From Waste to Water: States Embracing Advanced Recycling

States across the U.S. are turning to advanced wastewater recycling to increase their water supplies in response to growing concerns over water scarcity. Leading the charge is California, home to the world’s largest wastewater recycling plant, the Orange County Groundwater Replenishment System. This facility purifies 130 million gallons of wastewater daily, setting a standard for others to follow. With new regulations expected soon, California aims to further integrate purified wastewater into its drinking water supply.

Texas is also at the forefront of this movement, with cities like El Paso preparing to build a $130 million wastewater purification plant. This facility will send treated wastewater directly back into the drinking water system, marking a significant step toward sustainable water management. Arizona, too, is utilizing recycled wastewater for various purposes, from replenishing rivers to irrigating parks and golf courses, although direct use in drinking water systems is still in development.

Other states are not far behind. Colorado, Florida, Iowa and Kansas are considering similar advancements, with local regulations and community campaigns in progress. For instance, Colorado's town of Castle Rock is upgrading its water treatment facilities to directly recycle wastewater into drinking water, while ensuring stringent water quality monitoring and public engagement.

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