Florida DEP partners with EPA, other state agencies to promote water reuse

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and other state and federal agencies are taking another look at water reuse issues in the state.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Nov. 1, 2001 —With this summer's above average amounts of rainfall, the strains from Florida's historic drought were finally eased somewhat. This does not mean that water conservation should be curtailed.

Conservation efforts must remain an important component of the state's comprehensive water policy. The Department of Environmental Protection and other state and federal agencies are encouraging conservation methods such as water reuse.

Florida, along with California, is already a national leader in water reuse. In 2000, over 450 domestic wastewater treatment facilities distributed about 575 million gallons per day of reclaimed water for a wide range of reuse activities.

Capacity of water reuse systems in Florida totaled over 1.1 billion gallons per day - about 50 percent of the state's total permitted domestic wastewater treatment plant capacity. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized Florida's Water Reuse Program for excellence in 1993, 1996, and 1999.

"Florida is already a leader in the area of water reuse," said DEP Secretary David B. Struhs. "By expanding water reuse, Florida will be even better prepared for a future with an even larger population and another drought that will surely come. In addition to providing a dependable, locally-controlled water supply, water reuse provides substantial environmental benefits. Water reuse decreases our dependency on primary water sources and decreases the diversion from sensitive ecosystems.

"One example of a community that recognizes the importance of conserving our water resources is Santa Rosa County. Late last week, the Santa Rosa County Commission unanimously voted to have its county administrative staff draft an ordinance to require new subdivisions in south Santa Rosa to install water reuse systems. With such systems, water users can supplement their demands by using reclaimed water, which can free considerable amounts of water for the environment and increase flows to vital ecosystems."

In recognition of the many benefits of water reuse, Florida established the encouragement and promotion of water reuse as state objectives. DEP has joined with the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, the Florida Department of Health, the water management districts, the Public Service Commission, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Department of Community Affairs to publicly commit to these objectives.

For more information, visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us.

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