Reuse water may be our most cost-effective, environmentally sound and safe water supplies. Reuse water is economical because we do not have to purchase new water, nor pump it from great distances. By not mining water from deep underground and pulling excessive amounts from the creek, there are minimal disruptions to the ecosystem. Since we are using water that is already available, reuse water is also a sustainable supply regardless of growth or drought. Most importantly, various treatment processes can easily eradicate biological, environmental and pharmaceutical contaminants, making it safe to drink.
Why reuse water?
Changes in population and climate are affecting water supply and demand throughout Colorado – and the globe. In 2006, Castle Rock Water began planning for and implementing projects to secure a strong water future. Supplementing the deep aquifer groundwater supply, Castle Rock Water began using the local Plum Creek and importing WISE water from other areas. In 2020, Castle Rock Water began utilizing reuse water. Reuse water will constitute about 1/3 of the entire supply for the community and is one of the most economical, sustainable and environmentally-sound options available to the Town.
Reuse water is the next step in water supply, and communities across Colorado and the Nation are integrating reuse into their water supply portfolio. In February 2019, the EPA announced the development of a National Water Reuse Action Plan to incorporate reuse into Federal policy. Colorado’s Headwaters magazine highlights how Castle Rock and other Colorado communities are making reuse water a safe, reliable and sustainable drinking water supply. Associations like WaterReuse are helping with research and development to make water reuse a standard across the globe.
What is reuse water?
Reuse water involves producing safe drinking water from wastewater. Once water has been used in our homes and businesses, it flows to the water reclamation facility, where it is treated to environmental standards and then released into East Plum Creek. We have rights to this water and instead of letting this water flow downstream for use by other communities, Castle Rock recaptures it. This water is transported to the Plum Creek Water Purification Facility, where it goes through a multitude of treatment processes to meet or surpass drinking water purity standards.
How safe is reuse water?
To ensure the water is safe, Castle Rock has worked closely with WateReuse Colorado and other water industry experts on identifying the technological processes and regulations for reuse. Castle Rock has initiated design and laboratory studies and conducted a pilot project in 2018 to identify specific water treatment processes and water quality analysis that is ideal for the systems in our community. View the full report (PDF). Based on those studies, specific Advanced Treatment processes were added to the Plum Creek Water Purification Facility and construction was completed in late 2020.
Our drinking water goes through nine different treatment processes removing minerals, bacteria, viruses, biological matter, pharmaceuticals and personal care products. Having a myriad of processes provides redundancies ensuring one single process is not responsible for removing all contaminants. Advanced Treatment processes, highlighted in blue in the diagram below, were added add to the state-of-the-art Plum Creek Water Purification Facility to specifically treat reuse water supply. Tours of the plant are available once pandemic restrictions are relaxed.