Effluent Usage in the
Southwestern United States
Effluent is the use of treated wastewater to irrigate fields where previously fresh, potable water was used. In recent years, more cities have begun using effluent in their city planning, which was initiated by people in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A recent project has begun construction on an underground pipeline that travels from the city’s wastewater plant to a park, to be used to water the grass in the city’s Tierra Contenta park.
Arizona, a neighboring state, also employs a wide usage of effluent for some of their services, which do not require potable water. The arid climates in these southern States often cause droughts, therefore, it is vital water be used strategically and efficiently. In nine Arizona cities, 100% of water is treated and reused in projects such as landscape irrigation, process water for industrial facilities, and cooling tower water.
Photo Credit: Conceptual diagram illustrating a modern central collection and wastewater treatment plant. Diagram from "Tropical Connections: South Florida's marine environment" (pg. 101) - http://ian.umces.edu/press/publications/374/