Reclaimed Wastewater Plays a Key Role in Conservation

Reclaimed Wastewater Plays a Key Role in Conservation

Randy Horton, manager of the OWASA Distribution and Collection Systems Department

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As the wastewater collection and treatment agency as well as the water distribution agency for its service area, the Orange Water and Sewer Authority has found a way to conserve water by reclaiming wastewater and using it in situations where regular water might have been used instead.

Treated effluent from the authority’s wastewater treatment plant is sent back to the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where it’s used for irrigation and for chilled water in climate control systems.

The reclaimed water program started in 2009. It’s technically operated by the wastewater treatment portion of OWASA, but its impact helps save the water distribution side.

“We do that to save water that we treat at the water treatment plant,” says Randy Horton, manager of the OWASA Distribution and Collection Systems Department. “That cuts back about a half a million gallons a year.”

It’s one of a number of conservation measures that the authority has implemented. Those measures have been so successful that even as the community served by the authority grows, overall demand has not, says Mary Darr, manager of OWASA’s engineering department.

“Most of our capital improvement budget now is primarily for renewal and replacement of infrastructure, versus capacity needs,” Darr says.



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