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AWWA symposium showcases how potable reuse is ‘coming of age’

Industry News
American Water Works Association

AWWA symposium showcases how potable reuse is ‘coming of age’

Water managers, federal and state regulators and public health experts will convene in Long Beach, Calif., Jan. 25-27, at the first International Symposium on Potable Reuse to discuss advanced technologies that purify wastewater and ultimately turn it into high quality drinking water.

The event is hosted by the American Water Works Association, the world’s largest association of water professionals.

Recent drought conditions in places such as California and global concerns such as expanding populations and potential climate change have accelerated interest in potable reuse technologies. At the same time, water utility experts, public health officials and regulators are engaging in conversations about how to assure the protection of public health as potable reuse projects expand.

“Water never stops being valuable,” said AWWA CEO David LaFrance. “Potable reuse is clearly coming of age as a strategy to supplement and sustain water supplies in a growing number of communities. AWWA is pleased to bring together so many respected potable reuse leaders to share experiences and consider what lies ahead.”

Monday’s keynote address will include remarks from Jeff Kightlinger, General Manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, who will discuss MWDSC’s decision to invest in the development of what could be one of the largest recycled water programs in the world.

Tuesday’s keynote session, titled “Policy & Potable Reuse: Balancing Water Needs with Public Health Protection”, will feature representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California State Water Resources Control Board. They will discuss the national policy and regulatory approach to potable reuse as a unique water supply solution.

Conference attendees will also hear about cutting edge “direct” potable reuse projects, in which wastewater that has been through advanced purification processes is introduced directly into drinking water systems. Speakers from Big Spring, Texas, the only direct potable reuse facility that has operated in the United States, will speak on treatment process effectiveness and how to confidently produce water that meets all applicable regulations. Representatives from El Paso Water Utilities will present on a pilot direct potable reuse project that could lead to a full-scale facility by 2019.

To assist communities interested in developing sustainable water supplies through potable reuse, AWWA and other water sector organizations released “Framework for Direct Potable Reuse” this fall. This document guides state agencies and utilities in developing guidelines for direct potable reuse.

In the 2015 AWWA State of the Water Industry Report, a top cited issue was concern for long-term water supply availability, with 11 percent of responding utility personnel indicating their utility will be challenged to meet anticipated long-term water supply needs.

For full details on the symposium and registration options, visit the event’s webpage. The event will be co-located with the International Symposium on Biological Treatment.

Symposium partners include the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, International Ultraviolet Association, National Association of Clean Water Agencies, National Water Research Institute, WateReuse, the Water Environment Federation and the Water Research Foundation.

Media Note: Accredited members of the media may attend the International Symposium on Potable Reuse at no charge. However, they are required to register with AWWA Public Affairs. For media registration, please visit AWWA’s press room or contact Amber Wilson.

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