Abstract

Increases in water treatment technology have made water recycling a viable engineering solution to water supply limitations. In spite of this, such water recycling schemes have often been halted by lack of public acceptance. Previous studies have captured the public's attitudes regarding planned reuse schemes, but here we focus on unplanned reuse (i.e. de facto reuse), present in many cities across the U.S. We performed a survey in three metropolitan areas, Atlanta, GA (N = 421), Philadelphia, PA (N = 490), and Phoenix, AZ (N = 418), to assess basic perceptions of treated wastewater occurrence and its acceptance in the public water supply. These perceptions were then coupled by estimates of the actual extent of occurrence in the corresponding cities. The key results are that (1) de facto reuse occurs at rates across the three cities higher than what is perceived; (2) roughly 25% of respondents perceive de facto reuse to occur in their home tap water; and (3) respondents who perceived de facto reuse to occur at their tap were ten times more likely to have a high level of acceptance for de facto reuse in their home tap.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSustainable Cities and Society
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Nov 4 2015

Fingerprint

Water recycling
Wastewater
Water supply
wastewater
water
acceptance
recycling
water supply
water management
public attitude
Water treatment
metropolitan area
water treatment
engineering
agglomeration area
public
city
Water
lack
rate

Keywords

  • De facto reuse
  • Public acceptance
  • Wastewater reuse
  • Yuck factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

Cite this

@article{e1dcf09650c64a8db594e98b441d90aa,
title = "Comparing actual de facto wastewater reuse and its public acceptability: A three city case study",
abstract = "Increases in water treatment technology have made water recycling a viable engineering solution to water supply limitations. In spite of this, such water recycling schemes have often been halted by lack of public acceptance. Previous studies have captured the public's attitudes regarding planned reuse schemes, but here we focus on unplanned reuse (i.e. de facto reuse), present in many cities across the U.S. We performed a survey in three metropolitan areas, Atlanta, GA (N = 421), Philadelphia, PA (N = 490), and Phoenix, AZ (N = 418), to assess basic perceptions of treated wastewater occurrence and its acceptance in the public water supply. These perceptions were then coupled by estimates of the actual extent of occurrence in the corresponding cities. The key results are that (1) de facto reuse occurs at rates across the three cities higher than what is perceived; (2) roughly 25{\%} of respondents perceive de facto reuse to occur in their home tap water; and (3) respondents who perceived de facto reuse to occur at their tap were ten times more likely to have a high level of acceptance for de facto reuse in their home tap.",
keywords = "De facto reuse, Public acceptance, Wastewater reuse, Yuck factor",
author = "Jacelyn Rice and Amber Wutich and Dave White and Paul Westerhoff",
year = "2015",
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language = "English (US)",
journal = "Sustainable Cities and Society",
issn = "2210-6707",
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AU - Rice, Jacelyn

AU - Wutich, Amber

AU - White, Dave

AU - Westerhoff, Paul

PY - 2015/11/4

Y1 - 2015/11/4

N2 - Increases in water treatment technology have made water recycling a viable engineering solution to water supply limitations. In spite of this, such water recycling schemes have often been halted by lack of public acceptance. Previous studies have captured the public's attitudes regarding planned reuse schemes, but here we focus on unplanned reuse (i.e. de facto reuse), present in many cities across the U.S. We performed a survey in three metropolitan areas, Atlanta, GA (N = 421), Philadelphia, PA (N = 490), and Phoenix, AZ (N = 418), to assess basic perceptions of treated wastewater occurrence and its acceptance in the public water supply. These perceptions were then coupled by estimates of the actual extent of occurrence in the corresponding cities. The key results are that (1) de facto reuse occurs at rates across the three cities higher than what is perceived; (2) roughly 25% of respondents perceive de facto reuse to occur in their home tap water; and (3) respondents who perceived de facto reuse to occur at their tap were ten times more likely to have a high level of acceptance for de facto reuse in their home tap.

AB - Increases in water treatment technology have made water recycling a viable engineering solution to water supply limitations. In spite of this, such water recycling schemes have often been halted by lack of public acceptance. Previous studies have captured the public's attitudes regarding planned reuse schemes, but here we focus on unplanned reuse (i.e. de facto reuse), present in many cities across the U.S. We performed a survey in three metropolitan areas, Atlanta, GA (N = 421), Philadelphia, PA (N = 490), and Phoenix, AZ (N = 418), to assess basic perceptions of treated wastewater occurrence and its acceptance in the public water supply. These perceptions were then coupled by estimates of the actual extent of occurrence in the corresponding cities. The key results are that (1) de facto reuse occurs at rates across the three cities higher than what is perceived; (2) roughly 25% of respondents perceive de facto reuse to occur in their home tap water; and (3) respondents who perceived de facto reuse to occur at their tap were ten times more likely to have a high level of acceptance for de facto reuse in their home tap.

KW - De facto reuse

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KW - Wastewater reuse

KW - Yuck factor

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