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California Bill Would Increase Wastewater Recycling

In California, a billion gallons of water ends up in the ocean every day. A new bill seeks to curb this practice by requiring treatment facilities to increase recycling and reuse efforts.
March 2, 2019, 9am PST | Camille Fink
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USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

California legislators want to see less rainwater discharged into the Pacific Ocean and state estuaries. "SB 332, the Local Water Reliability Act, calls on wastewater treatment facilities to step up recycling, conservation and efficiency to meet reduction targets of 50 percent by 2030 and 95 percent by 2040 for the amount of water dumped into the ocean," reports Kevin Modesti.

State Senators Bob Hertzberg and Scott Wiener, the bill’s backers, say that California communities often use water once and then dispose of it, up to 1.1 billion gallons a day. "Hertzberg cited a climatologist’s estimate, reported in the Los Angeles Times, that more than 80 percent of the region’s rainfall ends up diverted from urban areas in Southern California into the Pacific Ocean," notes Modesti.

They argue that the water should be recycled and used for landscape and agricultural irrigation to reduce the practice of diverting water to Southern California from the Colorado River and the Bay-Delta watershed in the northern part of the state.

Hertzberg backed a similar bill in 2015 that faced opposition from water agencies citing the immense costs that would come along with reuse mandates. The earlier bill did not get past the committee level, but the Association of California Water Agencies has not yet taken an official stance on the latest bill.

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Published on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 in Los Angeles Daily News
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