Department of Ecology News Release - June 22, 2015

Streamlined regulations encourage water reuse
Proposed reclaimed water rule will help state prepare for future droughts

OLYMPIA – A draft rule would help Washington deal with water shortages by encouraging local jurisdictions to reuse or reclaim water.

Reclaimed water is water that is treated by sewer plants to ensure it is safe for other uses, such as irrigation, controlling dust or flushing toilets. Use of reclaimed water conserves our limited supplies of drinking water.

Reclaimed water can also be reused to create, restore and enhance wetlands, recharge underground water supplies, and increase flows in rivers. It improves water quality by reducing the amount of wastewater that treatment plants discharge into Puget Sound and other waters.

“This proposal gives our state an additional tool to reduce the impacts of water shortages and drought conditions in the future,” said Maia Bellon, director of the Washington Department of Ecology, which is developing the rule. “This is part of our broader initiative to prepare for climate change, while also protecting the health of our waters and preserving our diminishing water supplies.”

In Washington, 28 local jurisdictions are already putting reclaimed water to work, including Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater, Quincy, Airway Heights, and King County.

The state’s draft reclaimed water rule would establish new regulations for all reclaimed water projects by creating a consistent implementation framework, including standards and permitting requirements.

Components of the draft rule include:

The public is invited to review and comment on the draft rule until Aug. 21, 2015. Ecology will hold two public workshops and hearings on the rule:

Visit Ecology’s rulemaking website for additional information.


Sandy Howard, Ecology communications, 360-407-6408, @ecologyWA