Weekly Discharge Report Summary & Drinking Water Directly from Wastewater?

Department of Environmental Conservation
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Weekly Discharge Report Summary

For the week of 10/15 to 10/21, 61 discharge reports were submitted by 16 individual facilities, with a total reported volume of 219,661 gallons.

Sewage discharge reports received by DEC are posted to the Sewage Discharge Reports web page daily. The report can be downloaded as an Excel spreadsheet.

Drinking Water Directly from Wastewater?

New technologies in wastewater treatment have advanced to the point where facilities can actually treat wastewater to meet water quality standards for drinking water. This is very important in terms of water conservation and reuse. The process is called Direct Potable Reuse (DPR) and simply means that treated wastewater is distributed immediately upstream of a drinking water treatment plant or directly into the potable water distribution system. For western states, water scarcity issues would be a thing of the past. Eastern states could utilize this technology to reduce the amount of wastewater, thus the amount of pollutants, discharged into waterbodies.

There are certain issues that arise when considering using this system.

  • Monitoring is vital when using DPR as wastewater has higher levels of pathogens and organic chemicals. There is typically an environmental buffer between treated wastewater and the potable water treatment plant. If DPR is used, a buffer needs to be created to ensure potable water quality is not compromised.
  • There is also usually a lack of public support for these systems due to the hesitance to use recently treated wastewater for potable purposes. Using Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR) can overcome this issue. In this manner, treated wastewater is mixed in an aquifer or reservoir instead of being distributed directly.

Given these constraints, DPR or IPR may be a great solution to many drinking water and wastewater problems. Water treated in this manner can be near distilled quality before it reaches the drinking water distribution system, and since it is reclaimed water, there is no extra demand on current water resources and decreases the amount of wastewater discharged into waterbodies.

Source: Gale, Sarah F. "Battling Water Scarcity." WaterWorld Sep 2013: 16-20. Print.

Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Wet Weather Advisory

DEC has a Google Map of the CSO locations in New York and a CSO Wet Weather Advisory web page. The purpose of the map and advisory is to help New Yorkers and their families make informed decisions before recreating on a waterbody.

CSO outfalls may discharge rainwater mixed with untreated sewage during or following rainfall or snowmelt events and may contain bacteria that can cause illness. DEC advises the public to avoid contact or recreation (swimming, boating, and fishing) in a waterbody with a CSO outfall during or after a rainfall or snowmelt event.