Abstract

De facto wastewater reuse is the incidental presence of treated wastewater in a water supply source. In 1980 the EPA identified drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs) impacted by upstream wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) discharges and found the top 25 most impacted DWTPs contained between 2% and 16% wastewater discharges from upstream locations (i.e., de facto reuse) under average streamflow conditions. This study is the first to provide an update to the 1980 EPA analysis. An ArcGIS model of DWTPs and WWTPs across the U.S. was created to quantify de facto reuse for the top 25 cities in the 1980 EPA study. From 1980 to 2008, de facto reuse increased for 17 of the 25 DWTPs, as municipal flows upstream of the sites increased by 68%. Under low streamflow conditions, de facto reuse in DWTP supplies ranged from 7% to 100%, illustrating the importance of wastewater in sustainable water supplies. Case studies were performed on four cities to analyze the reasons for changes in de facto reuse over time. Three of the four sites have greater than 20% treated wastewater effluent within their drinking water source for streamflow less than the 25th percentile historic flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11099-11105
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume47
Issue number19
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013

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Water treatment plants
Drinking Water
Wastewater
wastewater
streamflow
Water supply
water supply
Wastewater treatment
drinking water
water treatment plant
drinking water treatment
trend
Effluents
effluent
city

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this

Assessment of de facto wastewater reuse across the U.S. Trends between 1980 and 2008. / Rice, Jacelyn; Wutich, Amber; Westerhoff, Paul.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 47, No. 19, 01.10.2013, p. 11099-11105.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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