Maryland's goals for water reuse fall into three categories:
Increase the amount of current types of reuse,
Expand into new types of reuse,
Adopt regulatory and programmatic changes to make reuse easier.
Maryland has experience with reusing treated municipal wastewater effluent in the following ways:
Non-food crop irrigation,
Golf course irrigation,
Power plant cooling and
Data center cooling.
In addition to these, there are smaller scale activities, like reuse associated with value-added on-farm products, rainwater harvesting, building foundation dewatering, and some on-site (distributed) treatment of gray water for non-potable reuse. Industrial process reuse is another existing activity, but for which no consolidated tracking is currently being done.
A goal of Maryland is to increase each of these existing types of water reuse in at least two ways. One is to increase the numbers of end users. The second is to increase the amount being reused by current end users. These goals are starting to be tracked more closely as part of Maryland's water reuse initiative.
A variety of water reuse applications not being practiced in Maryland are candidates for adoption. Some examples are as follows:
Incorporating purple pipes into new development to implement centralized, non-potable reuse,
On-site treatment for potable reuse in small private settings,
On-site treatment of gray water and non-potable reuse within larger buildings, similar to San Francisco,
On-site treatment of wastewater and non-potable reuse, similar to Emory University,
On-site treatment and drip-irrigation reuse for food crops.
One activity of Maryland's water reuse initiative will be to evaluate the need for these and other types of reuse. This will help prioritize and direct resources toward enabling the most viable and needed types of water reuse that have yet to be adopted in Maryland.
Maryland has statutes, regulations and guidance that help provide certainty to businesses and individuals seeking to reuse various kinds of water, while ensuring the protection of public health and the environment. However, the following changes reflect goals to improve the current status:
Revise the permits chapter of MDE's Water Pollution regulations to add Class 4 effluent water quality and associated uses (COMAR 26.08.04.01). Class 4 is a higher effluent quality standard that allows more flexible kinds of water reuse involving higher potential for human contact.
Identify and act on statutory and regulatory changes, where necessary, to advance the adoption of new types of water reuse or other goals of Maryland's water reuse initiative.
There's an old saying, "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it." Evaluating progress toward Maryland's water reuse goals is essential to managing water reuse.
See Maryland's Maryland's Water Reuse Progress webpage. (Next Page)
Please direct questions or comments to Jim George.
1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21230