The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality implements a statewide program that encourages water reuse (use of recycled water) in a manner to protect public health and the environment. The protection of Oregon's water is one of DEQ's highest priorities. A key action to help achieve this protection is the development of strategies that encourage water reuse.
Water reuse is the recycling of treated wastewater derived from domestic and industrial sources for beneficial purposes. The reuse of water for purposes such as irrigation as well as commercial and residential applications can be an environmentally sound way to manage wastewater, while conserving potable, surface water and groundwater supplies in Oregon. DEQ currently provides regulatory oversight for three general types reuse water:
- Graywater means shower and bath waste water, bathroom sink water, kitchen sink wastewater, and laundry wastewater. Graywater does not mean toilet or garbage wastes or wastewater contaminated by soiled diapers.
- Recycled water means treated effluent from a municipal wastewater treatment system, which as a result of treatment is suitable for a direct beneficial purpose.
- Industrial wastewater is the treated effluent from an industrial process, manufacturing or business, or from the development or recovery of any natural resource. An example of industrial water is agricultural process water derived from the processing of fruit, vegetables, or other food products.
In order to be approved by DEQ, all water reuse must be protective of public health and the environment as well as provide a resource value.