Reuse demonstration project at @DenverWater’s recycling plant

Denver Water’s Recycled Water Treatment Plant and Distribution System opened in 2004

From The Denver Business Journal (Cathy Proctor):

Colorado’s next big source of drinking water may be recycling and reusing what customers flush down the drain.

That’s the idea behind a cutting-edge demonstration project set up at Denver Water’s recycling plant on York Street in north Denver.

A group of engineering companies and water policy groups set up the project, which has been running since January, to show that metro-area water that normally would be treated and sent down the South Platte River could be captured and cleaned to the point where it’s safe to drink…

Some of Colorado’s water providers have recycled water for reuse — mostly for irrigation purposes — for more than 50 years, said Laura Belanger, a water engineer with Boulder-based Western Resource Advocates, a policy group.

But the demonstration project takes the recycling to the next step — treating water via a five-step process to a level where it’s safe to drink.

The equipment, which can treat up to 15 gallons per minute, mimics nature’s water-cleaning ability but does it much, much faster. A gallon can pass through the system in less than 30 minutes, said Austa Parker, a water reuse technologist with Carollo.

Water that’s passed through the Metro Waste Water treatment plant and destined for the South Platte River is passed through the system.

The system involves using ozone, filters and microfilters that are 100 narrower than a human hair. Activated charcoal and ultraviolet light also are part of the process at the demonstration plant…

The demonstration system is unique in that it doesn’t produce an extremely salty brine that requires its own disposal process, she said.

Interest in recycling water and using it inside homes is growing across Colorado, Belanger said.

The Colorado Water Plan, adopted in 2015, called for recycling more water.

And a group of utilities, state health officials and water recycling enthusiasts are exploring issues around using and drinking recycled water with an eye toward crafting new state-level regulations, Belanger said.

The cost of building and equipping such a treatment plant depends on many variables, including the quality of the source water and the type of treatment it needs, she said.

But a recycling plant is cost-competitive when compared to the costs of obtaining and transporting new water supplies, she said.

From Business Wire:

Xylem Inc. (NYSE: XYL) has been engaged as a water technology solutions provider to the PureWater Colorado Demonstration Project, which aims to demonstrate direct potable reuse (DPR) as a safe, reliable and sustainable drinking water source. Denver Water has partnered with Carollo Engineers, WateReuse Colorado (WRCO) and Xylem on the project which is located at the Denver Water Recycling Plant and will run during the month of April this year. Some of the water produced will be used to brew beer to raise awareness among the general public about this water purification process.

Water reuse is part of Colorado’s Water Plan to reduce the amount of water diverted from rivers and streams, creating a sustainable, efficient way to extend the state’s water supplies.

Steve Green, Business Development Manager, Xylem said, “We are very excited to be part of this forward-looking, important project that aims to promote a sustainable, reliable and safe drinking water treatment process. It is crucial that we implement sustainable solutions, like water reuse, to meet future water needs. We hope that this demonstration will help to raise awareness and understanding among the local population and community leaders about how DPR can help to provide for their water needs now and in the future.”

A range of Xylem’s solutions including a Wedeco MiPRO advanced oxidation process (AOP) pilot system and a Leopold granulated activated carbon (GAC) filter pilot will be used in the project which features a unique treatment train that avoids the use of reverse-osmosis (RO) membranes and their associated high capital and operating costs as well as brine disposal.

John Rehring, Vice President, Carollo Engineers said, “As national leaders in water reuse, we were happy to partner with Xylem to demonstrate the use of advanced technologies – an extension of our efforts to develop a regulatory framework, and public outreach activities specific to Colorado.”

Xylem is a frontrunner in the field of water reuse technology, providing advanced solutions and expertise to reuse applications across the US, as well as globally. In California for example, Xylem’s Wedeco MiPRO advanced oxidation processes (AOP) is operating at Los Angeles Sanitation’s Terminal Island Water Reclamation Plant. The customized solution is the first greenfield AOP design using ultraviolet light with chlorine – a significant innovation to make water reuse more sustainable and cost-effective.

Last year Xylem signed a multi-year commitment (2017-2019) to support Water Environment Research Foundation (WE&RF) research into water reuse, building on a previous three-year research partnership and solidifying Xylem’s commitment to advancing the use of recycled water. Internationally, Xylem works together with the IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute and the Singapore Public Utilities Board (PUB) to progress water reuse.

@UCLA: 100% local water possible for Los Angeles by 2050 #ColoradoRiver #COriver

Map of the Los Angeles River watershed via Wikimedia.

Here’s the abstract for the recently released study:

This report assesses the potential to improve water quality standards while integrating complementary One Water Management practices that can increase potential local water supplies for the City of Los Angeles (the City). This final report summarizes the current practices and future opportunities at the City-owned Water Reclamation Plants and underlying groundwater basins and highlights the importance of considering all aspects of integrated water management even when dealing with water quality or supply-focused projects.

Implementing watershed-scale best management practice programs to meet stormwater permit requirements will significantly improve water quality in all watersheds. However, additional mechanisms such as increasing Low Impact Development implementation and comprehensive source tracking and source control mechanisms will be required to potentially eliminate water quality exceedances. There are multiple efforts occurring in the City and the region to increase the recharge of recycled water into the ground and the volumes of remediated groundwater extracted.

This research further assessed the impacts of potential water supply portfolios, with greater volumes of locally-supplied water, on GHG emissions and energy needs of supplying LA’s water. Conservation will be another powerful tool to decrease our dependence on imported water. This research demonstrates the complex interrelationships between all aspects of urban water management, including, for example, stormwater management and local water supply.

Pitkin County embraces reuse of household graywater — @AspenJournalism

From Aspen Journalism (Brent Gardner-Smith) via the The Aspen Times:

Pitkin County is now the second county in Colorado that can issue permits for graywater systems that allow some household water to be reused to irrigate lawns and flush toilets.

Graywater is defined by both the county and the state as water coming from bathtubs, showers, bathroom sinks and washing machines. It does not include water from toilets, urinals, kitchen sinks, dishwashers or non-laundry utility sinks, which is often called blackwater.

The city and county of Denver was the first to adopt a similar permitting process in 2016, and did so after the state approved guiding regulations in 2015. The Pitkin County commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance last week that sets up the county’s permitting process, which is voluntary.

The city of Aspen also is considering adopting a graywater permitting system to complement its recently adopted water-efficient landscaping regulations.

Kurt Dahl, the county’s environmental health manager, said a 1999 statewide study found that typical indoor residential uses amounted to 69 gallons of water per person per day, and of that 28 gallons is graywater as defined by the state.

Graywater systems work by diverting household water away from its normal course — toward septic tanks and sewage systems — and into another set of pipes and storage tanks, where it sits until it is reused.

If the water is used for irrigation, the water must be filtered before storage and then, optimally, pumped out into a subsurface drip irrigation system. It cannot be applied via sprinklers.

If graywater is used to flush toilets, it must be disinfected and dyed before being sent to a toilet.

Single-family households can store up to 400 gallons of water a day in a tank for either irrigation or toilet flushing, and multi-family and commercial entities can store up to 2,000 gallons a day.

Graywater systems require double-piping of plumbing systems, which can be expensive to install in existing homes, and so may be better suited, at least economically, to new construction projects.

Brett Icenogle, the engineering section manager at the Colorado Department of Public Health, said Friday he was happy to see Pitkin County adopt a graywater permitting process, and he hopes other jurisdictions follow suit, even if current public demand seems low today.

“We don’t want to wait until there is a water shortage to put regulations in place,” Icenogle said.

The local permitting process begins with the county’s environmental health department, and also requires plumbing and building permits. If used for irrigation, it may also require a state water right.

Dahl served on a group that developed the state’s regulations, and he’d like to see other uses added to the state’s list, such as fire suppression.

“I want to get this to the point where using graywater is an option for everyone,” Dahl said.

Aspen Journalism is collaborating with The Aspen Times on coverage or rivers and water. More at http://www.aspenjournalism.org.

Commentary: Cape Town Is Running out of Water. Could More Cities Be Next? — @PeterGleick

Water reuse via GlobalWarming.com.

From Fortune (Peter Gleick):

After more than three years of severe drought, Cape Town, a city of nearly 4 million people, is running out of water. “Day Zero”—the day city officials estimate the water system will be unable to provide drinking water for the taps—is less than three months away, and substantial rains are not expected before then.

In response, city managers have imposed a series of increasingly severe water-use restrictions to cut demand and are working to find emergency sources of supply, but it is difficult to see how a cutoff can be avoided. People will not die of thirst: Emergency water will be brought in for basic needs. But the social, economic, and political disruptions caused by a water cutoff will be unprecedented.

Cape Town is not alone. California, São Paulo, Australia, the eastern Mediterranean, and other regions have all recently suffered through severe droughts and water crises.

Short-term droughts and water shortages aren’t new. Under normal circumstances, cities can respond by temporarily cutting water waste. But circumstances aren’t normal anymore. More and more major cities will face their own Day Zero unless we fundamentally change the way water is managed and used.

The growing water crisis is the result of three factors. First, more and more regions of the world are reaching “peak water” limits, where all accessible, renewable water has been spoken for and no traditional new supplies are available. Second, urban populations and economies are expanding rapidly, putting additional pressures on limited water supplies and increasing competition with agricultural water users. And third, the very climate of the planet is changing because of human activities such as burning fossil fuels, affecting all aspects of our water systems, including the demand for water and the frequency and intensity of extreme events like floods and droughts.

Where these three factors combine, urban water crises explode.

The good news is that there are two key solutions to making our cities more resilient to water crises and disruptions: Reduce water demand and find new non-traditional sources of water supply.

Reducing demand means improving the efficiency of water use and changing water-using behaviors to reduce immediate needs. The first option includes installing efficient irrigation technology, replacing inefficient toilets, showerheads, washing machines, and dishwashers, and eliminating leaks. The second option includes cutting outdoor landscape water use and replacing water-intensive gardens, taking shorter showers, flushing toilets less often, and eliminating luxury water uses like private swimming pools.

The potential for these two approaches to reduce demand is enormous. During the severe drought in Australia from 2000 to 2009, urban water efficiency measures saved more water at lower cost and greater speed than traditional supply options, like tapping rivers and groundwater. During the drought, water demand dropped 60% in South East Queensland through a combination of investments in water efficiency programs and restrictions on outdoor water use. California urban water use was cut by over 25% during the 2012-2016 drought through similar indoor and outdoor efficiency programs, and there is much potential for even greater savings.

There are new supply options available too, even in regions where traditional sources are tapped out. South Africa has long pioneered the restoration of watersheds by removing invasive species like blue gum, wattles, and the vine kudzu, and increasing water flows in rivers. Artificially enhancing groundwater replenishment can increase the storage of water far more effectively than building new surface reservoirs. Wastewater treatment and reuse turns what used to be considered a liability into a valuable resource.

Cape Town currently only treats and reuses 5% of its wastewater—up until now they haven’t thought they had the need—and could greatly expand treatment and reuse. Just next door to South Africa in Namibia, the city of Windhoek has been reusing treated wastewater for decades. About 40% of Singapore’s total water demand is now being met with high-quality treated wastewater. California currently reuses about 15% of its wastewater and has the potential to greatly expand reuse in coming years. And when less costly options have been exhausted, seawater desalination offers a way to provide drought-proof supply.

It will rain again in Cape Town, and the emergency responses implemented over the next few months will be relaxed. But water problems are not going to disappear until we consistently and comprehensively change the way we think about and manage water. Peak water limits will be felt in more and more regions as traditional sources of water are tapped out. Urban areas will continue to expand. Global climate changes will accelerate and worsen, especially if we delay the transition to clean energy. The sooner we accept these facts, the sooner every city can move to manage water in a more sustainable fashion, postponing or even eliminating the risk of their own Day Zero.

#CA: Urban designers are incorporating #reuse into building design

Water reuse via GlobalWarming.com.

From Water Deeply (Tara Lohan):

San Francisco is helping to grow adoption of onsite nonpotable water reuse systems by requiring them in large new buildings. Now there is interest in a statewide regulation to streamline permitting while ensuring health and safety.

IN DOWNTOWN SAN Francisco, a mixed-use 800ft tower nearing completion at 181 Fremont St. features a water treatment system that will provide 5,000 gallons a day of recycled water captured from the building to be used for toilet flushing and irrigation. That will help save an estimated 1.3 million gallons of potable water a year.

Just down the street, the recently expanded Moscone Conference Center has installed a system to collect and treat foundation drainage, otherwise known as “nuisance groundwater,” that will be used for toilet flushing and irrigation as well by the city’s Department of Public Works for street cleaning.

Both buildings are among 82 proposed or completed projects in San Francisco that are using decentralized, onsite water-recycling systems to capture and reuse water that would otherwise flow down the drain or run off rooftops to city sewers or into the San Francisco Bay. The treated water that’s captured isn’t used for drinking, but for nonpotable purposes such as flushing toilets and urinals, irrigating landscapes, supplying cooling systems and even generating steam power. In commercial buildings, about 95 percent of water used is generally for nonpotable purposes. In multifamily residential buildings, it’s 50 percent.

As interest in recycled water grows in California and across the United States, more building professionals are considering these decentralized systems. Up until now, a lack of health and safety regulations at the national and state levels has made the permitting process tricky and slow going. But bottom-up pressure may help create needed regulations…

This process would be easier for communities if there were established health and safety standards from the state for onsite nonpotable reuse, but so far they’re lacking.

“We think that from our perspective, if there is clear guidance and regulations that the state establishes, it would make it easier for communities that want to pursue local programs to oversee and manage decentralized water systems,” said Kyle Pickett, managing principal at Urban Fabrick.

Those regulations could be on the way, but how long it will take is unclear…

While there are no national or state regulations for onsite nonpotable reuse yet, there is a growing community of professionals sharing resources and expertise. SFPUC’s Kehoe chairs a National Blue Ribbon Commission for Onsite Nonpotable Water Systems, which recently produced a guidebook on water quality standards and management of onsite reuse systems. The commission was established by the U.S. Water Alliance, and it convenes more than 30 water and health professionals from across the country…

Other efforts are underway, too. Urban Fabrick’s nonprofit arm, the William J. Worthen Foundation, will be releasing a practice guide on January 19 aimed at giving design professionals information about onsite reuse…

“We don’t do nearly enough water recycling in California, honestly, it’s embarrassing how far behind we are compared to Australia, Israel and other places with very arid environments,” said Wiener. “We have a long-term structural water shortage and we need to modernize our water system and drag it out of the 1850s. Water recycling is a critical aspect of modernizing our water system.”

@ColoradoStateU: New report details innovations in water reuse

From Colorado State University (Anne Manning):

In drought-prone states like California, Colorado and others, every drop of water is precious. A newly published national report provides comprehensive guidelines for innovative water-saving techniques, with Colorado State University expertise playing a key role.

Sybil Sharvelle, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University, September 10, 2015

Sybil Sharvelle, associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and co-leader of CSU’s One Water Solutions Institute, recently chaired a national committee of experts who wrote the new guidelines. They call for safe, cost-effective expansion of water reuse systems in commercial and multi-residential buildings, as well as municipal districts.

The new “Risk-Based Framework for the Development of Public Health Guidance for Decentralized Non-Potable Water Systems” outlines how to design reliable, efficient and safe building-scale water reuse systems. Such systems aren’t yet widespread, and thanks to the committee’s efforts, municipalities now have guidance to provide developers with regulations, and a consistent approach to projects. A non-potable water program was pioneered in the City of San Francisco several years ago, with a handful of projects coming online in recent years.

Recycled water for non-potable uses

Decentralized non-potable water systems use various local water sources and extend to the building, neighborhood or district scale. The report focused on these complex, multi-use systems that go beyond the single residential scale, Sharvelle explained.

The water systems can use graywater, blackwater, wastewater, roof runoff or stormwater that is collected onsite. This water can then be used for non-potable applications like flushing toilets, running laundry machines or irrigation.

“These systems are up and coming,” Sharvelle said. “More and more developers are wanting to do them, and systems have popped up here and there, but everything to date has been case by case.”

Sharvelle, who previously served on a National Research Council panel providing analysis of stormwater and graywater for recycling, chaired the national committee, funded by the Water Environment and Reuse Foundation. The committee created guidelines for protecting public health as decentralized non-potable water systems come online. The guidelines included a microbial risk assessment to determine pathogen reduction targets that was based on new U.S. EPA research.

“The critical thing here is that developers are wanting to build buildings that are off-the-grid with efficient and sustainable use of resources,” Sharvelle said. “And aside from that, there is the benefit of reduced water use in buildings. Water savings of around 50 percent are easily achieved through these systems. It’s a great way to diversify the portfolio of water sources in a city, in a way that’s not infrastructure-intensive for utilities.”

CSU’s interdisciplinary One Water Solutions Institute connects CSU expertise and research to the most pressing water challenges of today.

Secretary Zinke Announces $23.6 Million for Water Reclamation and Reuse Projects and Studies

Water reuse via GlobalWarming.com.

Here’s the release from the US Bureau of Reclamation (Peter Soeth):

Bureau of Reclamation Funding Goes to Six Authorized Projects, Thirteen Feasibility Studies and Four Research Studies in California, Kansas, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Washington

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced that the Bureau of Reclamation awarded $23,619,391 to communities in seven states for planning, designing and constructing water recycling and re-use projects; developing feasibility studies; and researching desalination and water recycling projects. The funding is part of the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse program.

“This funding provides essential tools for stretching limited water supplies by helping communities reclaim and reuse wastewater and impaired ground or surface waters,” said Secretary Zinke. “These tools are just part of the toolkit for bridging the gap between water supply and demand and thus making water supplies more drought-resistant. In addition to this funding, Reclamation is actively supporting state and local partners in their efforts to boost water storage capacity. ”

Title XVI Authorized Projects are authorized by Congress and receive funding for planning, design and/or construction activities on a project-specific basis. Six projects will receive $20,980,129. They are:

  • City of Pasadena Water and Power Department (California), Pasadena Non-Potable Water Project, Phase I, $2,000,000
  • City of San Diego (California), San Diego Area Water Reclamation Program, $4,200,000
  • Hi-Desert Water District (California), Hi-Desert District Wastewater Reclamation Project, $4,000,000
  • Inland Empire Utilities Agency (California), Lower Chino Dairy Area Desalination and Reclamation Project, $5,199,536
  • Padre Dam Municipal Water District (California), San Diego Area Water Reclamation Program, $3,900,000
  • Santa Clara Valley Water District (California), South Santa Clara County Recycled Water Project, $1,680,593
  • Title XVI Feasibility Studies are for entities that would like to develop new water reclamation and reuse feasibility studies. Thirteen projects will receive $1,791,561. They are:

  • City of Ada Public Works Authority (Oklahoma), Reuse Feasibility Study for the City of Ada, Oklahoma, $136,193
  • City of Bartlesville (Oklahoma), Feasibility Study to Augment Bartlesville Water Supply with Drought-Resilient Reclaimed Water, $150,000
  • City of Garden City (Kansas), Strategic Plan for Reuse Effluent Water Resources in Garden City, Kansas, and Vicinity, $65,368
  • City of Quincy (Washington), Quincy 1 Water Resource Management Improvement Feasibility Study for Comprehensive Wastewater Reuse and Water Supply Project, $150,000
  • El Paso Water Utilities – Public Services Board (Texas), Aquifer Storage-Recovery with Reclaimed Water to Preserve Hueco Bolson using Enhanced Arroyo Infiltration for Wetlands, and Secondary Reducing Local Power Plant Reclaimed Water Demand, $150,000
  • Kitsap County (Washington), Feasibility Study for a comprehensive water reuse project at the Kitsap County Kingston Wastewater Treatment Plant, $150,000.
  • Las Virgenes Municipal Water District (California), Pure Water Project Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, $150,000
  • North Alamo Water Supply Corporation (Texas), Feasibility Study of Energy-Efficient Alternatives for Brackish Groundwater Desalination for the North Alamo Water Supply Corporation, $90,000
  • Oklahoma Water Resources Board (Oklahoma), Feasibility Study of Potential Impacts of Select Alternative Produced Water Management and Reuse Scenarios, $150,000
  • Soquel Creek Water District (California), Pure Water Soquel – Replenishing Mid-County Groundwater with Groundwater with Purified Recycled Water, $150,000
  • Valley Center Municipal Water District (California), Lower Moosa Canyon Wastewater Recycling, Reuse, and sub-regional Brine Disposal Project, $150,000
  • Washoe County (Nevada), Northern Nevada Indirect Potable Reuse Feasibility Study, $150,000
    Weber Basin Water Conservancy District (Utah), Weber Basin Water Conservancy District Reuse Feasibility Study, $150,000
  • The Title XVI Program will provide funding for research to establish or expand water reuse markets, improve or expand existing water reuse facilities, and streamline the implementation of clean water technology at new facilities. Four projects will receive $847,701. They are:

  • City of San Diego (California), Demonstrating Innovative Control of Biological Fouling of Microfiltration/Ultrafiltration and Reverse Osmosis Membranes and Enhanced Chemical and Energy Efficiency in Potable Water, $300,000
  • City of San Diego (California), Site-Specific Analytical Testing of RO Brine Impacts to the Treatment Process, $48,526
  • Kansas Water Office (Kansas), Pilot Test Project for Produced Water near Hardtner, Kansas, $199,175
  • Las Virgenes Municipal Water District (California), Pure Water Project Las Virgenes-Truinfo Demonstration Project, $300,000
  • Reclamation provides funding through the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program for projects that reclaim and reuse municipal, industrial, domestic or agricultural wastewater and naturally impaired ground or surface waters. Reclaimed water can be used for a variety of purposes, such as environmental restoration, fish and wildlife, groundwater recharge, municipal, domestic, industrial, agricultural, power generation or recreation.

    Since 1992, Title XVI funding has been used to provide communities with new sources of clean water, while promoting water and energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. In that time, approximately $672 million in federal funding has been leveraged with non-federal funding to implement more than $3.3 billion in water reuse improvements.