Five projects across Washington state have demonstrated that reclaimed waterwater that has been recycled or used at least onceprovides a sustainable way to get maximum use of tight water supplies.
A 1997 law directed the state departments of Ecology and Health to create and administer a demonstration program on reclaimed water and provided $10 million for five projects.
Sequim, Wash., utilizes reclaimed water for irrigating landscaping and restoring stream flows. Royal City recharges underground aquifers. Ephrata uses it at construction sites. And Yelm, utilizes it for a wetland park and fighting fires.
Ephrata and Royal City reclaim 100 percent of the treated water from their wastewater treatment plants and use it to recharge an underground aquifer, wash equipment, irrigation and at construction sites to mix with concrete and control dust.
Sequim reclaims much of its treated wastewater and uses it to irrigate the landscape at the Carrie Blake Park, which also serves as an demonstration site to teach others about the benefits of reclaimed water. The water also is pumped into wetlands that feed a small creek that has been short on water.
Yelm reclaims 100 percent of its treated wastewater to wash down equipment at the treatment plant, fight fires, clean streets and irrigate landscaping at churches, parks and a residence. The reclaimed water also was used to create a city wetland park that includes a catch and release fishpond for rainbow trout.
"These projects are outstanding examples of what we can and must do all over Washington to make our water supplies stretch further so we have enough water for all of our communities, our industries and our environmental needs," said Washington Governor Gary Locke.