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Archive for the ‘Potable reuse’ Category

California potable reuse study gets a boost with SB 322

Posted by George J Janczyn on October 10, 2013

Many people will remember that in September 2010 Gov. Schwarzenegger signed into law SB 918 which required the State Department of Public Health to investigate the feasibility of developing uniform water recycling criteria for direct potable reuse, and to provide a final report on that investigation to the Legislature.

Locals may now be experiencing a feeling of déjà vu after reading U-T San Diego’s report about SB 322 signed by Governor Brown (Brown signs bill to boost SD ‘toilet-to-tap’ plans).

The U-T writes that SB 322 : “…gives the Department of Public Health, working with the State Water Resources Control, until Sept. 1, 2016 to issue a draft feasibility report” on potable reuse and “calls for an expert panel and advisory groups to study the best course for regulating wastewater-to-drinking-water and then submit those recommendations to the two state agencies for review.

Sound like the same thing? It is, mostly, with a few differences:

  • The old bill (SB 918) directed the Department of Public Health to perform the investigation and prepare a report for the legislature by December 31, 2016. The new bill (SB 322) directs that the Department of Public Health perform the investigation in consultation with the State Water Resources Control Board.
  • The old bill required a public review draft to be completed by June 30, 2016. The new bill gives more time for the public review draft to be completed, shifting it to September 1, 2016.
  • The old bill required an expert panel to be convened for purposes of the investigation, but didn’t say when. The new bill says the expert panel must be convened and administered on or before February 15, 2014.
  • The old bill said the department may appoint an advisory group. The new bill says the department must convene an advisory group on or before January 15, 2014.

Other changes include new details covering the scope of the investigation, the composition of the expert panel, and composition of the advisory group. Curiously, while the old bill authorized the department to accept funds “from any source” for the investigation, the new bill authorizes the department to accept funds “from nonstate sources.”

In sum, the new bill adds some urgency to the effort with a deadline for convening the expert panel, changes the advisory group from optional to mandatory, and adds more specifics about the study itself.

San Diego County Water Authority’s news release characterizes the bill well, saying it “…is expected to expedite a transparent and rigorous scientific assessment of “potable reuse” as a potential water source.” (emphasis added by me)

Click here for the full text of the bill with the legislative counsel’s digest.

For background on San Diego’s potable reuse efforts, see the Water Purification Demonstration Project website.


Leave it to good old U-T San Diego. In the opening paragraph of its story on the bill, the U-T says that potable reuse has been “dubbed by critics as “toilet-to-tap.” The U-T’s headline? “Brown signs bill to boost SD ‘toilet-to-tap’ plans.” Once a critic, always a critic, eh?


Posted in Government, Potable reuse, Water | 5 Comments »

San Diego Water Reliability Coalition launches website

Posted by George J Janczyn on September 14, 2011

The Water Reliability Coalition (or WRC), an association of San Diego County environmental, technical, business, and ratepayer organizations formed to perform public outreach in support of Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR) research and development announced yesterday the launch of its new website at

When WRC came together in late 2009 as the Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR) Coalition, the City of San Diego was embarking on its Indirect Potable Reuse Reservoir Augmentation Demonstration Project (IPR/RA Demonstration Project). Lani Lutar (San Diego County Taxpayers Association) and Bruce Reznik (at the time at San Diego Coastkeeper) were instrumental in organizing the coalition. Lutar is still at it, and Gabe Solmer is the new leader from Coastkeeper.

In March 2010 the Coalition received a special recognition award from the California WateReuse Association for its efforts.

The Coalition believes that potable reuse shows great potential as a component of San Diego’s water supply strategy because it represents a steady reliable source of high-quality potable water and has the environmental benefit of reducing the amount of wastewater dumped into the Pacific, among other reasons.

In early 2010 San Diego began to publicize its IPR project as the Water Purification Demonstration Project partly to simplify saying the name and partly to get some distance from lingering impressions caused by negative politics and press during IPR initiatives in 2007 and earlier (the original name is still used for internal documentation and official Council business).

Consequently, the IPR Coalition changed its name to the Water Reliability Coalition in September 2010, partly in response to the City’s project name change and partly because the name echoes sentiment behind a long-time San Diego goal to improve supply reliability by reducing its 80% dependence on water imports. The Coalition then decided to build a website, not an easy task with numerous coalition members with other priorities and economic challenges to deal with. It took a bit longer than they hoped, but it’s here now. It’s good to see it up.

(see also this writeup about the Coalition from Bradley Fikes at the North County Times)


Posted in Environment, Indirect potable reuse, Potable reuse, Water | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Public perception of water reuse

Posted by George J Janczyn on July 21, 2011

A report on water reuse in the April 11 issue of Water Desalination Report (requires sub) contains this gem:

“Water reuse is an indispensible component of almost every water management strategy. However, the way water is reused, and the public’s acceptance of it, varies remarkably from one community to the next. In California, one community embraced indirect potable reuse (IPR) while another, less than 100 miles down the road, disparagingly branded it as “recycled sewage.”

Guess which communities they’re talking about and who’s pushing that branding?


Posted in Potable reuse, Water | 3 Comments »

How wastewater goes from polluted to pure

Posted by George J Janczyn on May 1, 2011

The American Chemical Society produced this video showing the steps that are followed in order to convert wastewater into purified drinking water (potable reuse). With the start of operations for San Diego’s Water Purification Demonstration Project fast approaching and educational outreach programs for community planning groups already underway, the video could be useful if used to supplement the city’s public outreach effort — which at times seems rough around the edges. Although it doesn’t cover reservoir augmentation with purified recycled water as San Diego’s project aims to do, the video delivers a fair amount of pertinent information and details with a matter-of-fact style.




Posted in Potable reuse, Videos, Water, Water Purification Demonstration Project | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »