National Research Council
Committee on Assessment of Water Reuse as an
Approach for Meeting Future Water Supply Needs
Survey of Water Reclamation Costs
The National Research Council is currently conducting a comprehensive study of the potential for water reclamation and reuse of municipal wastewater to expand and enhance the nation’s available water supply alternatives. This study is considering a wide range of uses, including drinking water, non-potable urban uses, irrigation, industrial process water, groundwater recharge, and water for environmental purposes. The study is considering technical, economic, institutional, and social challenges to increased adoption of water reuse, and it will provide practical guidance to decision makers evaluating their water supply alternatives. The complete task and committee membership is attached.
The study is sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the National Water Research Institute, the Centers for Disease Control, 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 District, and the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency. The report from this study is anticipated in January 2011.
The committee is charged to consider how different approaches to water reclamation vary in terms of cost, and how these costs compare to the costs of other available water supply alternatives. To complete its charge, the committee determined that it needed additional information on the cost of reuse from key reuse initiatives under way, representing a variety of technologies, approaches, and geographic areas. We hope that you will take the time to fill out the attached survey of costs, as the results should be valuable to many communities across the nation considering water reuse among their future water supply alternatives. Please return your completed survey by March 3, 2010.
Please note that, per our FACA requirements, your survey responses can be made available to the public upon request.
We appreciate your assistance to this committee’s efforts.
Contact Person: _______________________
1. Name of the reclaimed water project (please fill out one survey for each project if your utility has multiple reuse projects/facilities):
2. Rated design capacity of the project (in MGD) and estimated annual production for:
2.1. Non-potable reuse applications: ___________
2.2. Potable reuse applications: ____________
3. Year(s) constructed:
4. Treatment processes included in:
4.1. Column (a) for treatment required for wastewater disposal:
4.2. Column (b) for Non-potable treatment beyond Column (a):
4.3. Column (d) for Potable reuse treatment beyond Columns (a) and (b)
5. Major uses of effluent (e.g., further treatment, irrigation, agriculture, cooling, groundwater recharge, wholesale to another entity, discharge to water bodies):
5.1. Wastewater disposal:
5.2. Non-potable treatment:
5.3. Potable reuse treatment:
6. Please fill out the attached Excel spreadsheet with regard to each of the three water treatment grades listed above for each of the following:
6.1. Capital costs, including all subsidies, as $/Kgal of rated plant capacity. Please, if possible, separate these costs according to major project components (e.g., treatment system, spreading system, distribution system) and include the year constructed for each.
6.2. Annual Operation and Maintenance Cost, in $/yr/Kgal of rated plant capacity in terms of
6.2.2. Energy (Electricity, Natural Gas, etc.)
6.2.3. All other operations and maintenance costs
Note that only the yellow spreadsheet cells should be filled in. The other cells will total automatically. See attached explanation sheet for more details.
7. Please describe any subsidies to the project included in the above costs, including federal, state, or local contributions to the project or land donations:
8. What rates do you charge users (in $/kgal) for:
8.1. Non-potable reclaimed water?
8.2. Potable reclaimed water?
8.3. Traditional potable supply?
9. When the decision was made to implement your water reuse project(s), what other water supply alternatives were considered? What was the cost of the alternatives considered, if any (in $/Kgal)? Please note the year that those costs estimates were determined.
10. What was the decisive factor in the selection of the alternative(s) implemented?
12. Please describe any concentrate management issues faced when implementing your reuse project, and how these were resolved. Approximately what portion of the total water reclamation cost (capital + O&M) can be attributed to concentrate management?
13. Please describe the major benefits of increased reclaimed water in your area:
14. What is the per capita water use in your service area? If data are available, please include data for the past 10 years in tabular or graphical form.
Could we follow up with you if we need clarification on any of your responses? YES ____ NO _____
Thank you for your assistance!
Additional Explanations for Excel Spreadsheet
For clarification, some additional explanations of the various data categories are described here:
Row I, Capital Costs:
The capital costs include all of the costs of capital, including subsidies. If possible, please list each major project component within the overall project (e.g., treatment processes, spreader system, ASR system, reuse-specific distribution system) and indicate year constructed. Capital costs typically do not vary during the life of the project and are treated as fixed costs, over a set period of time (the amortization period).
Row II, Operating Costs:
Operating costs include the variable costs of operation over time, including energy, personnel, and other costs, such as chemicals and routine maintenance.
Column (a), Wastewater Disposal treatment costs
Column “a” focuses on the costs of the basic wastewater treatment aspects (i.e., secondary treatment steps) of a wastewater treatment for disposal purposes. If a reclaimed water facility starts with raw wastewater, column “a” would refer to the “normal” secondary treatment costs for the project. For example, this would include costs up through the disinfection stage in a conventional activated sludge plant. If the reclaimed water facility purchases the secondary effluent from a wastewater treatment plant, these costs should be stated here (enter “0” if there is no charge for the secondary effluent).
Column (b), Non-potable treatment costs beyond secondary
Column “b” focuses on the costs of the additional treatment steps for non-potable applications following those required for wastewater disposal. In other words, all other treatment after the treatment defined in Column “a”. For example, if filtration or chlorination is used to produce reclaimed water for irrigation or industrial use, but these components are not part of the secondary treatment core, that cost would be shown in Column “b”.
Column (c), Total Cost for Non-Potable Reuse
Column “c” will automatically add column “a” and column “b”. No information needs to be entered here.
Column (d), Potable reuse treatment costs, beyond (a) and (b)
Column “d” is reserved for additional treatment steps following the wastewater
treatment costs in Column “a” and the non-potable reclamation costs listed in Column “b” to further treat the water for indirect potable reuse applications. For example, a plant might consist of a secondary core of activated sludge followed by UV disinfection as the Column “a” costs. Column “b” costs might include a filtration step followed by chlorine disinfection required to produce effluent suitable for irrigation or industrial use. Column “d” costs would include costs to take the reclaimed water and polish it further to result in a product that could be injected or put into a surface impoundment for indirect potable reuse. This might include filtration with granular activated carbon or through reverse osmosis membranes.
Column (e), Total Cost for Indirect Potable Reuse
Column “e” will automatically add column “c” and column “d”. No information needs to be entered here.