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Sacramento's Water Recycling Program: Starting Small but Thinking Big!

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As Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (SRCSD) enters into the 21st century, it is clear that California will continue to have water shortages and more stringent regulations on wastewater discharge to receiving waters. SRCSD owns and operates the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant (SRWTP), with a permitted dry weather capacity of 181 MGD, which went into service in 1982. Since it's inception, SRWTP has discharged it's effluent to the Sacramento River. The process of developing TMDLs for the Sacramento River, more stringent NPDES permit requirements and a general increase in regulations on SRWTP wastewater discharges, has created a situation where it is prudent for SRCSD to consider effluent discharge alternatives, such as water recycling. In addition to increased regulations on wastewater discharge, Sacramento County, similar to all of California, continues to experience a prolonged period of growth. Growth that can only be supported by increased water supplies. Unfortunately, California and Sacramento County have little in remaining water resources to supply the burgeoning growth. This regulatory and water supply climate have created opportunities where the SRCSD can supply a valuable water resource in recycled water to reduce discharge to the Sacramento River, while reducing demand on potable water.

SRCSD has constructed a 5-MGD water recycling plant to deliver recycled water for landscape irrigation and industrial use to a new community in the vicinity of the SRWTP. Additionally, the water recycling plant was designed and permitted to be expandable to 10-MGD as recycled water demands increase. Development and planning in the vicinity of SRWTP has incorporated the use of recycled water into its water supply resources. It is expected that sufficient growth will occur over the next 10 years in the vicinity of the SRWTP for recycled water demand to increase to the point where it is necessary to expand the recycled water plant to its 10-MGD capacity. The SRCSD proactively implemented this smaller scale water recycling facility to assist with its planning efforts for possible large scale water recycling to reduce effluent discharge and decrease demand on limited potable water resources.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2002

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