Reclaimed Water

Highly treated wastewater. California has one of the most stringent wastewater reclamation criteria in the U.S. Reclaimed water treatment steps:

  1. Primary Treatment - Sand, grit and the larger solids are separated from the liquid, removing 45 to 50 percent of the waste materials. The residual water, or effluent, can be used for irrigating orchards and vineyards, and animal feed, fiber and seed crops. Opportunities for using this type of reclaimed water do not exist in Los Angeles.
  2. Secondary Treatment - This step, largely a biological process, removes 85 percent of the remaining waste materials. Bacteria and other organisms consume these materials. The wastewater is then disinfected to kill any remaining harmful bacteria. The reclaimed water produced at this stage is 95 percent free of the original solids and organic matter. It can be used for surface irrigation (flooding) of most crops, pastures, cemeteries, and other large turf areas.
  3. Tertiary Treatment - This advanced step filters and removes nearly all remaining fine solids. Water is chlorinated for disinfection, then dechlorinated to protect fish and other aquatic life. Reclaimed tertiary effluent can be used for irrigation of parks and playgrounds, spray irrigation of food crops, and some types of groundwater recharge.