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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation's Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13303.
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Water Reuse

POTENTIAL FOR EXPANDING THE NATION’S WATER SUPPLY
THROUGH REUSE OF MUNICIPAL WASTEWATER

Committee on the Assessment of Water Reuse as an Approach
for Meeting Future Water Supply Needs

Water Science and Technology Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
                                          OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation's Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13303.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS        500 Fifth Street, NW         Washington, DC 20001

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the panel responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

Support for this study was provided by the Environmental Protection Agency under contract number EP-C-09-003: TO#7, the National Science Foundation under grant number CBET-0924454, the National Water Research Institute under grant number 08-KM-006, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation under grant number R11AP81325, the Water Research Foundation under agreement 04276:PF, and the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-25749-7
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-25749-2
Library of Congress Control Number: 2012936028

Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu.

Copyright 2012 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation's Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13303.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation's Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13303.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation's Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13303.
×

COMMITTEE ON THE ASSESSMENT OF WATER REUSE AS AN APPROACH TO MEETING FUTURE WATER SUPPLY NEEDS

RHODES R. TRUSSELL, Chair, Trussell Technologies, Pasadena, California

HENRY A. ANDERSON, Wisconsin Division of Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin

EDMUND G. ARCHULETA, El Paso Water Utilities PSB, El Paso, Texas

JAMES CROOK, Environmental Engineering Consultant, Norwell, Massachusetts

JÖRG E. DREWES, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado

DENISE D. FORT, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico

CHARLES N. HAAS, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

BRENT M. HADDAD, University of California, Santa Cruz, California

DUANE B. HUGGETT, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas

SUNNY JIANG, University of California, Irvine, California

DAVID L. SEDLAK, University of California, Berkeley, California

SHANE A. SNYDER, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

MARGARET H. WHITTAKER, ToxServices LLC, Washington, D.C.

DALE WHITTINGTON, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

NRC Staff

STEPHANIE E. JOHNSON, Study Director, Water Science and Technology Board

SARAH E. BRENNAN, Program Assistant, Water Science and Technology Board (from July 2010)

STEPHEN RUSSELL, Program Assistant (until July 2010)

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation's Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13303.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation's Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13303.
×

Preface

Starting in the late 19th and through most of the 20th century, the United States built a substantial infrastructure to capture fresh water and bring it to our farms and cities. Although efforts to add to that infrastructure continue, by most measures the amount of water delivered has not materially increased in the past 30 years, but the U.S. population has continued to climb. The National Research Council (NRC, 2001) said, “In this new century, the United States will be challenged to provide sufficient quantities of high-quality water to its growing population.” This report is part of an ongoing effort by the NRC to understand the tools the nation has available to address the challenge identified in that statement—in this case, the role water reuse might play in the nation’s water future.

The committee formed by the NRC’s Water Science and Technology Board performed a critical assessment of water reuse as an approach to meet future water supply needs. The report presents a brief summary of the nation’s recent history in water use and shows that, although reuse is not a panacea, the amount of wastewater discharged to the environment is of such quantity that it could play a significant role in the overall water resource picture and complement other strategies, such as water conservation. The report also identifies a research agenda designed to help the nation progress in making the most appropriate use of the resource.

For each of us, our most precious resource is our time. This project was a substantial project, involving eight meetings. I want to thank the members of this committee for their most generous contribution of their personal time to this project. That time is especially valuable because of the unique individual expertise and intellect each of member brought to the task. Once again, as it does so well, the NRC assembled a collection of the nation’s best minds from a broad spectrum of disciplines and assigned them to work together to address an issue important to the nation’s future. Once again, the process worked beautifully and, in a collaborative spirit, these individuals worked together to produce many insights none of us had as individuals when we walked into our first meeting and a report that the committee should be proud of.

Those who have been on an NRC committee know that staff play a critical role in the success of the project. Our study director, Stephanie Johnson, is an amazing woman—organized, disciplined, persistent, able to cope with great detail, and a fabulous technical writer. She was in constant communication with all of us; reminding us of our assignments, providing us with critical comments, personally writing some sections of the report, and thoroughly editing our myriad styles to produce a document that speaks with a single voice. This report would not have happened were it not for her effort. The committee is also grateful for the assistance provided by Stephen Russell and Sarah Brennan, project assistants, who handled administrative details of the meetings, did supporting research, and aided in report preparation.

Thanks are also due to the sponsors who provided support for the study. This report was undertaken with support from a myriad of sponsors. More than half of the study funding was provided by the Environmental Protection Agency, with the remaining funding from

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation's Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13303.
×

the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the National Science Foundation, the National Water Research Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Water Research Foundation, Orange County Water District, Orange County Sanitation District, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Irvine Ranch Water District, West Basin Water District, Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, and the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency.

The committee held meetings at several locations, including California, Florida, Colorado, Texas, and Washington D.C. In particular the committee would like to thank the individuals and agencies who gave presentations and provided tours to help the committee in its deliberations (see Acknowledgments).

In draft form the report was reviewed by individuals chosen for their breadth of perspective and technical expertise in accordance with the procedures approved by the National Academies’ Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review was to provide candid and critical comments to assist the NRC in ensuring that the final report is scientifically credible and that it meets NRC standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The reviewer comments and the draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the deliberative process. We thank the following reviewers for their criticisms, advice, and insight, all of which were considered and many of which were wholly or partly incorporated in the final report: Bryan Brooks, Baylor University; Charles Gerba, University of Arizona; Jerome Gilbert, Engineering Perfection, PLLC; Robert Hultquist, California Department of Public Health; Anna Hurlimann, The University of Melbourne; Blanca Jimenez, Instituto de Ingenieria UNAM; Stuart Khan, University of New South Wales; Margaret Nellor, Nellor Environmental Associates, Inc.; Larry Roesner, Colorado State University; Dan Tarlock, Chicago Kent College of Law; George Tchobanoglous, University of California, Davis (emeritus); Michael Wehner, Orange County Water District; and Paul Westerhoff, Arizona State University.

Although reviewers were asked to, and did, provide constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions and recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Edward Bouwer, Johns Hopkins University, and Michael Kavanaugh, Geosyntec Consultants. Appointed by the NRC, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with NRC procedures and that all review comments received full consideration. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the NRC.

R. Rhodes Trussell, Chair
Committee on the Assessment of
Water Reuse as an Approach for
Meeting Future Water Supply Needs

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation's Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13303.
×

Acknowledgments

 

Many individuals assisted the committee and the National Research Council staff in their task to create this report. We would like to express our appreciation to the following people who have provided presentations to the committee and served as guides during the field trips:

Richard Atwater, Inland Empire Utilities Agency

Jared Bales, U.S. Geological Survey

Robert Bastian, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Curt Brown, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Shonnie Cline, AWWA Research Foundation

Glenn Clingenpeel, Trinity River Authority

Betsy Cody, Congressional Research Service

Phil Cross, Conserv II

James Dobrowolski, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Mark Elsner, Southwest Florida Water Management District

Chris Ferraro, Florida Department of Environmental Protection

James Franckiewicz, U.S. Agency for International Development

Bertha Goldenberg, Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department

Brian Good, Denver Water

Bruce Hamilton, National Science Foundation

Larry Honeybourne, Orange County Health Care Agency

Martin Jekel, Technical University of Berlin, Germany

Josh Johnson, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

Rai Kookana, CSIRO Land and Water, Australia

Mark LeChevallier, American Water

Audrey Levine, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Mong Hoo Lim, Public Utilities Board, Singapore

Dean Marrone, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

James McDaniel, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

Mark Millan, Data Instincts

Wade Miller, WateReuse Foundation

David Moore, Southwest Florida Water Management District

John Morris, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Jeff Mosher, National Water Research Institute

Lynn Orphan, Clean Water Coalition

Pankaj Parekh, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

Larry Parsons, University of Florida

Mark Pifher, Aurora Water

Robert Quint, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Mark Sees, Orlando Easterly Wetlands

Peter Silva, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Mark Squillace, University of Colorado Law School

Marsi Steirer, City of San Diego Department of Water

Frank Stephens, Gwinnett County Water Resources

Ray Tremblay, Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation's Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13303.
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Bob Vincent, Florida Department of Health

Joe Waters, West Basin Municipal Water District

Michael Wehner, Orange County Water District

Ron Wildermuth, Orange County Water District

Hal Wilkening, Southwest Florida Water Management District

Dan Woltering, Water Environment Research Foundation

Max Zarate-Bermudez, U.S. Center for Disease Control

We would also like to thank Sangam Tiwari, Trussell Technologies, Inc. for her detailed verification of the risk exemplar.

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Expanding water reuse--the use of treated wastewater for beneficial purposes including irrigation, industrial uses, and drinking water augmentation--could significantly increase the nation's total available water resources. Water Reuse presents a portfolio of treatment options available to mitigate water quality issues in reclaimed water along with new analysis suggesting that the risk of exposure to certain microbial and chemical contaminants from drinking reclaimed water does not appear to be any higher than the risk experienced in at least some current drinking water treatment systems, and may be orders of magnitude lower. This report recommends adjustments to the federal regulatory framework that could enhance public health protection for both planned and unplanned (or de facto) reuse and increase public confidence in water reuse.

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