Water Recycling

Protecting the quality of fresh water in the world is an ongoing effort at the individual and world-wide level. One aspect of this effort is the concept of water recycling, replenishing what we use instead of abusing the amounts of water that are slowly dwindling because the planet cannot replenish them quickly enough. Water recycling also cuts down on the amount of wastewater that is produced and discarded.

Water Recycling Process

The water recycling method is sometimes called water reclamation or water reuse, but these names all mean the same three step process. The procedure is what is used not only to recycle water for immediate use, but to also pipe water back into fresh water sources like the Mississippi River, from which drinking water is siphoned. The three steps include:

The level to which a batch of wastewater is treated according to the three steps is usually based on what it is going to be recycled to do. Obviously, water being used to irrigate food crops is going to be more treated and purified than water being used on non-food crops. But according to EPA standards, there is much on-site and case by case determination of how much treatment is needed depending on the use and the beginning condition of the water.

Uses of Recycled Water

Recycled water has many uses, mostly non-potable (non-drinkable) uses though. In the United States, recycled water is generally required to be treated to the second level, just for the sake of safety. Some of the uses, by treatment level, include:

Using recycled water for the above mentioned uses not only reduces the need for removing fresh water from surface and groundwater sources, but also helps in keeping more potable water for just drinking purposes. This also helps in protecting natural habitats and is a part of water conservation.

Water Recycling and Conservation

One of the ways to practice water conservation is indeed with water recycling. Water recycling not only limits the amount of water that has to be taken out of the environment for non drinking water purposes, but also helps protect the habitats out there. Some may argue that it also helps with the energy conservation portion of water conservation, but water recycling does require a lot of energy to work. Ways water recycling does affect conservation also include:

Future of Water Recycling

The future of water recycling is looking positive, as the examination of long term effects have been promising when reintroducing recycled water to the places of origin. There are few harmful side effects to water recycling, but a few problems have seemed to appear when trying to implement water recycling plants.

Yet, if these problems can be overcome, water recycling could be used for almost all non-potable water uses. It could also be used eventually in sustaining potable sources of water as well in the near future, and for more than just watering crops.

Water recycling is an excellent part of water conservation. It not only promotes the health of natural water and habitats, but reduces the amount of water wasted in things like irrigation and man-made water features. In the future, it seems water recycling will be a main part of the water supply process and eventually will have a part in all aspects of the water system.