Public perception of potable water reuse: science, risk and necessity
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The travel time between the discharge of treated wastewater and drinking water intakes in the Atlanta region is one to two days. And the proportions of discharge to base flow seem to be increasing. One concludes that indirect potable reuse is not going away. Normal practice throughout the nation is to return treated wastewater to waterways. Some of those waterways happen to serve others as water supply. In the past the effluent limits placed on those discharges derived primarily from ambient water quality standards for aquatic ecosystems and recreation rather than for protection of drinking water supply and appurtenant public health issues. And the regulations promulgated under the Safe Drinking Water Act were premised on water supplies of the highest and best quality, which has not traditionally included substantial amounts of treated wastewater.