Water reclamation in CA
May 5, 2015 6:38 PM   Subscribe

Orange County currently fills 20% of its groundwater basin with recycled wastewater. Is there any other water district in CA that tops this figure, in terms of treating wastewater for supplying a basin that provides direct, potable (drinkable)? If not, which water district takes 2nd place?
posted by invisible ink to Science & Nature (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oops, that should read direct, potable (drinkable) water.
posted by invisible ink at 7:44 PM on May 5, 2015

Best answer: Finding California water data is surprisingly difficult through the State Water Resources Control Board or organizations like WateReuse, but you might be able to find data related to artificially recharging aquifers for indirect potable reuse (direct potable reuse would be taking the treated water directly to the municipal system, whereas indirect potable reuse is introducing the treated water to an environmental buffer (such as an aquifer or reservoir (in that sense, New Orleans has been dealing with recycled water for as long as it's been downstream))).

That being said, I would start here, and use the data/information there to narrow the search.

That being said, the link includes this sentence, "[r]ecycled water of the highest quality is also being put back into aquifers for storage in many places such as Santa Clara County and Orange County", but it looks like the Santa Clara Valley Water District project is using the recycled water for industry/irrigation rather than recharge. I know it comes up in San Diego, but it doesn't look like it's in play currently.

This link is from 2011, but it also puts Orange County on top, followed by the Montebello Forebay system under LADPW.

It doesn't look like any other California system tops Orange County's, but from the Stanfurd link, it looks like there are more projects in the, pardon the pun, pipeline.
posted by memento maury at 7:48 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Do you mean indirect? Because there are no direct potable systems in CA, though there is a mandate to determine the feasibility of direct systems by 12/2016.

Orange County uses an indirect method - the recycled water is introduced into the aquifer before being pumped out later with the existing groundwater. It is the largest indirect potable water reuse project of its kind in the world. Texas has the first ever direct potable reuse facility in the U.S. where the recycling plant is connected to the drinking water plant.
posted by cecic at 8:19 PM on May 5, 2015

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