Water Reuse, Recycling and Non-Potable Water Opportunities
Water Management and Conservation Plans (WMCP) prepared to comply with Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR) Chapter 690, Division 086 (administered by the Oregon Water Resources Department) encourage municipal water providers to manage their water supplies in the most efficient manner possible for meeting existing and future demands. Two important components of WMCPs are water conservation measures and evaluation of alternative water supply sources, which can help offset the need to increase the diversion of raw source water for meeting those demands.
Some conservation measures that may be considered in a WMCP are water reuse, water recycling and non-potable water opportunities. Water suppliers evaluating these activities must document that they have considered whether and how water reuse and recycling and the use of non‑potable waters could reduce their need for withdrawals or diversions of raw water. Categories that may be included in this discussion include:
Enhanced treatment of municipal wastewater to allow reuse for non-potable purposes, such as for dust control, street sweeping, irrigation of crops and pastureland, or irrigation of urban landscapes (e.g., public landscaping, golf courses, business parks);
Recycling of process water within a single industrial facility (or group of facilities);
Use of domestic “graywater” for onsite irrigation, flushing of toilets or other non‑potable uses, where laws permit such use;
Recycling of cooling water;
Requiring backwashing of filters with untreated water instead of finished water; and/or
Discontinuation of the use of potable water at a municipal sewage treatment plant.
Some current examples of water reuse, recycling and non-potable water activities in Oregon are:
The Living Machine® System at the Port of Portland Headquarters –
The Living Machine® receives all wastewater generated by the building’s 500 employees. The wastewater is collected and routed through a series of six tidal flow cells and one vertical flow cell, resulting in high quality treated effluent that is then filtered and disinfected with ultraviolet light and chlorine. It is then reused to flush toilets and supply the cooling towers in the building. Use of this system in the building has demonstrated a 75 percent reduction in water use.
The Oregon Garden in Silverton –
The city of Silverton’s wastewater treatment plant receives and treats all sanitary wastewater collected from its customers through a collection piping system. Up to one million gallons per day of treated effluent from the wastewater treatment plant is pumped to the Oregon Garden (Silverton’s primary effluent disposal site), to be used for landscape irrigation and wetlands supply at the Oregon Garden. The wastewater receives final treatment on about 16 acres of the Oregon Garden where a series of 25 ponds perform three final filtering functions.
The City-owned Meadow Lakes Golf Course in Prineville –
In 1988, the city of Prineville faced fines of up to $25,000 per day if it did not find a way to dispose of wastewater that was being dumped into the Crooked River. Since Prineville did not have enough money to build a new water treatment facility, the city decided to build a golf course that would dispose of the wastewater. Meadow Lakes Golf Course is a fully functional 18-hole championship golf course and wastewater disposal site owned by the city of Prineville. The wastewater is now disposed of through land application of effluent as irrigation on 123 acres of the municipal golf course and through 10 evaporation ponds that double as water hazards.
While OAR Chapter 690, Division 086 encourages consideration and analysis of different water conservation efforts, it is ultimately up to the municipal water supplier to determine which conservation activities and programs are appropriate for implementation. Water reuse, water recycling and non-potable water opportunities are just a few options in a wide array of water conservation actions that can help a water supplier meet its demands now and into the future.
For more information about water conservation measures that are considered as part of WMCP, please contact Lisa Jaramillo with the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD), or visit OWRD’s Conservation Share-House webpage.
On the Web: Visit OWRD’s Conservation Share-House webpage at:
OWRD Announces New WMCP Staff
Mellony Hoskinson has joined the Salem office of the Oregon Water Resources Department as a Water Supply and Conservation Specialist. Adding Hoskinson will allow the department to provide greater assistance to cities working to prepare a WMCP.
Prior to coming to OWRD, Hoskinson worked for 10 years at RTI International as an Environmental Scientist, focusing primarily on contracts for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Water on Clean Water Act projects. Her work included direct support to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality as well as the EPA’s Region 9 office on water monitoring and assessment projects. She also worked at Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on endangered fish population projects.
Contact: Mellony Hoskinson, (503)986-0887 or Mellony.D.Hoskinson@wrd.state.or.us