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Recycled Water Policy

The State Water Board supports and encourages the sustainable use of recycled water to promote conservation of water resources. The Policy for Water Quality Control for Recycled Water (Recycled Water Policy) is an important element of the overall effort to encourage the safe use of recycled water in a manner that is protective of public health and the environment. The purpose of the Recycled Water Policy is to increase the use of recycled water from municipal wastewater sources that meets the definition in Water Code section 13050(n), in a manner that implements state and federal water quality laws. For the purpose of this Policy, recycled water refers to the reuse of treated wastewater derived from municipal sources, i.e., water that is covered under California Code of Regulations Title 22, Water Recycling Criteria. Other types of water reuse include greywater, agricultural return water, industrial wastewater, and water produced from oil field operations. These types of water reuse are regulated through other programs.

The Recycled Water Policy provides goals for recycled water use in California, guidance for use of recycled water that considers protection of water quality, criteria for streamlined permitting of recycled water projects, and requirements for monitoring recycled water for constituents of emerging concern (CECs).

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Definition of Recycled Water

“water which, as a result of treatment of waste, is suitable for a direct beneficial use or a controlled use that would not otherwise occur and is therefore considered a valuable resource” (Wat. Code § 13050(n)).

The Recycled Water Policy was first adopted in 2009, and was amended in 2013 to specify monitoring requirements for CECs in recycled water for groundwater recharge projects based on recommendations from a 2010 Science Advisory Panel on CECs in recycled water.  The 2013 Recycled Water Policy includes a provision to reconvene a Science Advisory Panel every five years to update its recommendations for CEC monitoring in recycled water. 

Legislation Supports the Use of Recycled Water

The California state legislature has declared that “…It is the intention of the Legislature that the state undertake all possible steps to encourage development of water recycling facilities so that recycled water may be made available to help meet the growing water requirements of the state” (Wat. Code § 13512).

Proposed amendment to the Recycled Water Policy

In December 2016, the State Water Board adopted Resolution No. 2016-0061, which directed staff to reconvene the Science Advisory Panel to update its recommendations for monitoring CECs in recycled water. Information regarding this Science Advisory Panel, including a schedule of upcoming public meetings, can be found here.
Resolution No. 2016-0061 also directed the State Water Board to update the Recycled Water Policy considering changes that have taken place since 2013, and to release a draft amendment to the Recycled Water Policy for public comment by March 2018.


Schedule of Upcoming Meetings

Staff has scheduled two stakeholder workshops to discuss specific details and policy options of the proposed amendment:

Thursday, January 4, 2018

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Joe Serna, Jr.–CalEPA Headquarters Bldg
Byron Sher Auditorium
1001 “I” Street, Second Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814

Access to a live webcast of this meeting will be available here: https://video.calepa.ca.gov/ (scroll down to find the meeting, and select either "Audio" or "Video")
Comments can be provided during the meeting by emailing: Xuan.Lieu@waterboards.ca.gov

Thursday, January 11, 2018

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Orange County Water District
18700 Ward Street
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Recycled Water Policy Documents

Additional Information