Direct Potable Reuse: A Path Forward
Margaret H. Nellor
Due to increasing water scarcity, the limits of current conventional water supplies, and the need for water agencies to maximize beneficial use of all available water resources, water agencies and others are interested in defining the guidelines and criteria needed for direct potable reuse (DPR) in which purified water is introduced directly into a potable water supply distribution system or into the raw water supply immediately upstream of a water treatment plant. Reflecting the increased interest in DPR, the Governor of the State of California signed into law Senate Bill 918 in September 2010. This bill mandates that the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) adopt uniform water recycling criteria for indirect potable reuse (IPR) for groundwater recharge by the end of 2013. If an expert panel convened pursuant to the bill finds that the criteria for surface water augmentation would adequately protect public health, the development of criteria for surface water augmentation by the end of 2016 is also mandated in the bill. Further, the bill requires CDPH to investigate the feasibility of developing regulatory criteria for DPR and to provide a final report on that investigation to the Legislature by the end of 2016. The full text of Senate Bill 918 may be found in Appendix A. The California Water Code (SWRCB, 2011) has been amended to include the provisions of Senate Bill 918.
In light of the interest in DPR, the purpose of this report is to provide a general overview of current knowledge related to DPR and to identify the information that must develop through targeted studies to inform the public, public and private water agencies, and regulatory agencies regarding the feasibility of implementing DPR as a viable water supply management option. Although the background information on DPR and the needed research identified in this report are applicable across the country and throughout the world, the primary focus is on providing information so that the feasibility of DPR can be evaluated in California.
(2011, 101 pages)
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