Talk:Reclaimed water

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Is it safe to drink or what?[edit]

Many cities actually ban citizens from drinking, bathing in, or filling swimming pools with reclaimed water, although the risk of harmful effects associated with doing so are very low. If you irrigate your lawn or plants with reclaimed water, you should place a sign on your property warning people not to drink from the irrigation system.

These two sentences seem to contradict each other. Why is a sign needed if it's so safe - usually safer, the previous text claims, than fresh water from the tap? Tempshill 03:00, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

ITS DEFINITELY NOT. I personally changed this article because i could not beleive that someone actually wrote that it was CLEANER than drinking water becasue it has removed some of the moinerals present in drinking water. You can actually smel the sewage in reclaimed water when people use it in sprinklers and other things. There are nearly 30 different chemicals present in it including hormones like birth control and pharmaceuticals and other things that the long-term effects on the human body are unknown. No one should EVER drink reclaimed water. [This unsigned comment was made by User]

Note to editor... The chemicals you claim to be found In reclaimed water are also found in the aquifers. And most if not all surface water. Please do more through research before making such claims — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:47, 26 November 2017 (UTC)

Please do your research and cite your sources when making those types of changes to an article (changing "reclaimed water is often cleaner than standard drinking water" to "reclaimed water is unsanitary"). I edited the article to make note of the fact that some pharmaceutical chemicals pass through the filtering process, but it is easy to find at multiple sources that reclaimed water is usually treated to higher standards than ordinary drinking water in order to ease people's concerns about it being unsanitary. --taestell 01:21, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

Reclaimed water can be made clean to any arbitrary level required. In NSW, Australia, reclaimed water is indeed made cleaner than ordinary "tap water". There are political/psychological reasons it is not actually used for drinking, but it is completely potable. Ordinary Person 00:17, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Edit of 06:06, 3 February 2007 by

However, the U.S. has found similar tests unreliable.

You can't just say 'the US' without refering to a specific organisation. Additionally, editing this sentence in where you have gives the casual reader the impression that the pre-existing reference which now follows the new sentence contains information supporting the new information, which is most certainly does not (at no stage during the transcript is any U.S. organisation mentioned). Draffa 22:12, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Reclaimed water and potable water[edit]

The current text includes this line:

Reclaimed water is not directly mixed with potable (drinking) water for several reasons:

This seems a very broad statement. Currently reclaimed water is turned into potable water in various places, by feeding the reclaimed water back into the dams that provide water that is made potable and distributed as tap water.

That is to say, "reclaimed water" and "potable water" are two intersecting sets, not mutually exclusive categories. Ordinary Person 00:16, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Recycled Water is the Future[edit]

The ignorant barrier some people have created upon themselves is unbeleiveable. Do your research... recycled water is perfectly fine to wash, bath-in or drink. It is water treated after the secondary treatment and through the processes of Microfiltration and Reverse Osmosis. And.....yes by this stage it is perfectly fine to drink. No you will not get diseased, sick, or someway deformed. All you will get is pure drinking water. I believe you are deeply inconsiderate if your are against recycled water. Grow up....learn the facts....its not sewage. Plus other alternatives such as dessalinisation, just arn't a viable long-term solution (high costs and high usage of electricity). Ignorance can be overcome quite do just that.

No one knows what pollutants or mircrobes remain in reclaimed effluent. Leading experts who are not in the employ of the huge wastewater industry warn of risks to public health. Do your research.Notindustry (talk) 23:13, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

"often as clean as (or cleaner than) standard drinking water"[edit]

The reference provided lists a number of properties of reclaimed water but does not compare to standard drinking water. And the properties listed are not all the possible measures of how "clean" the water is. -- Barrylb 04:31, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Reclaimed water used for irrigation does not have reverse osmosis or microfiltation. According to USDA, "Using present technologies, municipal wastewater may not completely disinfect recycled irrigation waters,and can contain enough pathogenic organisms to threaten human health once released into the environment" US Dept of Agriculture, 2005 report. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Notindustry (talkcontribs) 15:51, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

Recycled or reclaimed[edit]

Google has more hits for "recycled water" than "reclaimed water". Currently recycled water redirects to reclaimed water. Perhaps it should be the other way around. -- Barrylb 12:42, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Reclaimed irrigation water does not use reverse osmosis or mircrofiltration. According to USDA "Using present technologies, municipal wastewater treatment may not completely disinfect recycled irrigation waters,...Recycled water used for agricultural and municipal irrigation can contain enough pathogenic organisms to threaten human health once released to the environment." The same report says that organic chemicals in reclaimed pose an unknown risk to the environment. US Dept of Agriculture, 2005 annual report.Notindustry (talk) 16:06, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

As a Matter of Fact[edit]

Payson, Arizona lies at an altitude of about 5,000-Ft at the foot of the Mogollon Rim. It is arid (20-24 inches rainfall average) but not a desert : Ponderosa Pine country. Of course, the area is subject to drouths, some severe. It is a growing community under conditions of very little private land : Residential prices are skyrocketing.

As a component in a larger program program dealing with water problems, the town takes a part of the "almost potable" effluent water from the local sewage treatment plant and feeds it into the Town Lakes. There, the water percolates from the bottom of the lakes into the local aquifer below, where it is considered "fully potable" == and tests that way. It is estimated that an amount of water is recovered in this way to account for about 30% of the water needs of the Town in the winter. A higher proportion of the Twon's requirements will likely be possible in the future as the Town will no longer sell effluent for private purposes -- and as the rules regarding irrigation are tightened.

What IS hard to understand is why the Valley (Metropolitan Phoenix) does not have any similar WATER REUSE policies in place. Inquiries are ignored.

Reference -

References Section[edit]

When adding a reference to this page, using the <ref></ref> tags, it is not necessary to manually add the reference to the References section, as it is done automatically (provided, of course, that the <references/> tag is in place, which it is in this article). Simply adding <ref>[website text-you-want-displayed-in-ref-section]</ref> is all that is needed with this system. Draffa 18:50, 27 January 2007 (UTC)


Turns out that the QLD Government is calling the Referndum a Plebiscite instead, since the word Referendum is specifically mention in the Constitution re changing governence. In reality, there is next to no difference, as the Plebiscite is still non-binding. Draffa 19:11, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Brisbane/South-East Queensland[edit]

Clive Berghoffer's Objections[edit]

Quote from one of the currently-linked ABC Online articles:

Many local councils have supported Mr Beattie's decision, but former Toowoomba mayor Clive Berghofer says the food export industry is now in danger.

For any Aussies reading, Clive has substantial interests in land slated for development in Toowoomba. He was outspoken in the Toowoomba Plebescite on RW last year. One might suspect he wasn't concerned over the quality of the water, but rather the potential impact on property prices for newly-developed land. His statement over the now-cancelled South-east Queensland Plebescite seem to indicate his position still stands. Similar objections were raised several years ago by a Mayoral Candidate when Caboolture considered implementing Recycled Water some years ago during another severe drought (best summarised as "They want you to drink poo!").

Not that the water really matters to Clive, since the ABC's Quantum program has shown his 'house-sized' water tank under his suburban house. :D Draffa 17:37, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Amusing Comment[edit]

"Humans may face psychological barriers against drinking reclaimed water, since it was formerly sewage".

Do the folks who have psychological problems with drinking reclaimed water ever consider the places where their breathing air has recently been -- say, through the nearest sewer or autopsy facility -- and that without any subsequent treatment ?

"Fresh air" contains a wonderful variety of the worst kind of filth and noxious substances -- but fortunately our bodies filter or reject most of it.

A touch of rationality does wonders. Allenwoll 00:29, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

    (Hear! Hear!  Cynthisa (talk) 17:45, 13 March 2015 (UTC))     

I find it amusing that it has been considered a great step forward in sanitation to pipe sewage away from areas of human population. Now it is considered progess to give sewer water minimal treatment and to irrigate our lawns with it. It has been notoriously difficut to clean this water, especially of those fragments of pathogens which confer drug resistance on other microbes. Before giving it higher treatment and using it for drinking, many more studies, such as those using live fish, are needed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Notindustry (talkcontribs) 19:03, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

plant in orange county...[edit]

70,000,000 gallons a day water reclaimation plant- purifies water coming from homes and will put it back in with the water supply for people rather than discharge it uncleaned into the ocean. - in orange county.. heard on news. may already be in article. smaller version of same plant already in singapore --Emesee (talk) 02:48, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Thermal depolymerization#Similar processes seems to mention the plant you are talking about:
  • Sforza, Teri (2007-03-14). "New plan replaces sewage sludge fiasco". Orange county register. Retrieved 2008-01-27.
The plant appears to be in Rialto, California, which is actually in San Bernadino County, California rather than in neighboring Orange County, California, but the plant will accept wastewater from Orange County. Interestingly, a byproduct of the plant will be carbonized sludge, or "E-fuel", suitable for burning in cement kilns as a substitute for coal. --Teratornis (talk) 16:11, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Actually on re-reading the article, I see the plant in Rialto is actually a sludge treatment plant, which will accept sludge from several neighboring water treatment districts, including Orange County. The water treatment plant you mention appears to have the name Groundwater Replenishment System:
--Teratornis (talk) 17:00, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Also see Orange County Water District. --Teratornis (talk) 17:03, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

I find it amusing that it was considered a great step forward in sanitation to pipe sewer water away from areas of human population. Now we are giving it minimal (secondary) treatment, and watering our lawns with it!

pathogens and endocrine disrupting chemicals in reclaimed[edit]

reclaimed water used for irrigation of lawns, golf courses etc. rarely receives tertiary treatment and does not get reverse osmosis or microfiltration. In its 2005 annual report, the USDA recognizes that endocrine disrupting chemicals and pathogens, including drug resistant bacteria cannot be removed with present technology, and can pose an environmental and human health threat.Notindustry (talk) 18:12, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

Using recycled water in space[edit]

Thought this might be worth adding to the article but I don't have time to do it at the moment: Robogymnast (talk) 18:06, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

official blurb[edit]

" Reclaimed water planned for use in recharging aquifers or augmenting surface water receives adequate and reliable treatment..." Yes? This may or may not be true.--Wetman (talk) 15:10, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Add information on National Research Council report[edit]

Hi, I'd like to add some text about a January 2012 National Research Council report about water reuse. You can read more about the report here:

This is the text I'd like to add:

In a January 2012 National Research Council report[1], a committee of independent experts found that expanding the reuse of municipal wastewater for irrigation, industrial uses, and drinking water augmentation could significantly increase the United States’ total available water resources[2]. The committee noted that a portfolio of treatment options is available to mitigate water quality issues in reclaimed water. The report also includes a risk analysis that suggests the risk of exposure to certain microbial and chemical contaminants from drinking reclaimed water is not any higher than the risk from drinking water from current water treatment systems—and in some cases, may be orders of magnitude lower. The report concludes that adjustments to the federal regulatory framework could enhance public health protection and increase public confidence in water reuse.

Does this seem OK? I'd welcome any feedback. Thanks, Earlgrey101 (talk) 23:19, 17 February 2012 (UTC)


Information about "environmental persistent pharmaceutical pollutants"?[edit]

I recently came across this Wikipedia article: Environmental persistent pharmaceutical pollutant. The article has some issues and needs some work. Nevertheless, I think it might be relevant to link to it, e.g. under concerns it could be linked in a sentence or provided as "further information". What do you all think about this? EvM-Susana (talk) 08:47, 7 April 2015 (UTC)

Merge with the page on water reclamation?[edit]

I propose to merge this page with the page on water reclamation. I have also said the same on the other talk page but there have been no responses. As this page here is more detailed I propose to move/merge the content of water reclamation to here and then to have a re-direct from water reclamation to here. What do others think? E.g. Thewellman, Velella EvM-Susana (talk) 06:29, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

OK, nobody had any objections, so this merger has now been done.EvM-Susana (talk) 21:42, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

Find more photos[edit]

More photos could be added, quite a few are in Wikimedia Commons, just look for keywords like "wastewater reuse", "tertiary treatment", "water reclamation" etc. I have just added one which in my opinion is more suitable than that photo of a manhole cover in California which was there before.EvM-Susana (talk) 13:31, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

Health aspects (potable use)[edit]

To User:Bio-CLC: I have edited the text that is now under "health aspects (potable use)". However, I am not too sure if this is sufficiently clear: "This would be of much less concern if the population were to keep their excrement out of the wastewater e.g. via the use of the Urine-diverting dry toilet or systems that treat blackwater separately from greywater." - Keeping those streams separate would deal with the pathogen and pharmaceutical residues issue but not with the household chemicals issue: shampoo, soap, detergent etc. would all be in the greywater and could hence also end up in the potable reuse water. - Also, we should cite some high quality sources here. EvM-Susana (talk) 14:16, 9 July 2015 (UTC) To User:EvM-Susana Good point, but I think we can agree to worry most about pharmaceuticals, since they are specifically designed to affect the human body. The full idea is to keep these wastewater streams separate and send them somewhere they will be useful while staying away from others' drinking water. In particular, I think one of the best options would be process blackwater and then use it again in the same toilets. In this way, the Environmentally Persistent Pharmaceutical Pollutants stay in the system instead of contaminating surface or ground water. If the water is being with biological systems, such as anaerobic digestion, followed by artificial wetlands, I would expect the bacteria to get more and more efficient at breaking down these EPPPs and in the mean time no one has any contact with them. The water would be color-less, smell-free and acceptably free from pathogens, etc., so the users would not even notice the difference, and they already careful to not touch the water in the toilet. (I have searched the internet and asked the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance Forum and have found no cases of such closed-loop recycling of just blackwater.) This would be very important in California with the current, growing drought. Does anyone know who to send the idea to there? Bio-CLC (talk) 03:19, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

The treatment for the blackwater would have to be quite elaborate though (could not be done at household level) and you'd need two separate piping systems. Greywater reuse is simpler and is relatively common now e.g. in Australia and probably also in California. Perhaps we should channel some of our energy into the page on greywater and link to it better from this page. - And I still think that all the stuff that is in shampoos, soap etc. is also not harmless, so potable reuse from greywater is also not that attractive in my opinion. EvM-Susana (talk) 07:35, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

Redirect article wastewater reuse to here?[edit]

I've just realised that there is now an article on wastewater reuse which had a redirect to here but where the redirect was taken out in October 2016. It seems to be totally overlapping with this topic here so I propose to put the redirect back into place and to move anything that is worth saving to the article here. What do people think (for example User:Velella, User:Thewellman)? EMsmile (talk) 13:40, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

Yes, I agree. An SPA populated the redirect with 65K of content in one go and insisted on it being retained there despite the best efforts of other editors. It looks very much like an undergraduate dissertation that the editor thought highly of. There is absolutely no point in having both articles, and any useful content (and there may well be some significant useful material) should be integrated here. In one sense it is a pity because the title was good, but it will still be there as a redirect. Since I received no ping from the mention above, I will ping @Thewellman:  Velella  Velella Talk   17:02, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Merge Thank you for inviting my comment. From an engineering perspective, I consider these articles to be overlapping upstream and downstream perceptions of the same process. My professional vocabulary may not be up-to-date with this politically contentious subject; so I wonder if some individuals may perceive significant differences from a social perspective? Both articles appear well written and well sourced. I would encourage editors to carefully retain as much appropriately sourced material as possible while rejecting obvious duplication and advertising. I do not feel qualified to organize this subject into an effective blend of content in a single article. Thewellman (talk) 18:40, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for your opinions, User:Velella and User:Thewellman! We have an edit-a-thon coming up in a week so I might try to put that on top of my to do list for the edit-a-thon. Perhaps you'd like to pop in? See here for details.
OK, so I am now busy doing the merger (moving content from wastewater reuse to reclaimed water, and after that is all done, I will suggest a name change to the article. So that in future it will be called wastewater reuse. But first I am doing the merger. EMsmile (talk) 22:50, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
Update on progress: I have moved most of the content across, still need to look at the information in the lead and in Section 2 of wastewater reuse and integrate that into reclaimed water. Am planning to tackle that tomorrow. EMsmile (talk) 00:14, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
I have merged all the content now and placed a redirect from wastewater reuse. I still need to work on the article to structure it better and remove redundancies. EMsmile (talk) 16:10, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Have done more hours and hours of work on the article. Found a LOT of poorly sources and opininiotated content which I cut out. There is still more to do in that respect. EMsmile (talk) 02:01, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

Examples shown by technologies or by country?[edit]

There are a lot of examples in this article. Some are provided in the type of reuse section. And some in a country section. I am wondering if this could be somehow streamlined but am not sure what's better. I am leaning towards putting examples by country, rather than by type of reuse. EMsmile (talk) 16:12, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

I have now moved them all to be grouped by country. The number of examples given is probably a bit excessive, should we cull them down? EMsmile (talk) 02:00, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

Rename to "wastewater reuse"?[edit]

I actually wonder about the best title for this topic. Personally, I actually would prefer the article to be called "wastewater reuse" and have "reclaimed water" redirect to there (after merging the content). I think the article on "reclaimed water" is currently in better shape, but the title "wastewater reuse" is possibly more appropriate. "Reclaimed water" for me is a bit a "political term", making it sound nicer than what it is. Opinions? EMsmile (talk) 22:50, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

I agree about the title, hence my slightly cryptic comment above. I also agree that reclaimed water has a number of political overtones such as in NEWater in Singapore. Wastewater reuse cuts to the chase. Thanks for the invitation to the editathon - I'll try and keep an eye out for useful stuff, but my time availability on Wikipedia is very limited at present. If you think I can be of any value on a particular topic, please ping me and if I am at a computer (rather than digging my allotment for Spring sowing) - I'll see what I can do. Regards.  Velella  Velella Talk   00:10, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

I thought more about renaming this to wastewater reuse. But the article also contains some information on reusing stormwater or rainwater harvesting which would then no longer fit. What to do? EMsmile (talk) 16:12, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

Actually the rainwater harvesting is listed as an alternative. So renaming to "Wastewater reuse" is still something we should think about. Opinions, anybody? I suppose more correctly would be "Treated wastewater reuse" although we normally just speak of "Wastewater reuse". EMsmile (talk) 22:52, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

Further improvements: reducing length[edit]

Giving you an update about further work I am doing today: After speaking to another Wikipedian, I realised that the article is still too long and drawn out. So I will do some more work on compressing the content. E.g. the examples section is far too long. I will move some examples to other Wikipedia articles where it fits. EMsmile (talk) 10:43, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

Done. EMsmile (talk) 22:51, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

Good reference by UN Water 2017[edit]

Here is a good reference which can be used to pull out some further figures at the global level for wastewater as a resource. I have added it in one place but it could be used more: [1]


  1. ^ WWAP (United Nations World Water Assessment Programme) (2017). The United Nations World Water Development Report 2017. Wastewater: The Untapped Resource. Paris. ISBN 978-92-3-100201-4.

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