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Yes--molecularly speaking, anyway. The same water that exists today also did when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. All water on earth is recycled in some way. Treatment processes just speed up and focus those natural purification processes.
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Reuse water involves producing safe drinking water from wastewater. After water is used in our homes and businesses, it goes down the drain and is sent to the wastewater treatment plant. There, contaminants are removed and the water is released, in our case, into East Plum Creek. This water will then be picked back up from the creek, and sent to Plum Creek Water Purification Facility where it will undergo traditional and Advanced Treatment processes. This purified drinking water will be distributed to homes and businesses throughout Castle Rock.
Reusing water is one of the most cost-effective, environmentally sound and sustainable methods of water supply that there is. Castle Rock is diversifying its sources to ensure a strong water future. We currently get water from underground aquifers and our local East Plum Creek. Reuse water will allow these sources to recharge. We also import water, and while it is a great supply, this is expensive. The cost for reuse water is considerably less than many other sources. Reuse water will make up about 1/3 of all water supply for the Town beginning in 2020.
All drinking water that is distributed to homes must meet strict local, state and federal regulations for drinking water standards, regardless of where the water originates. With reuse water becoming more common, additional scientifically-proven treatment processes, like Advanced Treatment, are put in place. Advanced Treatment addresses contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products that can get into local creeks and rivers. Advanced Treatment will make water more pure than current standards. Reuse water and all drinking water is tested daily to ensure it is safe to drink. Customers can take a tour of the treatment facility and also view water quality test results.
Advanced Treatment is a multi-barrier process designed to eliminate contaminants, such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products. This treatment is in addition to the traditional treatment processes which, by local, state and federal law, must already meet safe drinking water standards. Having several treatment processes addresses different contaminants and provide redundancies. Advanced treatment has proven to completely eliminate difficult to remove common compounds like sucralose, an artificial sweetener, ensuring similar, less prevalent and easier to remove compounds like amphetamines, opiods and other pharmaceuticals are also eliminated to below detectable levels. Advanced Treatment processes are being added to the Plum Creek Water Purification Facility in 2018-2020.
It isn’t—water reuse already happens. Usually water that has been treated from the wastewater treatment plant is released into the nearby stream. Communities downstream then pick that water up and transport it to a drinking water treatment plant, where it is treated, tested and then distributed for use within the home or business. To address water rights and concerns for biological and pharmaceutical contaminants, regulations and processes specifically for reuse water are being developed.
Water reuse purification facilities are popping up all over the world and some communities have used reuse water for more than four decades. Potable reuse in the U.S. Locally, Aurora began using reuse water in 2010 with the installation of the Prairie Water project which supplies 50 million gallons of potable reuse water per day to Aurora and surrounding communities. (Some of our WISE water is from Prairie Waters.) It is estimated that by 2065 almost 30 percent of water consumed in all South Metro communities will be from reuse.