CASA recently announced they are re-doubling efforts to encourage the State Water Board to pass new direct potable reuse regulations.
CASA will work closely with WateReuse California to seek passage of AB 574 by Assembly Member Bill Quirk from Hayward. WateReuse California is sponsoring AB 574, which would change the definitions of different types of potable water reuse and set a deadline for the State Water Resources Control Board to complete its regulations for potable reuse for raw water augmentation. The bill is co-sponsored by the California Coastkeeper Alliance, and is an important step towards advancing water recycling in California.
Help support this legislation by downloading a support letter template from the CASA website (doc) >
As states look to combat dwindling water supplies with DPR projects, operators in some regions could see a changing water treatment landscape.
Source TPO Magazine: Direct Potable Reuse is Coming, but What Does It Mean for Operators?
Communities in California and Arizona could be more drought resistant in the near future, as both states are looking at enacting regulations for direct potable reuse (DPR) — where treated effluent flows directly into a drinking water supply rather than using an environmental buffer (indirect potable reuse). And those new regulations likely will mean new training and certifications for the treatment plant operators working in drought regions.
In California, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) recently wrapped up a report concluding that it’s feasible for the state to write new regulations allowing DPR as long as some research and knowledge gaps are addressed.
After 15 months of intensive water quality testing and systems monitoring, test results show that highly purified water produced from treated wastewater is just as safe to drink as regular tap water.
Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center (SVAWPC) engaged in an extensive demonstration research project over the last year and half on direct potable reuse. As part of the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s Potable Reuse Demonstration project, a Test Plan was developed to thoroughly investigate the performance of each component of the advanced purification process (microfiltration, reverse osmosis, and ultraviolet disinfection) at the SVAWPC. It also evaluated an additional treatment process — advanced oxidation, which was added to the ultraviolet disinfection treatment component and used for further testing production of purified water for potable reuse. Advanced oxidation works with the ultraviolet light treatment process and together these two processes provide robust disinfection and removal of contaminants of emerging concern.
Over a 15-month period, 284 different constituents were tested every three months, and 4,000 total water quality samples were collected and analyzed. What did the results show?
- All purification processes at the SVAWPC exhibited excellent performance.
- Purification processes exhibited excellent removal of pathogens and contaminants of emerging concern, such as pharmaceuticals and endocrine disruptors.
- Purified water produced by the SVAWPC with advanced oxidation meets or exceeds all California drinking water standards, including all potable reuse regulations for groundwater replenishment.
- New ways of monitoring were proven to accurately verify the removal of pathogens and contaminants.
- Critical Control Points, which are parameters that will ensure highest water quality, were identified.
See full report: http://www.valleywater.org/testplan/
CWEA, along with the Association of California Water Agencies, California Association of Sanitation Agencies, CA‐NV Section American Water Works Association, California Urban Water Agencies and WateReuse California submitted an additional comment letter to the State Water Resources Control Board offering several recommendations for modifying the Direct Potable Reuse (DPR) report before submittal to the California Legislature.
We believe the issuance of this report, and the finding that it is feasible to develop uniform water recycling criteria for Direct Potable Reuse (DPR), are major milestones toward providing a new drought‐proof water supply to California communities. Potable reuse, including DPR, has the potential to provide an additional 1.1 million‐acre‐feet (MAF) of potable water supplies per year, enough to serve more than 8 million Californians or one‐fifth of the state’s population by 2020, according to a 2014 report by the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (formerly WateReuse Research Foundation). Timely adoption of DPR regulations is also needed to help meet the state’s water recycling goals of an additional 1 MAF by 2020 and 2 MAF by 2030.
An Interview with Garry Brown, DPR Advisory Group Chair
The State’s recent steps toward direct potable reuse (DPR) might seem like an out of the blue solution to many people. Not to Garry Brown, the Executive Director of OC Coastkeeper. A long-time veteran of Southern California’s battles over water and water quality, Garry has watched for decades as water reuse grew and expanded in Orange County, becoming a popular solution to slake the region’s thirst.
As part of the State Water Board’s research into the feasibility of DPR, Garry was asked to chair a 15 member Advisory Group consisting of community, water and business leaders. The Advisory Group’s draft DPR report was released in October and contained five recommendations about the feasibility of DPR as well as six additional recommendations to help support implementation.
In a recent interview, Garry recalled several water reuse milestones that all took place in Orange County where he lives. This includes: the creation of Water Factory 21 in the 1970s by Orange County Water District (OCWD), one of the first indirect reuse facilities; the development of purple pipe recycled water systems at the Irvine Ranch Water District; and the incredible success of the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) in Fountain Valley, one of the world’s largest and most advanced indirect potable reuse facilities.
For Garry, DPR is not a surprising or unusual solution to California’s crippling drought. For decades, he’s watched potable reuse grow into a safe and reliable source of water for Orange County. DPR is the next logical step for California – it’s time to share with everyone the reuse solutions Orange County has perfected.
We spoke with Garry at the OC Coastkeeper headquarters in Costa Mesa.
As Chair of the Advisory Group why is DPR important for the future of California’s water supply?
In my 20 years of doing this I’ve never seen the environmental community come together so strongly to embrace a societal solution as we did to embrace direct potable reuse. We believe this is the best, most efficient source for drinking water going forward.
The environmental community is excited about DPR and we’re pleased to see this has good momentum, there is enthusiasm for this at all levels but also caution. There is a recognition we’ve got to do this right, we cannot have a misstep at any stage.
One of the greatest challenges water professionals face for water reuse is public acceptance – will Californians accept DPR?
We’ve seen a huge shift in the public’s attitude toward reuse since 2008 when the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) came on line. We have to do this DPR regulatory process right, it’s taken this long for the public to get over it. Now that we’ve built that public trust we can’t screw it up.
I think today there is even more public acceptance of reuse. The Orange County Water District took the first courageous step with GWRS and the plant is beyond everyone’s expectations. It could have been a failure but it turned out to be a resounding success. It won the Stockholm Water Prize – the Noble Prize of water. I think there is now a healthy new competition among water districts to get these potable reuse projects done and to outshine one another.
The State Water Board workshop on Oct 4th was interesting, the DPR meeting was a totally different atmosphere. The biggest critic at the meeting wasn’t even critical, his point was every step of this needs to be open, with public transparency and we all agree. Everybody was on the same page at that meeting in Sacramento and that doesn’t happen very often in our political process these days. If you want to talk contentious, talk about the Delta fix or any number of issues, but at the DPR workshop everyone was together on this.
What happens next for your Advisory Group?
Now that we have the momentum how do we keep it going? I think the State Water Board staff on the drinking water side did a great job – I cannot say enough good things about them. They helped make this a successful process.
What I’m concerned about at this stage is the effort necessary to move forward. We’ll encourage the State Water Board to invest in the research projects that are needed and add staff to get this done.
As of Dec 31st we’ve satisfied everything the Legislature required so everything can stop unless there’s an effort to move this forward. And that’s a concern. We are going to be urging the State Water Board to look at their budgetary process to continue this, not just continue but to add more staff to this. The professional associations raised funds to get the research done so far. Commitment by the State Board is now needed by allocating budget and staff to move this forward.
At OC Coastkeeper we have a commitment to see this through and get it done.
When a member of the public asks about DPR – how do you explain it?
I tell them that there are a number of tools in the toolbox that can be used to develop new sources of water, and certainly during the drought this is important. I say there are some projects like ocean desalination which seem like a romantic, easy solution but has the greatest environmental impact. Desal is by far the most expensive water source and takes three times the energy, so desal is the least best option.
We have proven that basically indirect potable reuse (IPR) is the smartest, most efficient, least impactful and cost effective way to generate drinking water. Under IPR you have to live on top of an aquifer or near a lake so it is only applicable to a few cities,and the water district has to be in control of that lake or aquifer.
DPR is applicable everywhere, that’s the big difference. Cities or regions that need water, whether they are inland or on the coast, they can utilize this option, that’s the real benefit of DPR.
It’s basically comparable to the price we’re paying today for imported water. There is a toolbox full of tools and each city will need to decide which ones to use.
The Advisory Group’s report mentioned water and wastewater operators several times – why are they important in the DPR process?
CWEA and AWWA are listed in the report as the recommended groups for certified training, and we recommend they collaborate together.
The whole foundation of DPR is it has to be done safely and the people who are going to ensure safety are going to be the operators of these facilities. A great amount of attention and care should be given to training and certification, and to the path that is laid out for becoming an operator of an advanced water treatment facility. It’s critical that when we build these billion dollar projects they are operated safely and reliably. And quite frankly, people’s lives will depend on it.
Right now, what gives solace to Orange County’s Groundwater Replenishment System (an IPR treatment plant) is you have a massive environmental buffer – the aquifer beneath Orange County. There cannot be a crisis because it goes into the ground first. If you find out there’s a problem, okay then shut it down.
If you’re running the same Advanced Water Treatment Plant as a DPR facility, then you know in potentially 36 hours, water will be in the distribution system headed to homes and businesses. That puts more pressure on the operators and that puts pressure on the industry to develop more sophisticated monitoring.
It is the professional associations everyone is looking at to have a major role in this. Everyone is looking to the associations to help get this done right.
Do you worry water quality issues such as Flint could happen here in California? Read more
Reliability | Redundancy | Robustness | Resilience
Trussell Technologies, a family run environmental engineering firm focused on process and water quality was recently cited by the DPR Expert Panel Report for their significant work on WateReuse. The firm has played and continues to play a significant role in the development of treatment processes for reuse projects. We interviewed Bryan Trussell, P.E., BCEE and CWEA Los Angeles Basin Section Past President on the role Trussell Technologies plays in the DPR report.
What was Trussell Technologies role in the State Water Board’s Expert Panel report on DPR?
Trussell Technologies had no direct role in the expert panel report on DPR. Our founder Rhodes Trussell was originally appointed chair of the State Expert Panel, but he rescinded the position because it became clear that our work on WateReuse Research Foundation (14-12), Demonstrating Redundancy and Monitoring to Achieve Direct Potable Reuse, was developing salient information that would be evaluated by this panel. The Expert Panel cited our work under WRRF 14-12 throughout portions of their report, particularly in their reliability assessment. The Expert Panel concluded that DPR was in fact feasible, using data from 14-12 as evidence that DPR systems can provide consistent protection of public health.
Can you explain the 4Rs and why they are important in Trussell’s planning for water reuse projects?
The concept of the 4Rs is to provide a framework for delivering safe water to our consumers. The 4Rs work together to build a solid foundation for our treatment systems. The first ‘R’ is reliability and is truly the fundamental goal of the 4Rs framework–to provide a reliable source of safe drinking water to our consumers. To achieve this goal of reliability, the remaining 3 R’s provide the foundation. Redundancy provides additional treatment or monitoring that goes beyond the minimum requirements to ensure treatment goals are more reliably met or that performance is more reliably demonstrated. Robustness provides the treatment train with a variety of different treatment mechanisms, thus addressing a broad range of contaminants and providing resistance to failure. Resilience addresses the ability of the treatment train to recover and/or respond to a treatment failure. In combination, these 3Rs (redundancy, robustness, and resilience) combine to both prevent failures and properly respond to any that do occur. Through this foundation, reliability is achieved. These are the basic tenets of the 4Rs concept. Download the AWWA Journal article on the 4Rs .
Where did Trussell Tech get inspiration for the 4Rs?
The 4Rs concept was developed within Trussell Technologies over several years of conducting research projects in potable reuse. All safe potable reuse systems employ certain elements to prevent and respond to failures, though the way we balance these elements differs as we move from groundwater recharge to surface water augmentation to DPR. With the 4Rs we began to conceptualize how planned potable reuse could be accomplished.
The concept is broader than the critical control points framework. In fact, critical control points are a necessary component of any reliable potable reuse facility and must be incorporated into the 4Rs framework to achieve their common goal. Specifically, one element of the 4Rs, redundancy, can be informed by a careful review of the protections provided by the critical control points of the treatment system. Based on the findings, additional treatment and monitoring may be added to improve the overall reliability of the treatment system.
How did the 4Rs concept end up in the State Water Board’s draft report on DPR feasibility?
We had several published documents on the 4Rs in performing our work with both the City of San Diego and Padre Dam Municipal Water District, both of whom are pursuing non-traditional potable reuse projects. As a result of these projects, we have also been in constant communication with DDW about the developing regulatory landscape. It is likely that the Expert Panel, through our published documents and through dialoguing with DDW, took hold of the 4Rs concept, saw its broad application and inclusion of other common concepts, and included it in their report as a result.
What’s Trussell Tech’s confidence in the safety of DPR? Do your engineers sample the purified water at your pilot projects?
We are confident that DPR can be done safely. The primary concern of a DPR system is to prevent the acute impacts of pathogens, which can have an immediate impact on the consumers. Microfiltration and reverse osmosis in combination with advanced oxidation provide effective barriers to these pathogens and, work in WRRF 14-12 has shown that these, in combination with ozone, biological carbon filtration and chlorination can make safe drinking water from a nitrified wastewater effluent. Many of our engineers have tasted the reuse water at various pilot and demonstration projects, including projects that are not led by Trussell Technologies. The key focus of the 4Rs and developing DPR treatment is to ensure that the approach provided proves to be reliable and can stand the test of time.
Trussell Tech’s research in California is frequently mentioned in prestigious research reports such as the State Water Board’s draft report on DPR. What advice do you give to young engineers who want to join a cutting edge firm such as yours? Read more
(Click on the photo to be directed to the poll.)
Below is the joint comment letter CWEA and CA NV AWWA have submitted focused on the operator certification piece of the DPR Report to the Legislature on the Feasibility of Developing Uniform Water Recycling Criteria for Direct Potable Reuse.
Dear State Water Resources Control Board:
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the State Water Board’s Draft Report to the Legislature on the Feasibility of Developing Uniform Water Recycling Criteria for Direct Potable Reuse.
We appreciate the thorough and collaborative approach the State Water Board staff took in completing this report. The staff from the Division of Drinking Water demonstrated patience, support and thoroughness as they worked with water professionals, scientists, public health experts, the environmental community and the public to determine the feasibility of Direct Potable Reuse. The Division of Drinking Water’s thoughtful and careful process is a model water regulators from around the world can look to. State Water Board staff brought California’s drinking water and wastewater professionals together to work more closely and faster than ever before to solve the State’s complex water quality challenges. We thank the Division of Drinking Water staff for leading the effort and look forward to working with them to finalize regulations as quickly as possible while upholding our shared responsibilities of protecting the health and safety of all Californians.
CA-NV AWWA and CWEA wished to comment jointly on the recommendations in the report that relate to the need for Advanced Water Treatment (AWT) operator certification, providing a quick update on the status of our work together meeting that need and respectfully making some requests.
As you may know, the California-Nevada Section of the American Water Works Association is a nonprofit professional association of 6,000 members founded in 1920 – following the creation of AWWA in 1881. Our members are professionals primarily employed in the drinking water sector, with a sizable percentage also involved with wastewater collection and/or treatment. Historically connected closely with protecting public health in drinking water, our mission is providing solutions to effectively manage water, the world’s most important resource. CA-NV AWWA is a certifying body, offering 17 certificates of competency in 6 disciplines. This includes certifications for professionals engaged in drinking water treatment and distribution system operations, cross-connection and backflow prevention, laboratory analysis, and water use efficiency (conservation), among others. CA-NV AWWA led creation of treatment plant operator certification in the 1950s, then developed the distribution operator certification before it was assumed by the Department of Health Services in 1998. CA-NV AWWA has traditionally named members each year to serve as representatives on the Drinking Water Operator Stakeholder Advisory Committee, which is now undergoing some changes as AB 2890 is implemented.
The California Water Environment Association is a non-profit, public benefit professional association of 9,800 members founded 1927. Our members are professionals in the water, wastewater and resource recovery sectors. Our mission is to protect California’s water environment and public health through education and certification. CWEA is a certifying body, offering 24 certificates of competency in 7 vocations. This includes certifications for: Collection System Maintenance Technicians; Environmental Compliance Inspectors; Mechanical Technicians; Electrical Technicians and Laboratory professionals among others. CWEA developed the wastewater treatment plant operator certification in 1937 before transferring the program to the State Water Board’s Office of Operator Certification in 1974. CWEA appoints several of our members each year to serve as representatives on the State Water Board’s Wastewater Operator Certification Advisory Committee and the Environmental Laboratory Technical Advisory Committee. Read more
by Chris Lundeen, CAE, CWEA Director of Certification
As water scarcity continues to be a critical issue in California, utilities and regulators are looking toward new drinking water supplies and increased potable reuse. Over this past year, CWEA collaborated with California Urban Water Agencies (CUWA), along with other water reuse stakeholders, to develop a framework for training and certification needed for operators of potable reuse advanced water treatment (AWT) plants. It is important that training and certification of future AWT operators be robust, while ensuring that CWEA’s certified wastewater treatment plant operators have viable career paths through this newly emerging field. CWEA’s collaboration resulted in a whitepaper published by CUWA that was submitted to the State Water Board Division of Drinking Water Programs for consideration, as it prepares to review the upcoming Expert Panel recommendations on direct potable reuse (DPR) feasibility.
In a parallel effort, CWEA is working in collaboration with the California-Nevada Section of the American Water Works Association (CA-NV AWWA) on the development of a certification program for operators of potable reuse and other AWT systems. CWEA is still working out the exact details of the ongoing partnership with CA-NV AWWA, and, in the meantime, are making sure that CWEA’s wastewater community is front-and-center at the table and playing an active role in the development of this emerging certification program.
If you have experience with AWT and would like to participate in reviewing the knowledge domains that are being developed, contact Chris Lundeen at email@example.com.
by Jim Force
Direct potable reuse of recycled water would not only provide a new, local sustainable source of water for California communities, the move toward direct potable reuse (DPR) could serve to bring the wastewater and drinking water sides of the profession together, making the “One Water” concept a reality.
Those are some of the thoughts of Jim Fiedler, Chief Operating Officer for the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s Water Utility Enterprise, on the State Water Resources Control Board draft report to the Legislature on the feasibility of developing regulations for DPR.
CWEA spoke with Fiedler about the draft report and the potential for DPR in California.
Q: If you were to sum up the findings of the Board’s report on DPR, what would your elevator speech to a fellow water professionals be?
Fiedler: First, I would point out that the report confirms that it is feasible to develop regulations that would lead to DPR in California.
Second, I’d want to thank Division of Drinking Water along with the Expert Panel and the Advisory Group for their leadership and dedication in completing the report within the timeframe set by the Legislature.
And third, I’d tell my colleagues that this is a great time to be a water or wastewater professional. It’s exciting that criteria (for DPR) will now be developed.
Q: What did you find unexpected about the Advisory Panel’s meetings or their findings?
Fiedler: If anything, the diversity of the group. The Advisory Panel was composed of water professionals, NGOs, agencies–it was a good cross-mix of stakeholders. We held a number of meetings, and I was impressed with the thoughtful discussion.
Q: Is DPR in California’s near future? When will these things happen?
Fiedler: I don’t know about near-term, but it’s closer today than it was 10 years ago. We’re seeing multi-year droughts and more uncertainty in the hydrologic cycle. We recognize the need for sustainable local sources of water, as opposed to imported water as a key driver.
Research is another driver. The WateReuse Research Foundation (now Water Environment and Reuse Foundation) provided some of the research used by the Expert Panel and helped support the Expert Panel findings that it is feasible to develop and implement DPR criteria that would be protective of public health. Read more
State Water Board staff has rolled out the draft report on direct potable reuse (DPR) here in California. It’s technically feasible, but challenging to implement they’ve said. It’s a report the Legislature required the staff to complete by January 1, 2017. The State is welcoming public comments on the draft until October 25th.
The draft report was produced by staff from the Division of Drinking Water (DDW) and their Recycled Water office. The report plus two addendums run close to 600 pages and spell out in detail several years of research and analysis by staff members, academics, public health experts and water professionals. It was a monumental undertaking, completed on-time and with the collaboration of hundreds of people across the water sector.
It’s been a busy two years for DDW. In 2014 the Division was moved from the Department of Public Health to the State Water Board. They’re in the process of working with small, disadvantaged water systems to improve drinking water quality during the drought. And they’re finalizing a report and regulations this year on Surface Water Augmentation – a process where high-purity reuse water is added to reservoirs.
We recently had a chance to interview DDW’s leader Cindy Forbes about DPR. Cindy is a drinking water expert with 30 years of experience working for the State on drinking water programs.
1. First – how does the Division of Drinking Water define DPR – what is it and why are we going through this process?
DDW is undertaking the process of investigating the feasibility of developing uniform water recycling criteria for DPR to address requirements imposed by statute (SB 918 and SB 322), which are incorporated into the Water Code (sections 13560-13569).
DPR is defined by statute as “the planned introduction of recycled water either directly into a public water system, as defined in Section 116275 of the Health and Safety Code, or into a raw water supply immediately upstream of a water treatment plant.”
The Expert Panel, which has been tasked with advising DDW on the public health issues and the scientific and technical aspects of DPR, has further indicated they consider an environmental buffer with a theoretical hydraulic retention time of less than 2 months to be DPR.
2. What happens next for your Division?
The public comment period ends October 25 at noon, and DDW will review the public comments, consider revisions to the Draft Report, and prepare a final draft report for review by the State Water Board, CalEPA, and the Governor’s Office before submittal of the final report to the Legislature by December 31, 2016.
In the meantime, DDW will begin the process of refining the implementation plan, scope out the work needed to accomplish the milestones in the implementation plan, and in the near future implement the plan to address the identified research needs and fill the knowledge gaps in the development of uniform water recycling criteria for DPR.
The State Water Resources Control Board released its draft report to the Legislature on the feasibility of developing regulations for the direct potable reuse of recycled water, achieving one of the many steps in furthering Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s goal of a more sustainable water management strategy, as laid out in the California Water Action Plan.
After reviewing the recommendations of an Expert Panel and Advisory Group, formed as part of legislation that directed the State Water Board to investigate the feasibility of creating regulations for direct potable reuse (DPR), the State Water Board’s Division of Drinking Water has concluded it is feasible to begin the process of developing regulations. DPR regulations can be adopted provided that certain research and key knowledge gaps are addressed.
Direct potable reuse is the addition of recycled water directly into a public water system or into a raw water supply immediately upstream of a water treatment plant. No other state has yet developed regulations specifically for direct potable reuse.
The draft report is available now for comment under a 45-day public review period before finalization and presentation to the state Legislature by Dec. 31, 2016. In the draft report the Division of Drinking Water agrees with the expert panel that regulations for the direct potable reuse of recycled water are attainable. The Division of Drinking Water believes that knowledge gaps and needed research remain to assure adequate public health protection.
“As we face a fifth year of record-breaking drought, and ongoing changes in our environment related to climate change – which could mean more droughts in our future — expanding our water resource options is a smart thing to do,” said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus. “We need to take a thoughtful and deliberate approach to diversifying and securing our long term water resilience. Today’s draft, focused on the feasibility of direct potable reuse, is one part of a multifaceted effort that includes a wide range of sources, including indirect potable reuse through groundwater recharge, surface water augmentation, storm water capture, and desalination. The release of today’s draft report is a historic step in bringing online a potential future source of potable water.”