Unlocking the Nationwide Potential of Water Reuse
The recent adoption of the National Water Reuse Action Plan (WRAP) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has resulted in an effort to advance the adoption of water reuse at a national scale. This effort envisions numerous forms of reuse as supplementing existing water supply portfolios (e.g., municipal, agricultural, industrial, and on-site reuse) and the integration of stormwater into local water resource supplies. Realizing the full nationwide potential of water reuse will require an integrated research plan and the establishment of technical and social legitimacy through a concerted focus on community acceptance, robust technical design including monitoring and feedback, and implementation of water reuse. These factors are shaped by local social and environmental drivers and potentially by geographic location. Water reuse adoption and implementation can only be achieved by engaging with communities to identify design options that best address the unique needs of the local population and water resources. This project will use a technically rigorous fit-for-purpose approach to show decision-makers and community leaders where opportunities exist for various types of water reuse and how reuse can address environmental and social needs in their communities.
This project is funded through the EPA’s National Priorities Program under grant number 84046201.
Research is needed to facilitate sustainable solutions for expanding the water reuse portfolio in the United States through development of data driven models, engagement with water reuse stakeholders, and application of models to inform reuse.
The results of this work will provide a variety of stakeholders of diverse backgrounds with user-friendly tools and materials to advance water reuse in their communities. Resources that will be developed include:
- National data on viruses and antimicrobial resistance in sewage, an outbreak readiness response plan for the reuse sector, a quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) tool, case studies for potable and agricultural reuse, and a demonstration of the relative health index tool for constituents of concern in reuse applications.
- Deterministic algorithms for critical processes and constituents of concern, an integrated water reuse treatment plant model, and expansion of the EPA Drinking Water Technology Unit Cost Model for water reuse applications.
- Interactive maps showing water reuse availability and potential.
- Best practices for community engagement strategies (including a synthesis of identified barriers and drivers for reuse), and a compendium of national and regional needs for organizational and social factors related to uptake of water reuse, highlighting the needs of underserved communities.
- Case study and cross-case comparison reports, and a sustainability assessment framework applied to multiple water reuse scenarios.
The total funding for this project is $4,089,329 ($3,245,999 from EPA).
Co-PIs and Task Leads
- The Water Research Foundation, Lyndsey Bloxom (PI), Julie Minton, and Miriam Hacker
- University of Colorado Boulder, Karl Linden (Co-PI), Cresent Mansfeldt, Scott Summers, Amy Javernick-Will, and Sherri Cook
- Southern Nevada Water Authority, Eric Dickenson (Co-PI) and Dan Gerrity
- Colorado School of Mines, Tzahi Cath (Co-PI) and Christopher Bellona
- The Water Center at Penn, Howard Neukrug (Co-PI)
- The WateReuse Association, Aliza Furneaux and Greg Fogel
- University of Washington, Edmund Seto
Please contact Lyndsey Bloxom, Research Program Manager and Julie Minton, Research Unit Leader with questions regarding this grant.