CWEA-WERF On-site Reuse Workshop Brings Together California Wastewater Professionals

On November 2nd, CWEA together with our partner the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation hosted a regulatory training workshop in Dublin. Participants organized themselves into groups each representing a different stake-holder in the on-site water reuse regulatory process.

Groups were provided with a workbook developed by the workshop host Kathryn Giess from West Yost Associates. Kathryn is Vice President of CWEA’s San Francisco Bay Section. In between the workbook group exercises, on-site reuse experts spoke about several topics including: regulations, technologies, lessons learned and what a national workgroup is planning to do in the near future.


San Francisco has one of the most advanced on-site regulatory programs, in part due to necessity said Paula Kehoe, Director of Water Resources for SFPUC.

“We’ve been working on alternative water supplies for many years. Things really came to a head for us in 2008 when we were designing the reuse systems for our new headquarters which opened in 2012.  These systems have reduced our potable water usage by 60% for this building. Developers came to us saying they wanted to do on-site reuse as well, rain water reuse, building drainage. They wanted to obtain LEED standards.  We needed to put our regulatory program together.” – Paula Kehoe

San Francisco was in a good position to develop on-site regulations as it is both the City and County government, so the agencies already work closely with one another.

“Today we have 20 systems operating in San Francisco, and we expect a lot more. In 2015 Board of Supervisors approved a requirement for large new developments to reuse water. So more projects coming on-line.”

Paula warned the audience to take the time necessary to build their on-site regulations properly and to work as a team with the local agencies who will be involved in the process. “This is not something to rush into, be ready for the long haul,” she said.

LA County Department of Public Health inspector Glenn van Eekhout also encouraged the audience to work together as a team with their fellow agencies when developing reuse regulations. He’s seen the good, the bad and the ugly of on-site reuse systems installed in the Los Angeles Basin. He reminded the audience protection of public health is the paramount concern for all of us.

“To get water reuse projects done all the agencies have to work together in order to protect public health. One thing to emphasize local agencies need to work together. Sit down with one another and talk about the projects together.” – Glenn van Eekhout

Expert Amelia Luna from Sherwood Design Engineers also warned the audience protection of public health must be the most important goal. “Right now we take a grab sample for fecal coliform and have to wait a full day for results to come back. Monitoring for surrogates in real time can better protect public health,” said Ameila.

Attendee Cindy Clark, Chief Development Officer for Sustainable Silicon Valley was pleased with the workshop and pointed to the interactive group exercises as a highlight. “The workshop really brought our table together, there were people from cities, water and regulatory agencies and non-profits that really need to be talking more with one another. It helped all of us see the opportunities and challenges for on-site water reuse from other points of views. This was a very productive workshop, loved it!”

The workshop was based on the 10-steps listed in the Blueprint for Onsite Water Systems developed by WE&RF and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

Experts included:

  • Paula Kehoe, San Francisco PUC
  • Amelia Luna, Sherwood Design Engineers
  • Tony Madrone, Indra Designs
  • Glenn van Eekhout, EHS III, LA County Department of Public Health
  • Workshop organizer: Kathryn Gies, West Yost Associates

Our thanks to Katy Lackey from WE&RF and to Kathryn and all the associates at West Yost for their help in organizing the workshop and putting together the workgroup. Many of the attendees praised the interactive learning portions of the workshop.

Thank you to our workshop sponsors:



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Alec Mackie

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