State Policy and Regulations
States regulate the treatment and distribution of recycled water.
Arizona has a long history of water reuse starting in at least 1926 and currently as much as two-thirds of all treated wastewater generated in Arizona is reused for a variety purposes. Legislative authority for water reuse was granted to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) in 1999 and reclaimed water rules were updated in 2001 focused on protecting water quality and human health. These rules established a permit system and reclaimed water quality standards for a multitude of end uses. The rules also covered gray water use. These rules are currently in the process of being updated. In a first installment of new rules, effective January 1, 2018, utilities can also apply to ADEQ and be issued a permit for an advanced reclaimed water treatment facility for direct potable reuse (DPR) following interim criteria specified in rule. In the next installment of rulemaking, ADEQ intends to adopt more detailed DPR criteria. Arizona has no indirect potable reuse (IPR) regulations. IPR can be done under separate ADEQ groundwater protection permitting regulations. Other than gray water use, there are no specific rules allowing onsite or decentralized water reuse in AZ.
AZ reuse regulations as of January 1, 2018:
- AAC Title 18, Chapter 9, Article 7. Use of Recycled Water.
- AAC Title 18, Chapter 11, Article 3. Reclaimed Water Quality Standards.
California has one of the most developed regulatory environments for water reuse. California’s Recycled Water Policy, which includes a “Mandate for the Use of Recycled Water,” was adopted in 2009 and amended in 2013. This policy is again being updated in 2018. In 2014, California adopted indirect potable reuse rules that provide detailed criteria for treatment processes, contaminants to test for, and how long treated water must remain underground. In early 2018, the state will finalize the Reservoir Augmentation statewide regulations that allow highly purified potable reuse water to be placed into drinking water reservoirs. The state does not currently have direct potable reuse (DPR) regulations, but is currently working on a DPR regulatory framework and research. AB 574 was signed into law in October 2017. The law sets a 2023 deadline for the development of Raw Water Augmentation regulations. To learn more about potable reuse in California, click here.
There are no specific statewide regulations to encourage onsite or decentralized water reuse. However, some California cities are developing their own onsite reuse ordinances.
Water reuse was established as a state objective in 1989 and the state has since created a supportive regulatory environment. Florida has regulations that specify requirements of how reclaimed water is to be treated depending on the use or application of the water. The 2008 Ocean Outfall Legislation was the first time reuse was mandated at the state level and caused an increase in reuse projects in South Florida. Florida is the leader in indirect potable reuse (IPR) for groundwater recharge and preventing saltwater intrusion. There are no direct potable reuse regulations in FL. However, WateReuse Florida is spearheading a potable reuse commission meeting to develop a report of findings for December 2018. There are no specific regulations to promote onsite or decentralized reuse. The State of Florida is the owner of all water in the state, however, a statewide committee passed legislation to ensure that reclaimed water is owned by the utility until it reaches the environment.
Texas has the third highest reclaimed water flows in the country behind California and Florida. Water reuse goals are published under the state’s State Water Plan which is published every five years and outlines water management strategies. The 2017 State Water Plan called for 4.5 million cubic meters per day of additional reuse capacity over a 50-year period with 85 projects specified.
The first guidelines for water reuse were passed in 1997 and updated in 2009. There are two categories of non-potable reclaimed water (Type I and Type II) of differing water quality depending on whether there may or may not be public contact with the reclaimed water. There are no specific water quality standards for indirect potable reuse and direct potable reuse projects are approved on a case by case basis that was accelerated due to the recent drought in Texas.
There are regulations for the use of onsite or decentralized reuse systems for graywater systems and some alternative sources. However, there are not regulations for full-on onsite advanced wastewater treatment and reuse systems.
TX reuse regulations: