Treated municipal wastewater or “reclaimed water” may be used for irrigation or other beneficial uses as an exempt use without a water use permit issued by the Department, under certain conditions. The reclaimed water must first be treated and discharged under either a national pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) or water pollution control facilities (WPCF) permit issued by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The reclaimed water may be retained in a pond or lagoon without a reservoir permit prior to reuse. But depending on the size of the retention structure, WRD approval of the engineering plans may be required. In addition, the person intending to use the reclaimed water as an exempt use must first complete and file a Municipal Reclaimed Water Registration Form with DEQ for its approval.
Reclaimed water as defined in ORS 537.131, 540.510 and 540.610, is water that has been used for municipal purposes and after such use has been treated in a treatment works (NPDES or WPCF), and that as a result is suitable for direct beneficial use that could not otherwise occur.
Per ORS 537.132, a registration of municipal reclaimed water provides an exemption from the permitting requirements that would otherwise be required for the beneficial reuse of that water. Currently, a registration of reclaimed water does not have any fee associated with it.