OWS1104:      OSW Part 2 - NSF Grey Water Reuse Standard for Non-Potable Uses;  Structuring Affordable Solutions for Small Communities

Speakers:         Tom Bruursema / Craig Lindell

Emails:  bruursema@nsf.org / chlindell@aquapoint.com


Review of New National Standards for the Evaluation of Onsite Residential Wastewater and Graywater Reuse Treatment Systems for Non-Potable Applications – Tom Bruursema

Growing interest in sustainable living combined with depleting resources has created a new market of onsite water reuse treatment technologies.  Such technologies create benefit, but also risk to public health.  Product standards are needed to provide credibility to the industry, confidence to buyers and a basis for approval by public health officials.  New national standards will be reviewed, including methods of test, treatment system design, and suitable effluent quality requirements.


Source water shortages and growing pressure on water supply infrastructure are creating the need and interest in the use of non-potable water for applications other than for drinking water.  Municipal reclaimed water is well established and represents one source of water for use in irrigation, decorative fountains and other non-potable water applications.  The same concept is now being applied within individual residences and commercial facilities, enabling wastewater generated onsite to remain onsite for treatment and use within the same structure for non-potable water applications.   


In addition to the benefits of reduced burden on existing source water supplies and potable water treatment and distribution infrastructure, managing the recycling of water onsite provides other advantages.  First, it allows isolation of individual source streams to optimize treatment.  Second, it allows for treatment to varying levels of quality based on the intended application.    A number of residential drinking water and wastewater treatment technologies exist in the market today.  Many of these same technologies are capable of being applied to onsite residential, and scaled up to onsite commercial reuse treatment technologies.  This is expected to facilitate and accelerate the availability of treatment technologies.  What has been lacking, however, are national standards to establish consistent, agreed upon methods of test, treatment system design, and suitable effluent quality requirements.   


The NSF Joint Committee on Wastewater Treatment Units, responsible for development of the NSF consensus standards, formed a task group several years ago to develop standards for onsite treatment equipment used in reuse applications.  The task group includes representatives from equipment manufacturers, plumbing product manufacturers, public health officials, consulting engineers, code bodies, academicians and others.  The results of their efforts to-date has led to the drafting of a new standard, NSF 350 Onsite Residential and Commercial Reuse Treatment Systems.    The purpose of Standard 350 is to establish minimum materials, design and construction, and performance methods and criteria.  It encompasses systems that treat all the wastewater flow, along with those that treat the graywater portion only.  Further, within the graywater portion, systems can be evaluated for treating bathing water only, laundry water only, or both.


Structuring Affordable Wastewater Solutions for Small and Rural Communities - Craig Lindell

Decentralized wastewater treatment is now an industry with a portfolio of collection treatment and dispersal technologies that have the capacity to deliver TMDL performance based infrastructure on an incremental and just in time basis. Why do we not see it?


NEHA, NOWRA and SORA share a common opportunity.  Decentralized wastewater treatment is now an industry. This industry has produced a portfolio of affordable technologies for collection treatment and dispersal that have the potential to address the emerging demands for integrated water resource and watershed management and meet TMDL standards. This emerging industry is supported by guidance documents and demonstration projects as well as research by the Water Environment Research Foundation that suggest that properly structured the decentralized approach can have the capacity to pay for itself.


There is, however, a dilemma.  The  onsite tradition: 

  1. Is responsive to demand,
  2. Uses the soils in the treatment process,
  3. Generally has a built in funding source in the form of betterments and
  4. Is aware of local conditions.


These are characteristics that are not shared by central sewers authorities and NPDES codes.   The central sewer tradition has:

  1. The capacity to aggregate participation,
  2. The mandate to assure management,
  3. The ability to raise funds in the open market and assess fees and
  4. A uniform performance based code.


These are characteristics that are not shared by Health departments and the onsite codes.  Ironically, neither tradition is structured to take significant advantage of this emerging industry because of deficiencies in their codes. These deficiencies are ecologically, socially and economically costly to communities and their citizens.


Open Forum

Brief presentations with Q&A sessions from various SORA Captains of Industry on new technologies, applications or products.