AquaPA’s Official Position on Wastewater Re-Use

Local and regional water authorities don’t have it easy these days in Pennsylvania. AquaPA, our local, privatized water supplier is no exception. According to AquaAmerica’s 2010 Sustainability Report, the company spent $10 million upgrading Bristol’s aged water treatment plant in 2006 and $33 million on Crum Creek’s in 2009. The 30-page report makes no mention of Natural Gas Drilling. Here, an excerpt outlines Aqua’s position on wastewater re-use:

“Wastewater Reuse”

A small (just over 10 percent based on revenue) but important part of Aqua America’s business is wastewater treatment and disposal. Wastewater recycling and reuse represents an opportunity to promote sustainable practices and technology. Traditional methods of wastewater disposal have relied on stream discharge or, for private and small community septic systems, subsurface disposal with minimal treatment. But properly treated wastewater can be applied as spray or drip irrigation to fields, woodlands and recreational landscaping. Nutrients that are not removed during the treatment process can be beneficial to plants instead of being a detriment to water bodies. The additional energy and chemicals that would be required to remove the last increments of nutrients during the treatment process can be avoided. For customers with high demand for irrigation water, wastewater reuse can lower costs by replacing more expensive water resources and reducing stress on limited high quality resources, while completely eliminating the discharge of nutrients into streams, lakes or estuaries. Aqua America currently has more than 250 wastewater plants, about 15 percent of which provide high-quality treated effluent for reuse.

SOURCE: AquaAmerica, 2010 Sustainability Report

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