News Feature | September 22, 2016

California Takes ‘Historic Step' Towards Widespread DPR

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

California regulators took a step closer to allowing direct potable reuse (DPR) this month, releasing a study about the feasibility of using this treatment practice in the drought-plagued state.

Stakeholders have until the end of December to comment on the draft report before it is submitted to the state legislature, according to a release from the California Water Resources Control Board. State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus called the draft “a historic step.”

“We need to take a thoughtful and deliberate approach to diversifying and securing our long term water resilience. Today’s draft, focused on the feasibility of direct potable reuse, is one part of a multifaceted effort that includes a wide range of sources, including indirect potable reuse through groundwater recharge, surface water augmentation, storm water capture, and desalination,” she said in a statement.

Citing “critical knowledge gaps,” the draft report concluded that moving ahead on direct potable reuse is “feasible,” but that more research is needed to enhance the “understanding and acceptance” of the practice in California.

The report provided a number of recommendations to guide the regulatory process. In the short-term, the board wants to see more research in DPR treatment methods.

“The State Water Board recommends that short term research be conducted to identify suitable treatment options for final treatment processes that can provide some attenuation with respect to potential chemical peaks (in particular, for chemicals that have the potential to persist through advanced water treatment), which may be best conducted by the water and wastewater industry as an engineering application,” the report said.

“The State Water Board recommends that the research to develop more comprehensive methods to identify low molecular weight unknown compounds for DPR, including non-targeted analysis as a screening tool, be conducted,” the report said.

Drought remains a major challenge in California despite the fact that regulators loosened mandatory conservation rules in the state this year. No area of the state has completely vanquished drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

For similar stories visit Water Online’s Water Reuse Solutions Center.