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Reuse Facts

Reuse Terms

  1. "Reclaimed water" means water that has received at least secondary treatment and basic disinfection and is reused after flowing out of a domestic wastewater treatment facility.

  2. "Reuse" means the deliberate application of reclaimed water for a beneficial purpose.

Note:  For related terms concerning capacity versus flow.


Why Reuse Water?

As Florida’s population continues to grow by about 4,500 persons each week, the demand for fresh, clean water also increases - a fact which will lead to more widespread, severe, and more prolonged, water shortages. Almost 80 percent of the 17 million people in Florida live near the coast, and population growth continues to center on coastal areas. Near the coast, ground water supplies are limited, shallow, and vulnerable to overdraft, contamination, and salt water intrusion. Reuse helps to conserve potable water supplies since reclaimed water is used in place of potable water for certain purposes. In addition, many reuse activities can help recharge ground water supplies.

Florida does not have large, rapidly flowing streams to assimilate large discharges of the wastewater generated by its growing population. Its numerous streams tend to be small. They flow slowly and are warm year-round. They flow into lakes or coastal waters that are prone to excessive growth of algae, water hyacinths, and other nuisance aquatic weeds. In a state that depends upon the high quality of its surface waters for an important tourist industry, as a drawing card for growth and development, and as a basis for a high quality of life, protection of these surface waters is critical.

To protect the quality of valuable surface waters, wastewater treatment facilities have become more advanced and sophisticated and much more expensive to build and to operate. With such limited opportunities to discharge treated wastewater into surface streams, more and more communities are turning to reuse of reclaimed water as a way to manage their wastewater.

Reuse can help the state meet the water supply and wastewater management needs of its growing population. Recognizing this, Florida promotes reuse of reclaimed water and water conservation as major state objectives.

Last updated: September 21, 2011

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