Gritzuk, but cautioned that ownership
questions become more complicated downstream.
General Eugene Habiger, President and CEO of the San Antonio Water System, said he believed recycled water should
belong to the rate payer because they ultimately fund the projects. Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) asked whether federal
government funding of BuRec projects inplies that recycled water belong to the federal government. Betsy Cody of the
Congressional Research Service replied that this was a complicated issue. She said BuRec defers to the state on water
ownership issues but often applies for water rights under state laws.
Rep. Rich Renzi (R-AZ) asked Habiger how San Antonio was able to decrease its water use by 33% while experiencing
an increase in population. Habiger replied that along with their water recycling program, the city implemented a water
conservation program by supporting low flow toilets and showers, educating children on water conservation, quickly
fixing leaking or broken pipes, and sharing ideas with other successful water reduction programs, such as those in Israel.
Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) voiced concern about how global warming might affect local water supplies, especially in areas
like Seattle that depend on snow pack for water storage. Atwater replied that Inslee's concerns were warranted because
less snow pack would prevent water reserves from filling. He further commented that another consequence of global
warming could be less predictable rainfall, which might also result in less water reserves in some areas. Atwater said
possible global warming effects illustrate the importance of water recycling.
Renzi asked the panel where they saw future advancements and breakthroughs in water recycling. Gritzuk answered
that treatment processes need to become more cost effective. Pearce asked what was done with the brine byproduct of
water recycling. Gritzuk said this was an area that definitely requires technological breakthroughs to allow for recycling
or reuse of the brine, but currently the brine is disposed of through dumping it into sewers, oceans, or large evaporation
Mr. Atwater also testified in support of HR 142, which is sponsored by Rep. Gary Miller (Diamond Bar), . The bill
authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to participate in the Inland Empire regional water recycling project, to carry out a
program to assist agencies in projects to construct regional brine lines in California, and to participate in the Lower
Chino Dairy Area desalination demonstration and reclamation project.
Rep. Miller said that his bill will help significantly enhance the region's water quality and safety. He also testified that HR
142 will result in several significant developments, such as: 1) it will provide southern California with 70,000 additional
acre feet of new water annually after the Inland Empire project is completed, 2) will provide a new drinking water supply
for increasing population in San Bernadino County by expanding groundwater desalination in the Chino Basin to 40,000
acre feet per year, and 3) will provide a means to safely and efficiently discard excess brine from desalinization plants.
Rep. Sanchez also spoke about her bill, HR 1156. The bill increases the ceiling on the federal share of the costs of
phase I of the Orange County Regional Water Reclamation Project. Noting that the project will deliver improved water
supply reliability, enhanced economic activity in the region, and improved protection of natural resources, Rep. Sanchez
said that the project provides an effective and efficient response to the region's problem of increasing water demand
and diminishing supply.
Water Recycling for Business Development
January 23, 1996, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Recycled Water Information Clearinghouse,
Central Basin Municipal Water District and West Basin Municipal Water District
in association with
The Southern California Council on Environment and Development (SCCED)
Introduction -- Ray Remy, President, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
We are pleased to be part of the Recycled Water Information Clearinghouse because it gives us a chance to be part of
solving a very important issue for business in our area -- sufficient supplies of reasonably priced water. We like the idea
of business, government and environmentalists sitting around the table to find common solutions. It seems hard to get
elected officials in Southern California interested in water issues, but in the Northern California, people are more
concerned about it.
The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce will continue to be very active in water issues, especially with the
involvement of both Dennis Paulson, the First Vice President, and Ron Lamb, the Vice President for Governmental
Water Supply and Demand for Economic Development -- Richard Atwater, West Basin MWD
All of us in the water supply business want to talk to you about how we can provide you better water at less cost, and
protect the environment at the same time -- and the secret is recycled water.
The West Basin and Central Basin MWDs have over 150 major business customers using recycled water, including
Exxon, LAX, golf courses, nurseries, as well using it for groundwater replenishment. We have taken advantage of the
construction of the Century freeway to put new pipes into the Downy Springs area, opening up the opportunity for many
more customers to use recycled water.
Water from Water, a new video by the National Water District Institute, which is funded by the Irvine Family to do
research on water issues, with emphasis on outreach.
The video says that only 1% of water is currently being actively recycled in the U.S., but every drop of water in nature is
recycled many times, in fact the total amount of water on earth never changes, only the distribution of it varies. Nature
uses rocks and sand in streams, and percolation through rock to clean water for us. In our plants we are just repeating
Water recycling has been used across the country for many years. For example, Clayton Georgia is using recycled
water to irrigate natural forests and other land.
Michael Cook, USEPA, has found recycled water is of very high quality. For example, the Upper Occupan Sewage
Treatment Authority provides a source of drinking water for parts of Virginia.
In Yuma, Arizona, the nation¹s largest recycling facility of runoff from agriculture, desalts the water and puts it into the
river for reuse. In heavy industry, Bethlehem Steel has been using treated sewage water since 1942.
In the Irvine Ranch Water District the reclamation system makes water available for landscaping. Using a drip irrigation
system eliminates evaporation and runoff, and a subsurface irrigation eliminates a muddy soccer field.
The challenge is the public¹s perception, but as our population grows, we have to balance the agriculture and municipal
uses of water. We know the public will have confidence as long as the treatment plants are functioning well.
State Policies and Support for Water Recycling -- Mike Hoover, HYA Associates
The State of California recognizes water recycling as a win-win opportunity, so it is popular topic, with a number of bills
proposed every session. People recognize the state will be short of water, by perhaps 3 - 5 million acre-feet per year
(AFY) in next 20 years.
There is a California action plan for water recycling. I have put together the 90 California statues on water recycling. The
California Water Reclamation Act of 1991 set goals of recycling 700,000 AFY by 2000 and 1 million AFY by 2010, but
more is needed. The Urban Water Management Act says that planning to consider recycling water is required for all new
construction, but actual usage is not. Another act ensures that industries using recycled water receive relief on water
and sewage bills. There is a mandate that businesses consider maximizing opportunities for water reuse in irrigation,
industrial supply, cooling system, toilet flushing, etc. But California has a reasonable use doctrine that balances
reasonableness against beneficial uses.
Who Uses Recycled Water Now?-- Tom Holliman, Long Beach Water Department
Use of reclaimed water is increasing across the state. In 1989, it was 150,000 AFY, by the year 2000, we estimate at
least 1 million AFY, and by 2010, over 1.4 million AFY.
Statewide, 53% of recycled water goes to agriculture, 21% to ground water recharge, 17% for landscapes, and only 2%
to business. Since recycled water is less costly, L.A. is showing big increases in business use of reclaimed water. We
are aiming to reduce the price of recycled water to 48% of potable water. Remember that so far 1995-96 is in a drought
rainfall pattern, but the supply of recycled water is always reliable.
What Current Users Say about Recycled Water
-- Chris Spurrell, Chevron El Segundo Refinery
We process more water than oil in our refinery. We built it on the coast to use sea water for cooling water, but we have
found recycled water works better in many of our cooling applications. Right now we¹re using 10,000 gallons per minute
(gpm) (14 million gallons per day), allowing 4,000 gpm to evaporate.
We¹ve found the recycled water has just a little more phosphate than drinking water, but by adding chemicals to reduce
scale, we are reusing it five cycles before flushing. The bottom line is we are actually getting better performance than
from drinking water, and it is cheaper. So we¹re bringing recycled water on for the rest of the refinery.
-- Chuck Jones, Tuftex Industries, Santa Fe Springs
We make carpets for businesses and homes. We use a million gallons a day to carry the dye as we color the carpet,
using 20 pounds of water for every pound of carpet. We need to control the chemicals in the water for the dye to work
well. At first we found the reclaimed water had a rotten egg odor, and without the chlorine in it, we got bacteria growth in
our tanks. With a lot of work to get the pH where we want it, now it works well.
Before using recycled water, our re-dye jobs were 7% of production. Now they are half of that, now down to 3% (much
lower than any other factory in the business), because our water is more stable. It is costing us less money to buffer it
than before, and the cost of the water is less, so we are pleased.
Cost Savings and Benefits of Recycled Water -- Jim Graham, Las Virgenes MWD
We are recycling over 3,000 AFY for landscape irrigation purposes. Our Board of Directors is pricing reclaimed water at
75% of the cost of potable. It is a drought-proof supply -- there are no drought restrictions placed on use of reclaimed
The plant nutrients in the recycled water have enabled our customers to eliminate the use of lawn fertilizers, and they
save on their sewage charges.
The only expense is the plumbing conversion (it would be best if installation was done at the beginning), but the
expense is recouped in a short time. Since schools have no capital funds available, we developed a painless conversion
financing, in which they would pay potable water rates until they paid back our loan. The $30,000 was recouped in less
than 3 years. We have recycling very successful, the community has embraced it whole-heartedly.
What Does It Take To Go From Potable to Recycled? -- Earle Hartling, Recycling Coordinator, L.A. County Sanitation
All water on the planet has been reused many times (as someone said, we all are drinking dinosaur pee). Our agency
collects and treats waste water and provides a very clean reusable source of water. We are pleased that SCCED has
helped to get the business community on board in support of recycled water.
One of the main reasons for reusing reclaimed water is that, if there is a water shortage, recycled water is dependable.
In fact, the cost of water is not as important as reliability of water supply for most businesses, such as refineries,
concrete manufacturers, golf courses, cemeteries, etc.
The County Sanitation District has 10 reclamation plants capable of providing over 200 million gallons per day. Our
intent is to divert any additional increased flow since 1962 to reclamation facilities. We manufacture reclaimed water and
provide it to the water purveyors to get it to your door. They build another infrastructure, with pipes and pumps, coded
with the purple pipe color. The water is actually drinking water quality but the State does not allow it to be mixed with
potable water, they put in back check valves, etc. You don¹t have to say the water is dangerous, you just have to say
³Don¹t drink this water,² and mark the pipes in purple.
Recycled water distribution lines are expanding and the cost is lowering. Cost savings vary from 28% to 80% of the cost
Questions and Answers -- Adán Ortega, Central Basin MWD
Q: What is the Recycled Water Information Clearinghouse?
A. The Clearinghouse was established in 1994 to inform business and the community about the issue. The Chamber
has prepared a position paper on water, including recycled water. We want to outreach to business, to hold seminars
across the 5 county region.
Q: Can recycled water be used around homes?
A. Yes, it can be used in greenbelt areas around homes, Las Virgenes has one home irrigated with reclaimed water.
Some home owners associations use it to water lawns, but California Health authorities does not want it readily available
to the average home owner because of concern he might get the pipes mixed up. In Florida and other areas it is used
for yards and for toilets.
Q: Will recycled water be available in Wilmington?
A: Yes, soon.
Q. Are there any cost savings for recycling water back into the system?
A: Sewage treatment cost is the same to us, but if we can use smaller diameter sewer lines, that saves money.
Sacramento is discharging secondary treated effluent into the Sacramento river which is reused by other cities. Whittier
Narrows is using it for recharging groundwater, which is then used for drinking supplies. Someone has calculated that
New Orleans water has gone through 5 people before they pump it from the Mississippi for their water supply.
Q: What about health risks?
A: California drinking water supplies are not as heavily regulated as is recycled water -- it is very healthy. San Diego is
starting building a plant to use tertiary-treated effluent for direct injection into the potable supply.
Q: What about life expectancy of a plant using recycled water?
A: At the Chevron refinery, depending on the equipment, if we get 15-20 years life we are happy. In the refinery, we
accept a 6 year life in some equipment. We are finding the pH holds at 7.2-7.6 and that gives us good equipment life.
We are looking forward to increasing to all eight cooling towers.
Similarly, Mr. Bilodeau testified in support of HR 1156, and stated that the Groundwater Replenishment System project
in question will create 72,000 acre-feet of new water supplies for residents and businesses in Orange County, or
114,000 families each year after its completion in Spring of 2007. He noted that this project enjoys strong support in
Orange County from medical, health, community, business, agriculture, media, and environmental organizations.