News Feature | July 28, 2014

Utility Offers Free Treated Wastewater To Residential Customers

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome


A sewer district in California is giving away free treated water. 

"Toting empty milk jugs, tubs, buckets, even water tanks, residents have been lining up to fill 'em up since mid-June at what sewer district officials say is the only plant giving away free treated effluent to residential customers," the Contra Costa Times reported

Why the generosity? Because the district wanted to help locals cope with the drought and resultant conservation standards.

"District employees came up with the water fill station idea during a brainstorming session on how to help Tri-Valley residents cope with some of the region's most severe water shortages. Local water suppliers have ordered customers to cut use 25 percent and limit watering lawns to twice a week," the report said. 

Initially, it was unclear whether anyone would even want this gift. 

"Dublin San Ramon Services District officials say they weren't sure there would be any takers, but about 60 eager do-it-yourselfers are now making regular runs to haul water to irrigate their yards and vegetable gardens, fill decorative fountains, wash off horses and control dust at stables," the report said. 

The district stresses that the water is clean and high-quality. 

"Recycled water used in Dublin and San Ramon meets all regulatory requirements for unrestricted reuse as well as guidelines for managing salts in the groundwater basin under the Tri-Valley," the district said. "The DSRSD laboratory tests the parameters listed in the table on a monthly basis to ensure recycled water used for irrigation will not harm landscaping, as well as to monitor salts returned to the watershed."

A significant amount of water is being handled in this area. "On average, Dublin, Pleasanton, and southern San Ramon generate more than 11 million gallons of wastewater daily, which must be handled efficiently and safely to protect public health. Last year, over one billion gallons of the treated wastewater was purified further, disinfected and then delivered to community landscaping as recycled water," Dublin Patch reported

Check out Water Online's Water Reuse Solution Center

Image credit: "Sewage treatment plant," Sustainable sanitation © 2011, used under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license:

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