Groups scrutinize reclaimed water use
October 31, 2012
Alternative Solutions Guide for Reclaimed Water Reuse, a new Fact Sheet available from Alberta Municipal Affairs, was developed by the Reclaimed Water Working Group. Established by The Government of Alberta, the group is tasked to develop a framework to facilitate the safe use of reclaimed water for domestic applications, such as toilet flushing and landscape irrigation. This framework includes new standards and guidelines to mitigate potential health risks associated with using reclaimed water for domestic applications. The initiative supports Alberta’s Water for Life Strategy, which commits the province to improving the overall efficiency and productivity of water use by 30 per cent from 2005 levels by 2015. Four government ministries are participating in the group: Alberta Environment – responsible for regulating water treatment and distribution systems, wastewater collection, treatment and disposal systems outside of private properties in Alberta; Alberta Health and Wellness and the Alberta Health Services Board – responsible for monitoring the quality of water and addressing public health issues; Alberta Municipal Affairs – responsible for the building, plumbing and on-site private sewage public safety disciplines in Alberta; and Alberta Transportation – responsible for funding municipal water and wastewater treatment infrastructure in Alberta. The framework being developed by the working group will establish approved uses for reclaimed water, water quality and technical standards or guidelines and a management system (e.g. approvals, monitoring and reporting requirements). Nationally, a working group comprised of government officials and invited experts was established by the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Health and the Environment (CHE) to develop guidelines for using household reclaimed water for toilet and urinal flushing. To view the guidelines click here. Working group members are also participating in development of technical guidelines for reclaimed water systems. The working group is represented on a Canadian Standards Association committee that is developing a testing protocol for the certification of residential non-potable water treatment systems. The working group has also partnered with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Ontario Municipal Affairs and a number of municipalities to help the University of Guelph develop guidelines for design, construction and maintenance of residential rain water harvesting.