Frequently Asked Questions about Reclaimed Water

What is reclaimed water?

Reclaimed water is a water supply obtained through the treatment of the waste water used for municipal or domestic purposes. Sometimes called water recycling or water reuse, reclaimed water may also include incidental contributions of industrial process water or storm water. The process of reclaiming water involves an engineered treatment system that speeds up nature’s restoration of water quality. The treatment allows the water to be ready for the many uses described in this document.

See our FAQ about reclaimed water.

What is Greywater?

“Greywater” is wastewater having the consistency and strength of residential domestic wastewater. Greywater includes wastewater from sinks, showers and laundry fixtures but does not include toilet or urinal waters. Greywater use is administered by the Department of Health. A fact sheet on greywater use is available or you can contact the Department of Health at (360) 236-3062 for more information. DOH Water Conserving On-Site Wastewater Treatment Systems at:

www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/WastewaterManagement/GreywaterReuse.aspx (Web site)

Recommended Standards and Guidance for Water Conserving On-site Wastewater Treatment Systems (Adobe PDF version)

If you do not have the free Acrobat Reader installed you may download it from this site.

What is Agricultural Industrial Process Water?

“Agricultural industrial process water” refers to food processing wastewater that does not have a sewage component. This includes wastewater from the processing of potato, fruit, vegetables, or grain. The wastewater must be adequately and reliably treated so that it is suitable for other agricultural use. The permit to apply agricultural industrial process water is the state waste discharge permit issued by Ecology under the Water Pollution Control Act, Chapter 90.48 RCW.

The permit governs the location, rate, water quality, and purpose of use. Because it does not have a sewage component and may have wastewater characteristics that differ from municipal wastewater, agricultural industrial process water may have treatment and permit requirements that are different from those contained in the state Water Reclamation and Reuse Standards.  If there are significant concerns for public health, then Ecology consults with the Department of Health before issuing a permit. The permittee has the exclusive right to the use and distribution of the agricultural industrial process water generated.  Agricultural industrial process water is exempted from the water right permit requirements under the state water code when used for agricultural purposes such as irrigation and dust control. Use of the water must not impair existing water rights and a water rights self-assessment may be required to demonstrate that impairment does not exist.

What is Industrial Reuse Water?

“Industrial reuse water” is industrial wastewater that does not contain sewage and has been adequately and reliably treated so that it is suitable for beneficial uses. Permits are issued by Ecology under the state Water Pollution Control Act, Chapter 90.48 RCW, to the owner of the industrial treatment plant who may then distribute the water subject to provisions in the permit governing the location, rate, water quality and the purpose of use. Because it does not have a sewage component and may have wastewater characteristics that differ from municipal wastewater, industrial reuse water may have treatment and permit requirements that are different from those contained in the Water Reclamation and Reuse Standards. If there are significant concerns for public health, Ecology consults with the Department of Health before issuing a permit.

The permittee has the exclusive right to the use of the water and is exempted from the water right permitting requirements under the state water code. Use of the water must not impair existing water rights and a water rights self-assessment may be required to demonstrate that impairment does not exist.