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Water Reuse in Colorado

Reclaimed water has been used for landscape irrigation in Colorado in places like Colorado Springs and Aurora since the late 1950s and early 1960s respectively. Reuse has become common practice in cities like Colorado Springs, Denver, Aurora, and Westminster. Before the adoption of Regulation No. 84, individual reclaimed water providers were regulated under their Colorado Discharge Permit System (CDPS) permits for their wastewater treatment facility. Under the CDPS permits, end-use requirements were not specified - only effluent limitations and permitted discharge points.

As the demand for reuse water grew, the need for a regulation to further promote reuse of reclaimed water became evident. The regulation was needed to provide a comprehensive and consistent framework which, when followed, would assure responsible management of operations and a product of a quality compatible with the State's goals of protecting public health and the environment.

Following the suggestion by the RMWEA/RMSAWWA Joint Water Reuse Committee in February 1998, the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission requested a subcommittee of the Water Quality Forum be convened to consider potential statutory changes to the Colorado Water Quality Control Act to address reuse of domestic wastewater for landscape irrigation. Statutory changes were adopted and became effective on July 1, 2000. The subcommittee had also been concurrently working on a proposed control regulation, later Regulation No. 84 or the Colorado Reclaimed Domestic Wastewater Control Regulation (later renamed the Colorado Reclaimed Water Control Regulation) effective July 1, 2000.

The initial Regulation only allowed the use of reclaimed water for landscape irrigation, and specifically excluded reuse at single-family residential properties. Subsequent modifications to Regulation No. 84 broadened the range of authorized uses to include various commercial and industrial uses, as well as resident-controlled (e.g., single-family home) landscape irrigation. To achieve the goal of the protection of public health and the environment, the current Regulation specifies various approved uses, treatment and water quality requirements for specific reuse categories, conditions for use, monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting. To date, more than a dozen reuse treatment facilities have received authorization from the State, serving nearly 150 reuse customer sites.

Reclaimed Water

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment/Water Quality Control Division (CDPHE/WQCD) currently regulates the treatment, distribution, and use of reclaimed water in Colorado through the Colorado Reclaimed Water Control Regulation 84. This regulation currently authorizes the use of reclaimed water for landscape irrigation (including single-family residential irrigation) and various commercial and industrial uses such as cooling tower use, dust control, soil compaction, mechanized street cleaning, fire protection, and zoo operations.


Treaters in Colorado

Reuse Water Treaters in Colorado