Fascinating discussion of water scarcity on World Water Day March 22nd.
(TRANSCRIPT) Hello and welcome today’s live interactive program on water reuse. Thanks for joining us, My name is Jeff Lape and I’m the National Program Leader for Water Reuse at the US Environmental Protection Agency in Washington DC I’ll, be your host today, as we explore water reuse as an essential tool to improve the resiliency security and sustainability of Precious water resources around the globe. Todays’ program is about how water reuse is such an important way to address. Often competing global water resource needs.
Water reuse helped save water resources because it’s treated it uses, treated wastewater and storm water for purposes such as agriculture, toilet flushing and drinking water. Reuse can also be create long-term improvements in a community’s water portfolio. The result is that water reuse strengthens the reliability of local water supplies, which may reduce conflict over shared waters. As we approach World Water Day on March 22nd, our panel of water reuse experts gives us key insights on best practices, technologies and policies that can reduce water scarcity and raise public awareness, especially in the South and Central Asia region. Before we begin I’d like to welcome all of our viewers from around the world, and especially those watching in groups across South and Central Asia, remember we really want to know your thoughts and take your questions during the program. So please ask your questions in chat space.
Next to the video player or on Twitter, using the hashtags World Water Day and WWD 2020 and to all the viewing groups joining us. An extra special welcome. Please send us your pics by email or Twitter, using today’s hashtags. Let me begin by welcoming our panel of experts. Lyn Spivey is the director of utilities for the city of Plant City Florida and has worked in the fields of water management and wastewater treatment for over 20 to 25 years. Welcome Lyn also joining us as Ted Hannifin Ted is the general manager of the Hampton Roads, Sanitation District in Hampton Roads Virginia his 35-year career is focused on public works and utilities, and federal regional and local governments Ted glad to have you with us as well.
Today, let’s get started with a quick overview of the history of water reuse in the United States. Here in the US, the driving force behind water reuse includes factors such as the environment, water scarcity, groundwater depletion, population growth and simply better using the available water. Those forces have also provided opportunities which include collaboration amongst local state and national governments. Data and information sharing and technology. Innovation, Lynn and Ted will talk about the unique local drivers that compel them to consider water reuse in their communities.
One of the best examples of how we at EPA have addressed those driving forces is through the national water, reuse, Action Plan or rap, which is a collaborative effort across the entire water can user community to secure the sustainability, resiliency and security of our nation’s water resources. The water reuse action plan outlines 37 actions under 11 strategic themes with over 220 milestones and 28 unique organizations representing federal state, tribal partners and the water user community progress is demonstrated through both a print version that reflects the status of actions and milestones to date and A complimentary online platform we’re basic, where we are basically leveraging the resources and talents of many to optimize the science technology and policy to support water reuse.
Let’s begin in today’s panelists to give us more insight on the motivations behind water, reuse, Lynn, if we could start with you what inspired you and your community to consider water reuse. Thank you, Jeff. Let me first say that Florida has been practicing water reuse for a long time just by de facto water reuse. Florida, basically, is one big sand filter, so our retain water has been applied through rapid infiltration basins and naturally gone back into our water system. But in 1989 Florida developed its first set of reuse regulations, so we’ve been practicing this for a while. Our municipal utilities in Florida currently use approximately eight hundred mills today of reclaim water for beneficial purposes. So we are set in this path for quite a while. In Plant City, we have an advanced water reclamation facility and advanced wastewater treatment plant that produces highly treated reclaimed water right now we take that water and put it back into a stream system which ends up into the Hillsborough River.
It’s a large river in Central Florida, but our plant has a capacity for 12 mg G, so we are limited in how much we can discharge right now. We need to find in order to grow, to our full capacity. We need to find more uses for that highly treated reclaimed water, so that starters into the venture of what can we do with this valuable resource, we’re also in a very large agricultural pocket in Central Florida? We are at the strawberry capital state, so it was very natural for us to look at ways that we could one replenish our drinking water supply and make sure that we have water for our city to grow, but also to produce water enough for a large agricultural Base so thus natural water recycling, water, reuse in Florida has been part of our integrated water plans for quite a while. So this advanced treatment of potable reuse and using it for indirect or direct water supplies has become part of our integrated water supply.
Florida really is an almost primarily ground water for our water supply, so we’re pulling a lot of ground water out of our natural supply. That’s been causing several issues in Florida, including salt water mitigation, as we fall pull water out of the ground for our drinking water supply, we’re introducing salt water from our coastal barriers. So our use of potable reuse will really help mitigate this saltwater intrusion, but the natural water cycle has been a conversation in Florida for quite a while.
Thank You, Lynn, Ted and Hampton Roads Virginia. What were some of the motivations to embrace water reuse in your community? So we are a wastewater or only organization, and so our drivers were really kind of selfish. It wasn’t saving the world and saving water. It was around trying to get some regulatory stability in the wastewater world. I’M here in the US. Our permits are five years long and often that come with new requirements that have required us to make major upgrades to our many treatment plants. We have nine large treatment plants and significant investments and, as we were doing some long-term scenario planning the one constant we saw was this constant coming back and rebuilding our plants to remove different things out of the wastewater stream made the decision that you know if we Went all the way to drinking water.
Perhaps there was nothing else we could do with our water and we would stop that ever circular cycle of rebuilding our plants. So as we approached that and started looking for a better use for that water. So we treat it all the way to drinking water. That much like Linda said it becomes a very valuable resource and so doesn’t make sense. The surface water discharged that into a Chesapeake Bay, which is a saltwater estuary, no downstream users. So, as we looked around about that time, Virginia was recognizing the issue that they had they uh they’ve been depleting the coastal plain aquifer.
We sit on top of a confined aquifer part of the coastal plain along the east coast of United States, and that aquifer had been the major source of drinking water for most of Eastern Virginia for a hundred years and like all natural resources, we thought it would. Last forever and found recently in the last 20 years that the rate of withdrawal was exceeding the natural rate of recharge for this natural for this confined aquifer. So we did some modeling and recognized that if we put our potable treated wastewater back into the ground as drinking water supply, we could actually replenish the aquifer for about 50 year period and restore it to its original conditions.
And so that was a real driver for us. We had a great use for the water, a good reason to treat it to that level. I mean we started finding out other benefits along the way. Modelling show that some of our region were very susceptible to sea-level rise along the east coast of United States and part of that in our area is due to land subsidence over land sinking. The Seas rising that net benefit are actually detriment of those two things going. It causes our sea level rise issues to be significant by putting water back into the aquifer re pressurizing, our aquifer, we can actually slow down at least the modeling says. So we’ve got a little bit of empirical data that shows that we can slow down and reverse that impact of over withdrawing from the aquifer and causing additional land subsidence.
Then the last piece really was Linda also pointed out. Saltwater intrusion is an issue along our coast, as we continue to pull water from the ground and by putting our water back in repressurizing the aquifer. We can slow down that movement of saltwater from the coastal area into the western parts of our aquifer and then trustee Bay is under TMDL, total maximum daily load to remove nutrients from the bay which has been causing problems for the bay for its whole life. And we’re getting closer to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, but part of that is the significant amount of nutrient removal.
Work has to be done by wastewater treatment plants and all other discharges. While we’ve done a great job of getting our nutrients down to very, very low concentration levels, we still discharged 150 million gallons a day, fully treated effluent somewhere in the 700 million liters a day range and even at low concentrations. That ends up being hundreds of thousands of pounds of phosphorous and millions of pounds of nitrogen every year, so I put in our water in the ground where that ground water matches closely to what we’ve been discharging as far as concentrations of nutrients. We eliminate having to put that into the Chesapeake Bay and accelerate the rate at which we can clean up the bay. So a lot of drivers, I’d like to say we were very looking very forward and foresight and saw all these things coming, but they sort of fell into place as we really started, considering reuse and potable reuse as a viable option. Thank You Ted. As we discussed at the start of the program EPA and the federal agencies led a collaborative effort to launch a national water reuse action plan. Let’s talk about the importance of a national plan, then tell us your perspective on this. What a national plan have changed? Your communities, water, reuse, trajectory or success had it existed when it first began.
I think if we had that type of, I think the key point there is collaborative effort a little earlier. We would have been more advanced, I would say across our nation, but the key takeaway again is collaborative, and it’s also the RAC reflected a very broad range of perspectives and viewpoints from really across the water sector and incorporated stakeholders from groups outside of the water sector. I think that that’s the key points, the conversation between the folks who know water and the folks, maybe that use water and don’t know so much about it. These groups included agricultural environmental industry states have really been following that model. So I think this is a natural progression they’re following the model to develop framework documents to safely implement that’s kind of been a key point for us to make sure that this is a safe supply in Florida, water, reuse, Florida really led a collaborative effort similar to The rap in that we put together a stakeholder group a wide range of stakeholders that included the water sector, municipal water sector and also diverse groups outside including agriculture and Industry and academia.
The recommendation really came out that we need better reuse regulations. I think Ted touched on this. This has been a very moving target for us, so we wanted very straightforward and safely implemented regulations for us to work with the other recommendation that came out of this type of the rat and our state plans is that we need robust education and outreach plans To really speak with the public and these different stakeholder groups about the importance of the water cycle, so the better understanding you know, the general public and our legislators, who make our regulations have the really better that we can address the natural water cycle and make sure That we’re taking care of this natural resource and not wasting it. Thank You Lynne and Ted.
How would a national action plan of impacted your approach and Hampton Roads so Jeff we’re probably a little bit late to this game, but I would argue so is the National reuse action plan? I would think maybe the country would be further along and reefs had we stepped off earlier, but at the same time I’m not sure we were ready. You know you’re very well aware that across United States there have been starts and stops and reuse over the last 20 years, and I’m not sure that the general population was ready for it. And so you know, I think the reuse plans come at a great time for us again because we’re really just pushing forward and our breeze plan at this point, I’m not sure that you know or any earlier it would have been received quite as well.
So I think that the population in general is more are tuned to environmental issues, they’ve seen the serious droughts and other parts of the world, and even parts of the United States they’re starting to recognize, I think in general. The value of water is a natural resource. We’ve got a long way to go as Lynn points out on education, and I think this, this national reuse plan really helps. Maybe put some focus in those areas that need that and for all the distrust in government and I’m not sure how it is for the international audience. But the United States there’s still a pretty significant distrust of government, and yet with that underlying fact, as we move trees forward, people wanted to know what the national policy was on reuse.
So while they distrust government in general, they really like the idea of having someone like EPA at the national level setting policy, and so we got a lot of questions right away about you know: what’s the national policy, what are the national standards and lacking that? You know does create this sort of void and you sort of fill that in and it causes a more challenge from an educational standpoint, a regulatory standpoint, a state level and a local level.
So I think the reuse action plan is really a strong tool to help us advance reefs across the country and we’re a very water rich part of the country. And that’s a probably one of the most unusual pieces of our reefs plan. Is that we’re an area that gets over a meter of rainfall every year annual rainfall? We have a fairly short irrigation season. We’ve got a moist winter, so we don’t have those same needs that a lot of other parts of country do. But there’s is a replay and highlights in the action plan there’s a lot of other reasons. For you know, a resiliency water storage in ground is much better than it is in surface water reservoirs. There’s all sorts of great reasons that are highlighted that I think a national water, reuse action plan really helps open people’s eyes to you know, just a variety of reasons you might want to pursue. Reuse thanks to you both now. Let’s take some questions from our online audience. Maybe this goes to the question of outreach and communication.
Many water customers may be unwilling to reuse what is viewed as dirty water. What tools have been proven effective at changing the minds of large populations on this issue? I’ll be happy to jump in because I’m ready, yeah one of the tools. This is so far reused water right here, clear demonstrations of how you can use it. So when we started out our public action campaign, we did a whole in-depth interviews with some critical decision makers throughout our region and throughout the state. And then we actually did some focus groups where we learned a whole lot about messaging and what makes people think differently about reused, water and the thing that came really clear and we’ve learned this from other parts of the country and world as well. A lot of people need to see the actual technology in action to be able to taste the water if they’re willing to, and so we invested in a million gallon at a facility.
That’s also not just a demonstration facility to show off the technology, but has a great public interaction and education piece and you can come there and taste the water like I said we take the water on the road and drink it, it’s not for sale. But it’s an it’s a demonstration product and we talk later about how challenging that is without regulations around potable reefs anyway, the education piece has been relatively successful by letting people see touch and taste. I don’t know how your experience has been with the same thing: Ted. Well, second, that almost exactly in Florida, we have put together very much the same thing. These pilots, that several of our different municipalities who are looking at doing direct potable reuse. They have included either trailers that can go from place to place to demonstrate what the technology is, what the water looks and tastes like we’ve gone steps further and making beer with it. That is, that has been an excellent way to start the conversation with folks.
We’ve used natural, you Brewers around the state home brewers to produce beer from our highly treated reclaimed water. So, it’s been very much a conversation of show and tell you know, demonstrating which also builds a lot of trust. I’M working with school systems throughout the state has also been highly beneficial. Kids. Get it right away. You know they get over the ick factor very quickly, so this showing the technology having the conversation having these outreach plans result. We’ve also used surveys to gauge where the public is on their education and their perspective. So, it’s really been a multi-faceted and but more than anything, the conversation is very fluid right now, I think using the one water approach really understanding the entire water cycle.
People are starting to get this, and we’ve been using many platforms on from short videos to social media. As Ted said, these demonstrations, where folks can come out and look and see, have the conversation with US government folks that maybe we can be trusted. So, it’s been a multi-faceted process, but really, it’s that education and outreach portion that’s been helping greatly great. Thank You Lynne.
I’d like to direct this next question to you. Both of you deal in a large-scale system approach, but at a small scale. How can households reuse water can gray water from showers or washing dishes or clothes be recycled for other uses? Yes, and in our state, we have what we call water management districts that are work underneath the department Environment Protection that help local areas with what you can do to recycle and conserve water. So, there are a lot of tools in our toolbox for the public to reach out to websites.
They can go to workshops on how to do everything from in Florida. We, you know it’s very lavish plant life here, so we concentrate a lot on how to make sure that you’re doing proper landscaping, water conservation, rain barrels, ray use for water, so that we’ve been making a lot of headway right now in our rules and regulations, we’ve Been trying to incorporate better rules for gray water, also, so at the local level.
I think there are a lot of places that Floridians can reach out to understand how to better, recycle our natural resource and so that’s available in a lot of places everywhere from our Water Management District. Our Florida Department, environment, section water fees Florida has information on their website, so I think folks are wanting to be part of that equation. Ted is: is this a part of the Swiftwater program, the notion of doing water reuse at a local scale? Not really, it’s hard to scale this day, the way we’re taking water all the way to drinking water standards. But we are throughout the region and even in our own buildings, capturing rainwater off the roofs and using that through for flushing, trying to set the standard, at least on a building level of how you can reuse your own water or use other water in place of The valuable drinking water for things like flushing, so that’s happening in our region, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, has a living building here.
Their headquarters in Virginia is one of the few Green Building Living Building Challenge facilities. It’s totally off the grid. They do have them. They collect their rainwater for drinking water, they use composting toilets. So there’s small things like that happen in our region, but from our Swiftwater perspective, the technology we’re using to treat water all the way to drinking water, which was a carbon-based technology, just doesn’t scale down to the house size yet really encouraged by things. San Francisco is doing the San Francisco Public Utilities. Commission is doing a lot of building scale, reuse, that’s just there, leading the nation, maybe leaving the world, and finding ways to make that happen, and so a lot of things going on the United States. That way, we’re just not quite there yet. Thank You, Lynn. In your opening remarks, you talked about the importance of agriculture and strawberries. Take a little deeper dive. How can water that’s reused, be done safely and effectively for agriculture?
Well, I’ll start by saying that it has been a challenge to work with some farmers and the end user. Is that I think the farmers pretty much get it on that using recycled water to irrigate who is safe. But that was a big challenge for the end-user and the distributors, but what we’re finding now that probably a more resourceful way to support our agricultural community is to put the water back into the aquifer, so it’s there for them. I think that that makes more sense for everybody, instead of typing it and irrigating, so you have a potable pipe supply and then a reclaimed water pipe supply to your aid, so we’re finding that more effectively. We can just replenish the supplies that it’s there for agriculture, and agriculture has been part of that equation, understanding that that’s a that they have limits on their water use, and this could help them with those limits, but also the perspective direct application of irrigating with Reclaimed water was a challenge to overcome with the public and putting it back into the aquifer doesn’t produce that so that’s kind of where we’re at right now in Florida.
Instead of insisting that farms take it directly for application that we were punished to supply. So, it’s there for them to use. Thank you, Joe. Am I jumping on so yeah one of the things we learned along the way was by putting the water in the aquifer. We can pull it out anywhere until you do as Lynn’s point out you luminate the need to direct pipe to a particular industry or to agricultural irrigation needs. One of our senators refers to that as a wireless solution to distribution and it’s it really is great back in 2008 timeframe, when we were going through our last economic challenges as part of the stimulus plan, we were looking at piping to one of the large Users and would have been a 200 million dollar pipeline to supply them with reclaimed water and shortly after that, as part of the world economic challenges that particular facility shut down. So, we would have built a 200-million-dollar pipeline, then nowhere.
So, I’m glad we didn’t do that, but that’s again a demonstration of lots of challenging to do a direct pipe to a particular user and using the aquifer and we’re blessed. I think that Florida, that, by putting the water in one location, you can pull it out many others, so I think that’s a great point to make. So. Thank you, Lynn. Thank you. Both Nusrat con who’s, director of water and gender for riverine people in Bangladesh asks there is a big challenge for women from disaster prone countries like Bangladesh, where the water crisis of drinking water becomes greater each day. How can surface water surf surface water sources be reserved for the future Ted? You know, I think that thing reads just fits right into there. I mean I with limited surface to water. We need to use it again and continue to reuse it put it back and treat it again and continue to find ways to not have to waste water. And so I think that is a big part of it and I think both in Florida and Virginia were talking about putting it back in the ground where you have an aquifer, where there’s less evaporative loss, there’s less chance of any kind of contamination from some sort of spill into the surface water, so if you can use an aquifer, that’s a great way to preserve a water source, a little bit longer but again surface water protection of that its source, water protection.
So, looking at the whole watershed making sure that you’re doing what you can to keep it fresh and then reusing and putting it back in there in a very clean fashion would be helpful. Then you had a positive reaction to this yeah, I’ll. Add that that, basically, what you’re doing when you have a direct potable supply, so you’re producing the direct supply from your wastewater is you’re offsetting your need for the surface water supply. As Ted said here in in Florida and Virginia, we can put the water back into the drinking water aquifer. Well, some places don’t have that luxury. They don’t have a close enough drinking water aquifer supply under the ground. It’s more of a surface water supply, so direct potable really is something that can be used to offset the need for that surface. Water supply great from Americans. Space coulomb in Tajikistan is. The question is: is the United States able to reuse water from sources like washing for drinking water and if, yes, what kind of technologies can be used to filter these sources?
Well, you know, I think, the fact that we’re using waste water, wastewater stream that comes our treatment plants, which includes pretty much every source, now we’re very careful about industrial sources, so there’s pretreatment standards and we’re monitoring of any industrial charge into our system. But essentially, we get wash water, we get any kind of water. Yeast that gets put into the sewer system ends up coming to us, and so we’re using one of the things that makes us a little bit unique is we’re using carbon-based technology as opposed to a membrane-based technology. So we’re using a series of protective processes backed back and I think in most potable reuse, applications you’ll find multiple barriers is really the term where you, you continue to add treatment, processes to make sure that you’re removing everything that’s possible. So, in our case, the big issues are we oxidize using ozone, so we had a zone after we take it through a filtering step, so traditional water filtering, followed by adding ozone, then we go to a grandeur by illogical filter, so we actually allow some microbes to Do their business and break down waste further.
We go out of the biological filter into a granular activated carbon filter, which really polishes and gets a lot of a very the challenging constituents in wastewater today, which include pharmaceuticals and hormones and pee fasts and pee fella, and All the things that you you’re really concerned about that comes out finding this polishing step through adsorption, that we add we’re using a UV disinfection and a little chlorine at the end, so multiple barriers, we constantly use a hazard control process where we’re actually throughout the process. Measuring the progress and if at any point we’re not meeting our standards, we just bring it back to the beginning of our treatment plant and start over again.
So a lot of automation, a lot of technology and a whole lot of testing going on to make sure that the water is pure when we get finished thanks Ted, if you’re just joining us today, we’re discussing water reuse as a tool in addressing global water Security in the second half of our program today we’ll take a closer look at local best practices for water reuse. Each state in the United States has its own challenges and priorities when it comes to water scarcity, sustainability, and reuse. Some states have established new programs to specifically address use and some have incorporated water reuse into their existing programs. In the best cases, public outreach happens early and often it’s important to build trust, educate communities, hear the needs and perspectives of all stakeholders and work together, design. A reuse program, but that is certainly a big challenge.
Lynn, how have you tackled the challenges that that you face for implementing water reuse at the local level? Well I’ll talk a little bit about our state level first, because fortunately, our organizations, our professional organizations, and associations in Florida very, are very collaborative. So, we have conversations across the state in Florida, water ease Florida led the action to develop a portable reuse Commission, which included 11 stakeholders and those stakeholders were municipalities, local municipalities, water municipalities and then outside stakeholders that included agriculture. The Department of Health, academia from the public health aspect and then industry they’re again. The key word here is a collaborative conversation about the importance of the water cycle and how-to best deal with that holistically at the local level.
Municipalities are really talking to their end users, about the cost of water, how its recycled, what it takes to treat it and how important it is to keep it as a valuable resource. So, our plans now are integrated water plans, including include the recycling of water. At my local level, because again we have an agricultural base, we’re talking, and we have wetlands that surround us. I think Ted has a lot of that too in Virginia, but in Florida we have a lot of natural wetlands, we’re also finding that our reuse can help recharge these wetlands and periods of droughts. We go from severe droughts, severe flooding, so we’re, including really an integrated water plan and everything that we use, and that really starts with a conversation with your local community. Here’s how our water is treated. Here’s our water is used.
Here’s why we need water. Here’s agriculture right here locally, that needs water, here’s industry that needs water. So, it’s really an ongoing conversation where we have workshops surveys demonstrations. It really needs to be a collaborative effort between the local municipalities and the community that they serve the more that we have. That conversation and that understanding the better that they can effectively treat the water cycle. Thank You, Lynn. Ted. Your thoughts on the challenges so yeah how well this relates to the international world. United States is interesting with each state having its own sort of regulations. Virginia was very slow to regulate, reuse. They were very much trying to either kick the can down.
The road didn’t want to deal with it. So, what was amazing is there’s a large reefs project that dates to the late seventies in Virginia in Northern Virginia near DC. Actually so the upper aqua pond service Authority’s been discharging their wastewater treated wastewater into a reservoir that provides drinking water for about a million people in the Fairfax County area and you’d go around the world and you’d hear about this project. And you talk about in Virginia and no one knew about it. They didn’t want anyone to pay attention to what was going on up there. I don’t know if they didn’t want to see it on a larger scale. They were afraid of public reaction, but it’s been an incredibly successful program for you know, 40-plus years.
So you know the state finally started talking about meeting some reuse regulations. They continued to not quite capture the need for potable reuse, and so at this point, Virginia human consumption of reclaimed water is still against the law, and yet we’ve been able to figure out how to get around that through use of environmental buffers through use of products and we’re trying to get approval to brew beer. Like Lynn was talking about, but and then to get a little more fine-grained as you’re aware, Jeff states have the option of becoming the prime marry regulator for water issues like other issues in a pass area Virginia to primacy. So, we have.
The state has regulatory require responsibility for all water issues, with the exception of underground injection, so the underground injection control program, which is what we need to be permitted for to put our water back into the aquifer, was never part of the state’s responsibility. So, we’re directly with EPA for that and we found that to be wonderful because now we’re dealing with national experts at the EPA level. So maybe no everything doesn’t need to be delegated down to the state, so they even get some consistency. So maybe this is an example where you know a national policy and national regulation makes some sense and so we’re really enjoying the work we were having directly with EPA for this permitting process.
Now, as you can imagine the state, it’s a little concerned about delegating sort of that authority back to EPA for this large project – that’s really a Commonwealth natural resource here in Virginia, and so what we did is we created an Oversight Committee of and did this through Legislation at the state level, so there’s an Oversight Committee which includes the Health Commissioner, the head of our department of Bergamo quality and a number of other folks, including a practicing physician in our area. So, some citizen appointees. This Oversight Committee is to keep an eye on what we’re providing the EPA on our permit, as well as a monitoring lab, which is a partnership between two Virginia universities to check behind us on the science. So, we’ve built some interesting regulatory or regulatory workarounds here in Virginia, but it’s kind of working and we think it’s not a bad model at this point. Thank You. Ted Lynn, I’d like to follow up by asking what some of the successes are that your community is achieved for water reuse.
Well, we have public X threes that we do deliver to our community, but really, I think the success comes in conversation. The conversations that we’re now having to better understand the one water cycle, sorry, I think the successes that we have is we have a great conversation going on right now with our agricultural community, so the effort is now instead of a separate adversarial, it’s very collaborative, so It I think the success is more of an understanding that of the Chawla water is treated, how the water should be recycled back into the aquifer used directly and really how this resource is in something that is infinite. As Ted was saying, we have a limited supply and to make sure that we can grow that we can support. You know the doubling of our population by 2035. I believe we’re going to need another billion gallons of water, how to properly do that.
How to manage our water system, so I think the success really comes in a wider perspective, not just of the public but really of the utility sector also, and how to properly treat this resource thanks, Lynn, and Ted. Where have you seen some of your early successes, so I think the wide acceptance rather fast acceptance of what our proposal is here, we’re talking about, ultimately being at 150 million gallons a day going into the ground. You know close to that at some point. About 2030 timeframe – and at this point it’s almost an accepted fact around the Virginia environmental groups, any of the citizen groups we talked to you seem to be encouraging us to move faster and do this. I think the success has been and I’d say largely due to other. You know leaders across the nation. You know the folks in Florida that really doing reuse like Lynn for a long time, Orange County and California, which has been putting water back in the ground. For twenty four years, I guess at this point Singapore’s famous reuse program.
Now you know all those folks had to fight a lot harder than we are because they succeeded, and I think so this the success in our end has been. You know really why public acceptance, I think I wasn’t saying now that I just couldn’t envision ten years ago or even 20 yeah, maybe five years ago, would have been a challenge, but it’s almost being demanded by the public that we are more responsible by our Water as a whole, so people are watching everything about water much closer than they ever have, and I think that’s the success for the industry as well as for HRC, thanks to you both now.
Let’s take some more questions from the our online audience: Josh Ganar from Chennai India asks we have had a wastewater reuse program with endures industrial use from 1991, with 90 million liters per day capacity. We were developing a project to recharge lakes and deep aquifers. What research or work can you suggest we learn from Ted? Would you like to try to start with that one sure there’s a tremendous amount of ongoing research and I would encourage you – know: we’ve everybody’s pretty open in the water sector as far as sharing that so the water environment Federation has done a lot of research. The water Research Foundation in the United States has done a lot of research work and continues to do so utilities across the U.S.
Are partnering together to continue to advance various technology research we’ve been learning from Orange County we’ve been learning from other carbon users across the world, so you know I can’t point to a specific source. I’D start with a water reuse foundation. So Worth is a great source of making compile quite a bit of existing research and point folks in the right direction and I’m sure they would welcome that discussion. I’M looking source to use! Sorry, sorry, what’s one source for research, do you rely on I’ll? Second, with Ted saying also, the Water Research Foundation has helped many states put together their framework documents so that site in and of itself will have to all kinds of information. So, the water reuse, national water, reuse, if you go to that website, also will have links to just an amazing amount of information.
Of course, the EPA website, so I think any of the organizations the water environment Federation is, as Ted said, will have just an amazing amount of information and provide links across the state. What’s what we’re doing here and Jeff, I would just put a plug in a you know, EPA, why I’d like to say you’d be the first place. We turn just haven’t, been funded adequately to continue the research and we’d like to see more research coming from EPA, and we recognize that that needs money, and so we are supportive of all the research EPA is doing, but would love to see some more money Funded your way and may continue that national level research so you’re both going to enjoy this next question: how does drinking water from other sources compare with drinking water from reuse or to bottled water?
Is there any issue with viruses or bacteria, since people may be concerned about that we’d like to start I’ll, tackle that maybe first and to talk a little bit about the treatment technologies? I think what we’re developing in our technologies for indirect and direct potable, or really do the treatment technologies that are going to be used in the future for all our treatment. Our multi-barrier processes that we have both using membrane and non-membrane sources as a dead system has been able to treat down to emerging constituents that we don’t even have limits. Or yet we don’t know their health effects, we’re not sure they’re not regulated on the drinking water side, but we’re treating to those very, very low levels for all these emerging constituents. So, this is an incredibly safe supply, very documented as to what the treatment is. You don’t see that in other industries such as the bottled water industry, for instance, so this is a very safe supply, very transparent, multi-barrier, lots of analysis right now.
We’ve got thousands and thousands of analyses from our different on pilot systems across the United States. In a really across Florida that show the safety of this source and this type of treatment, and I do think that in the future, probably all of our water will be treated with the kind of technology that we’re using now for breweries Ted. As you answer this question, you must lift up your bottle of swim, so I would say we claim this is the most tested water you’ll ever drink. We know by far the we’re doing more analyses, as Lynn pointed out on our water than any of the bottled water or even any, of our surface water supply to our residents, and so we do post our tests. So we’ve got a consumer confidence report just like any other drinking water source would have on our website so, and it shows that we test for many more constituents than our standard drink water, not to throw the surface water sources under the bus.
But we did go out and do some sampling of surface water from our taps around our region and found many more things in that than we’re finding in our own reclaimed water. So, the big difference is we’re looking for it and we’re developing treatment processes to take it out. I think any other water source for the most part hasn’t been looking hard for that and we’re held, I would say, a higher standard and we probably need to be especially using wastewater as a drinking water source. So, I don’t mind the fact we’re held to higher standards. I do kind of bristle a bit at the fact that traditional surface water, well, water and bottled water are not held of those same standards. I think, as Ling said someday, they will be. Thank you both this is going to a different scale question. Do you have any ideas or recommendations for House level, water, reuse from wastewater or rain that are powered by solar? Any experience in that area?
No, but I’d love to see it so I’m working on it, but no I had I don’t know anything about that. We’ll take that as a question that stumped the panel right another question from American space, conjoined and Tajikistan. How many times can water be reused? What are some of the main uses for recycled water Lyn? Do you want to start with that? How many times going to be reused? I’M not sure, there’s a limit to how many times it can be reused. I think what we’re showing is that we have the science and the technology to separate anything. I mean we see this using another process, such as dialysis, where we take blood out purify and put it back into the body.
So, these treatments are available, and I don’t think that there is a limit to how many times we can recycle the water. As far as what it can be used for again, we’re beneficially using this water for all kinds of resources, hydrating our wetlands offsetting our potable supply anywhere, where you would need water. We also serve our industries on with this water. So I’m not sure that there are limits on either end of that equation and I think that’s a beautiful thing and I would agree – and I think in the water reaction when we talk about more research around fit for purpose, because one issue we have is depending What you’re using the water for you don’t need to treat it all the same way, and so I think, if we get used to that as a nation invading the world and treat for purpose as opposed to making all water drinking water, we could save energy save Money and ensure even greater use of grease, but it’s is treating fit for purpose, would be a really good idea on a broad scale and right now I think that’s challenging the United States. If you were using water, putting it in any kind of potential future drinking water supply, but the need to take it to very low levels, essentially, meeting drinking water standards is almost a public pressure more than a scientific requirement.
That’s the economics, though I think in the future, will dictate the you know the right treatment for the right views. We have a question from American Joe Kent in Tajikistan. How can we be sure that our water is safe to drink? Perhaps this goes to the monitoring and testing a piece we need to have multi barriers, but you also need to have a lot of testing and analysis and so and to prove that those barriers function the way they’re supposed to, and I think once we get comfortable With technology-based standards, we know what the technology will produce. Then we can be confident just based on the technology, but we always have regular testing, just like you do with any other drinking water source to make sure that it’s safe.
So, it’s trust in government trust in the organization, that’s doing the testing and I think we’re building that trust as we go. I think one of them, perhaps it may be a skewed perception, is that this happens very quickly. The process is very quick when in fact it’s not there are there’s a lot of time for the analysis of the treatment processes is, doesn’t just happen, you’re treated in your garage of distribution, so you have the time to have the barriers. The analysis, you know the reject plans, if needed, so it’s teaching the public that this treatment system it doesn’t happen in five minutes later you have your water, we have the time we have the monitoring, we have the science and as long as that’s all done correctly, We have stage supplies a question from Americans space in collab. We understand that the water can be reused for toilet flushing, but what about water for agricultural purposes? How can we reuse water and agriculture? Lyn sounds like you yeah. We do that in Florida in we treat the water it’s analyzed for to make sure that it’s safe and then we can either directly apply it right to the root system. We do that with our citrus groups, avocados, where we irrigate directly but again also by treating it and putting it back into the aquifer, so the supply is there.
We make sure that it’s there for the agricultural base, but in a lot of places we are doing direct application of irrigating for our crops, especially crops that have skins on them. So, it’s not directly touching so we’ve managed to get around that quite a bit and now we’re looking at further just making sure that we have the supply for agriculture, a question from American Kent in Tajikistan. What contaminants might be found in groundwater, and how can they be dealt with as the water is being treated in the U.S.
We’re dealing with a lot of contaminated groundwater in different localities, firefighting, foam it around military bases and has introduced these P fast, P, FOA, per fluorinated compounds which are a challenge for traditional treatment, so that that’s a groundwater issue. Over the years in the United States, we’ve had leaking underground storage tanks for petroleum products, so we’ve had some hydrocarbons and some other additives from gasoline that have caused problems. And then you know the dry cleaners and the you know.
If you roll the clock back further United States, we had a lot of dry-cleaning solvents that ended up being a very challenged to remove from the groundwater once they got into the groundwater supply. So, we’ve had our share of various human introduced contaminants, but for the most part beyond those are at least our experience has been. The groundwater is in pretty good shape. It’s slow in our hydrology. It’s very slow-moving. It’s old! It’s been in the ground for a long time prior to having a lot of those compounds so most of these effects, surface water or very shallow aquifer areas we’re dealing with a deep aquifer that doesn’t really have the impact of human related contaminants.
Out of what you’re experiencing penguin same thing, second, animus, exactly and unfortunately, here in Florida, we do have a natural large sand filter across our entire state, which has also helped us to keep our groundwater supplies pretty pure right now and in a lot of parts of The state we just simply pull it out and disinfect it with brain, so we don’t have a lot of contaminants except this, as Ted said, and pockets of areas where we’ve had industry. You know anything from jet fuel to dry cleaners. So, we pretty much understand or source supply and the contaminants that are available and again we have developed treatment technologies around those I’ll be interested in how both of you answer this one from American space panda Kenton Tajikistan.
How does US water quality compared to the water quality and the rest of the world? It’s got to be the best now I know I think we’ve got a we’re learning a lot from another place. I mentioned Singapore earlier I visited Israel on a water trip back in the late 2000s and they were way ahead on irrigation, reuse, 95 % of the water. So, I think we’ve we’re learning.
Is it less or leading the way on reuse, I’d, say our availability of fresh, safe drinking water? Is you know as good as any developed country, maybe better, but we recognize that there’s lots of countries that are challenged with finding clean water sources on a daily basis, and I think there’s a lot of nonprofits in the US that are trying to help some of Those undeveloped countries develop clean water sources and keep them clean, and we recognize that it really separates what you can do with your time.
If you don’t have to worry about water every day and where you clean water is coming from, but I think we compared to every other developed country – and I don’t know that were better or worse but I’ll. Let Linda chime in there’s. I’m going to try to take am a high level approaches this and say that one thing that I think I’ve seen in is that we’re conversing now across the globe and that we understand really that our water source is a global source.
It isn’t, you know, an American source, an international source, it’s connected across the wall, so we’re trying to, I think, learn how to treat this as a global resource and how to do that across the globe properly, because each of us do have regional aspects that we Need to deal with the water from places that are desert to places that that have too much water. So, I think that that what we have now is a conversation about how this water really is a global source and how to treat it effectively at each of our locations, so that a room remains a trusted global source.
You both are ready for the diplomatic or the next question from Sheikh row. Cons, who is secretary general of riverine people in Bangladesh, in regions like South Asia, dams on rivers are one of the major reasons for surface water scarcity. What are the tools for water sharing or basin-wide Water Resources Management? How can water reuse play a role in that Basin? Wide management Ted you’ve had some dams on Virginia rivers yeah. I think I’m not trying to dodge this, but I’d say Florida and we might have some better regional water planning.
They’ve got some great water districts in Florida. We’re pretty challenged we’re very broken up into individual water, purveyors, and water suppliers throughout the state. So, it’s much more done on the local level and not as coordinated as it needs to be. I think we can learn more from some of the other states. So, I’d say we don’t have the answer Virginia. We still look at it very much. A pro keel from who sort of got the water and it becomes it – does become a water war. You know we can trace back history here in just our region, where city of Norfolk was one of the first cities locally, and they grabbed a lot of the surface water sources and controlled it and held it over everybody else for a long time, and those are Challenges that we just haven’t solved when we’re solving them, because we’ve made a lot more mistakes.
You know we’ve done everything from straighten out rivers throughout our state and now we’re correcting them back to where they were at the cost of billions of dollars. So, we understand really, I think, at this point, our water management districts were set up to effectively help us plan on a regional aspect of our water management. Districts have about 16 or so counties within Florida each, but they work all together to help us develop regional plans, because some of our water is generated in North Florida for the supply to South Florida. So now that we understand this again, the science has helped a lot in our ability to model better and understand both groundwater and surface water aspects and how that water is connected.
So our approach has to be regional, we’re now being forced to work on a regional level, and I say for say thing: I think again: each local municipality, that’s own Little Kingdom, but now we’re being forced to work with our neighboring communities and make sure that the Water use that we’re using isn’t taking from the water use in the next district, so I see that happening. You know more on a scale across the states with each regional, so five plans integrated supply plans. So, I think that that’s happening and I’m hoping that it’s going to spread right. That’s a nice segue to our final question: what advice would you give for cities or regions that are interested to pilot or pursue water use programs Lin? Would you like to start with that sure not to reinvent the wheel, there’s a lot of information out there already about these pilot systems?
We have some fantastic science out there and membrane technology companies and again the advanced carbon type systems that have already been working in these treatment trains. Several different options on treatment trains, so no reinvention of the wheel needs to be done here. There’s a lot of information and I think what you’re finding is that lots of folks on a share their experiences. There don’t do this and do this instead, so there’s a lot of lessons learned out there so and it’s a sharing of information right now. I think we very much are in a phase where we’re wanting to reach out and see what’s been done across the world successfully what we can do here successfully. So, I think that we’re at really a high point right now of the sharing of information, and you know I think I would add everything – wins transparency by the government whoever’s.
Looking at this, you need to involve the community early, be very open and transparent, with what your goals are, what you’re trying to do and help them understand the science behind it that transparency piece also went to decision maker. So, we spent a lot of time, not necessarily asking elected officials, to support this concept when it was just an idea. We just told them, don’t go against it. Let us show you the science, let us prove the concept before you shut the door on us, and so it was a collaborative, transparent effort from the beginning, and I think that really pays off well. It looks like we’re out of time.