Integrating Reuse into a Sustainable Water Management Strategy
- James N. Struve, Francis Buser, and Kate Keenan - Hazen and Sawyer
Due to limited available water sources, an emphasis has been put on reuse of our drinking water sources. Following several severe droughts, the Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) joined forces to find methods of off-setting potable water demands. The partners committed to reclaimed water as an essential cornerstone of the community’s sustainable water management strategy. OWASA is pursuing the use of reclaimed water as a key part of its sustainable water resource management strategy. With existing and planned local drinking water supply sources and conservation efforts, the reclaimed water system is expected to enable OWASA to avoid or substantially defer the need for additional water supply capacity thus optimizing the use of water resources and reducing costs.
The reuse project is unlike most other local government reclaimed water systems. Ninety percent of expected demand is for cooling tower make-up water and toilet flushing. This ensures year-round demand and helps maximize water supply benefits.
The reuse pump station was planned in ten year increments. Potential demands were evaluated by classifying them into the following four categories:
• Technically and economically feasible now
• Technically feasible but not yet economically feasible
• Non UNC demands that were technically and economically feasible now
• Other UNC industrial uses not yet economically or technically feasible now
By categorizing demands, flow rates were predicted based on current projections; the resulting pump station was designed for flexibility for future demands by allowing for ease of pump replacement and addition.
A reclaimed water pump station and a storage tank were constructed at the existing Mason Farm Wastewater Treatment Plant site. The pump station was designed for an initial firm pumping capacity of 4.6 MGD; the associated storage tank has an initial capacity of 600,000 gallons.
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