What Is Reclaimed Water?
Reclaimed water, also called reuse, is wastewater that has been highly treated and disinfected to ensure and protect public health and the environment. Reclaimed water is disinfected (often by chlorination) and meets strict water quality standard guidelines established by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Agency.
Reclaimed water can be used for irrigation and other uses to conserve and extend our water supplies. Polk County reclaimed water supplies are still very limited and subject to availability. About 50 percent of a community’s drinking water is used for irrigation. Much of this irrigation water could be replaced with reclaimed water.
The water management districts are presently supporting reclaimed water as an irrigation water source and provide assistance to Polk County with cooperative funding programs and continued educational grant programs.
In Polk County, reclaimed water is used for crop irrigation, landscape irrigation, golf course irrigation, and power plant generation (cooling water).
What is the Reclaimed Water Process?
- Screens and other processes remove sand and debris
- Sedimentation removes large solids
- Disinfection, usually with chlorine, kills the microorganisms. Microorganisms break down organic materials
- Clarifiers remove microorganisms and remaining solids
- Filtering makes water clear
- Reuse facilities are constantly monitored to ensure that only high-quality reclaimed water is distributed. This water is clear and essentially pathogen-free.
Polk County's Northwest Regional Wastwater Treatment Plant
This Polk County Facility Produces Public Access Reuse Water for Uses Such as Irrigation
What Are The Benefits of Reclaimed Water?
- Costs less than drinking water
- Reduces fertilizer use, as some nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus remain in reclaimed water
- Reduces stress on drinking water supplies
- Reduces disposal into water bodies, which can help reduce nutrients in bays and rivers
Reclaimed Water Savings Add Up!
Reclaimed Water Customers Save An Average of $26.04 Per Month on Reclaimed Water Rates Compared to Customers Who Use Only Potable (Drinking) Water.
Rules and Regulations for Reclaimed Water
Rules governing the use of reclaimed water, both for utilities providers and consumers are provided under Florida Statutes. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection enforces standards of quality and volumes of reclaimed water used.
To ensure the equitable distribution of limited supplies of reclaimed water, installation of a water meter is used to calculate and track reuse flows.
For water quality, under the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, permittees of public access reuse systems are required to control the reuse system by ordinance or by binding agreements with individual users. This regulation helps enforce water quality standards for reclaimed water and helps ensure the restrictions for safe use.
What Can Reclaimed Water Be Used For?
- Lawn and Landscape Irrigation
- Street-Sweeping Operations
- Power Generation
- Filling Decorative Fountains, Lakes or Ponds
- Dust Control
- Aquifer Recharge
- Cooling or Makeup Water for a Variety of Industrial Processes
- Wetland Restoration and Enhancement
Reclaimed Water Cannot Be Used For…
Physical contact with reuse water is not known to have any negative effects. However, for safety and health protection, there are some purposes reclaimed water may not and should not be used:
Reclaimed Water Cannot Be Used For:
- Not for Body-Contact Recreation
Do Not Use for Bathing or Other Sanitary Purposes (Human or Animal)
Do Not Use for Filling Swimming or Wading Pools or Hot Tubs
Do Not Use for Water Slides, Water Balloons, Squirt Guns
- Not for Cooking or Drinking (Human or Animal)
Do Not Use for Interconnecting with a Drinking Water Pipeline
Do Not Use for Vegetable and Herb Gardens (unless drip or bubbler systems are used)
No Direct Contact Irrigation of Edible Crops
- Not for Washing of Equipment such as Cars, Boats, Driveways, or Structures
- Not for Sharing of Common Reclaimed Service or Connection Between Properties
- Not for Use Through Above Ground Hose Bibs, Faucets, Quick Couplers or Hoses, etc.
Polk County Utilities Reclaimed Water Service Areas
Requesting Reclaimed Water Service in Polk County
Polk County Utilities (PCU) customers should call (863) 298-4100 or (800) 301-6039 to determine if reclaimed water is available in your area. Obtain a Reclaimed Water Use Acknowledgement and Application for Participation Form and Informational Package from PCU. Complete, sign and return this form to the PCU office at 1011 Jim Keene Blvd., Rt. 540, Winter Haven, FL 33880.
**Please Note: Reclaimed Water Customers May Water Between Midnight and 10:00 A.M. or Between 4:00 P.M. and Midnight, as Follows:
Homes or Businesses with Even Addresses May Water on Thursday and/or Sunday
Homes or Businesses with Odd Addresses may Water on Wednesday and/or Saturday
Properties Where No Address can be Determined may Water on Tuesday and/or Friday
(Watering Days are the Same as for Those Using Potable Water, see Watering Restrictions)
Water utilities and their local governments review and revise water restriction enforcement procedures, enforce, report and communicate with customers about water restrictions and water conservation.
For More Information About Reclaimed Water Polk County Utilities Reclaimed Water Questions? Contact ~ Ashley McNutt ~ (863) 298-4228
Or Visit: http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/conservation/reclaimed/