Reclaimed water put to good use in Illinois
Governor Quinn puts water saving bills in motion — keeping pharmaceuticals out of the water supply and using non-potable water for irrigation and landscaping.
Thursday, September 8, 2011 - 23:33
Governor Quinn continues to sign new legislation to better the Illinois environment. In late August Quinn welcomed three new bills aimed at improving the water supply.
House Bill 2056 puts in motion a pharmaceutical collection program to keep many prescription medications from entering the water supply as a means of disposal. The program will be used as an educational model to teach residents about the abuse of prescriptions, as well as the impact they have on our environment. In conjunction with this, Bill 3090 allows local government and law enforcement to have collection containers for unwanted or expired prescriptions in their buildings.
To save massive quantities of drinking water, Quinn also signed Bill 248. This allows the North Shore Sanitary District to divert recycled wastewater for use in irrigation projects such as watering golf courses and parks.
Reclaimed water has been utilized for decades, especially in states such as California, where water isn't as plentiful as it is in the Midwest. Not only is it good for irrigation, but it's great as an agent for dust control, cooling power plants, flushing toilets, fire prevention, vehicle/equipment washing, in decorative fountains and landscaping. The uses are innumerable in an industrial setting — recycled water can even be used to make snow.
This same water also benefits the environment when used to supplement streams, replenish aquifers and enhance marshes and wetlands. At home we call this greywater, cycled through our washing machines and bathtubs, which many people divert into their yards or gardens.
Public utilities throughout the country are seeing greater demand for reclaimed water. Many areas have a dual piping system that allows the recycled material to be distributed via lavender pipes, which keep it separate from potable (drinking) water.
It’s great to see Governor Quinn putting these environmentally important changes in place. Finding appropriate means to utilize reclaimed waste water protects our local supply and ensures it will last, even through times of drought.
Photo: John Loo/Flickr
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