Did you know using reclaimed water for irrigation comes with some restrictions. Reclaimed or recycled water is former wastewater (sewage) that is treated to remove solids and impurities. It has been widely used as a tool to keep landscaping irrigated in drought ridden states. However, due to the intense process involved in removing impurities, human contact should be avoided.
As the graph shows, water that is used in households is sent through a series of processes, before it is ready to be re-used. The first few processes remove solid waste, heavy metals, and grit. The last steps involve clarification, filtration and disinfection. In order to disinfect, a heavy amount of chlorine is used making it super-chlorinated, and not fit for drinking. Human contact with the heavily chlorinated water is prohibited and requires restrictions.
To help achieve this, automatic watering (using irrigation timeclocks) can only occur from 6pm to 9am. Watering can occur at other times, as long as an irrigation technician is present to monitor the situation, as shown in the adjacent photo.
The irrigation technician has turned on the sprinkler system for the lawn to check coverage and help eliminate “hot spots”. In addition, he will monitor anyone near the lawn for safety issues. For instance, if a child is playing on the tot-lot in the background, Health and Safety Codes require that a technician needs to be present. He will make sure the child does not play in the water or use the sprinklers as a “drinking fountain.”
Reclaimed water is a great tool to meet the water needs of a community. However, strict protocols must be followed in order to maintain the health and safety of those living in the surrounding residences. To view sample Rules and Regulations and other information from the City of San Diego, please visit: www.sandiego.gov/water/recycled/
Paul Mayeski is the Manuals and Inspections Manager for ProTec Building Services. He is a Recycled Water Site Supervisor for San Diego County.
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