In response to the increasing water supply challenges arising throughout many areas of the world, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the 2012 Guidelines for Water Reuse. The document, developed by engineering firm CDM Smith Inc. under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the EPA, is to be used by states in developing and implementing water reuse regulations in order to achieve resource efficiency and ensure protection of human and environmental health. To mitigate concerns over water management and expand the nation's total available water resources, many U.S. communities are increasingly relying on reclaimed water as an alternative source to conventional water for a multitude of reuse applications.

The guidelines update those released by the EPA in 2004 and reflect advances in water reuse practices and treatment technologies. The document summarizes existing U.S. regulations on water reuse and reclamation and describes water use practices outside of the United States. In addition, the guidelines include information on industrial reuse, disinfection and treatment technologies and planning future water reuse systems, as well as ideas for funding water reuse systems and generating public participation in water reuse.

Over 300 global case studies concerning water reclamation and reuse are included in the guidelines. The cases cover innovative water reuse practices by ski resorts in Pennsylvania, the reclamation of water by a Minnesota city for use as a cooling source for local power plants and PepsiCo's reuse and water reduction initiatives in beverage production.

Since publication of the guidelines, thirty states and one U.S. territory have adopted regulations and fifteen states have guidelines or design standards concerning water reuse, according to Don Vandertulip, leader of CDM Smith's water reuse discipline.

To access the EPA's 2012 Guidelines for Water Reuse, click here.