Water recycling technology has advanced exponentially in recent years, yet the concept is not one that was born in the new millennium. Water recycling is the process by which wastewater is treated to remove impurities and solids so that reclaimed or recycled water can be used. Reclaimed water can be used for commercial and industrial water needs, the recharging of groundwater aquifers, and sustainable landscaping irrigation. It can also be used as drinking water.
Related Blog: Top 5 Uses for Reclaimed Wastewater
Water Recycling: California and the 20th Century
Water recycling has its American origins in California. Los Angeles County began using recycled water for irrigating parks and golf courses as early as 1929. The first reclaimed water treatment facility was opened in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park in 1932. Widespread water reuse – the use of reclaimed water for beneficial purposes – grew throughout the 1960s.
Irvine Ranch Water District, the first to earn an unrestricted use permit (unrestricted except for use as drinking water), and Orange Country are recognized leaders in the public use of recycled water. Irvine Ranch installed a 10-MGD Membrane Bioreactor into its water recycling mechanisms in 2012.
Water Recycling: Florida and the 21st century
The rest of the country and much of the world, however, have caught up. States such as Florida are embracing water reclamation and companies like Harn R/O Systems Inc. have led the way in membrane treatment for over 40 years. Full-service companies like Harn have the staff and experience to handle the entire water treatment process from design to construction to maintenance.
As the process has improved and the science has evolved, so has the industry. Organizations such as the American Membrane Technology Association (AMTA) are concerned with water quality and the evolution of the membrane treatment industry.
A New Era in Water Recycling
While the end goal of recycling and reuse – reclaiming clean water that can be appropriated for many functions – is not new, the challenges of the new era are. Legislation has meant an adherence to a multitude of environmental concerns, demands, and regulations. AMTA has been organized to assist both lawmakers and industry leaders in the development of common sense, effective legislation that will allow water recycling technology to continue advancing. The goal is for industry leaders to be able leadwithin the governmental restraints.
Industries that continuously reinvent themselves at a newer, higher standard seem new, even when they are not. Rapid advancements in technology mean change that was once slow, now moves exponentially faster. Water is one of the most vital resources we have. It is important that its reclamation continues to evolve.