Effluent water could soon become part of your normal drinking water in Northern Nevada. According to KTVN, reclaimed water is around 30% cheaper than potable water, but the problem is that waste water is not drinkable yet. Yet is the key word here, because regulations that define how much the water will need to be treated are working their way through the Nevada state legislature, and lawmakers are hoping to see them adopted by the 2017 session.
As everyone knows, Northern Nevada is suffering a severe drought. Having another way to reuse water will have a great, positive environmental impact on our already low waterways. Effluent water is already being used in some ways, mostly to irrigate parks and golf courses, but more could be put back into eventual use by the proposed measure. The process involves injecting semi-treated water directly into the ground, so that it will later make its way back into our pipes. This will ease the strain that is currently put on the Truckee River, which will in turn help with our ecosystem.
Effluent water is defined as waste-water, whether treated or not, that flows out from an industrial treatment plant or sewer. Secondary effluent is that same water that has been treated, but not to the point of purity. Obviously, the main difference between potable and effluent water is the cleanliness of the water, and its fitness for human consumption.
WETLAB preforms several tests on effluent water for many different clients, including public and private companies. Some of these tests are Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), which tests how much oxygen demand the effluent water has, and Total Suspended Solids (TSS), which tests the amount of suspended solids within an aqueous sample. Several other tests are often performed in tandem on effluent water samples, including Total Nitrogen, Nitrate + Nitrite, Ammonia, Total Phosphorous, and Fecal Coliform. These tests all provide a detailed profile of what exactly is contained in an effluent sample, and allow proprietors to know how to best treat their water.
Singapore and Texas have already implemented effluent-to-drinking-water purification systems, with positive results. To read more about this program in Nevada, and to see an interesting news report on it, click here.