Reclaimed water is highly treated wastewater that can be used for irrigation and other purposes to extend our water supplies. Up to 50 percent of a community’s drinking water is used for irrigation. Much of this irrigation water could be replaced with reclaimed water that is provided by water reclamation facilities and delivered in purple-colored pipes.
For nearly 100 years, highly-treated reclaimed water has safely been used in the United States. In Florida, more than 650 million gallons per day of reclaimed water is used by 280,000 residential irrigation customers, 525 golf courses, 875 parks and 320 schools.
Benefits of Reuse
- Costs less than drinking water
- Reduces fertilizer use, as nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus remain in the reclaimed water
- Reduces stress on drinking water supplies
- Reduces disposal into water bodies, which can help reduce nutrients in bays and rivers
How Reclaimed Water Can Be Used
- Irrigation of lawns, landscapes and golf courses
- Street-sweeping operations
- Decorative fountains
- Dust control
- Groundwater recharge
- Cooling or for a variety of industrial processes
Irrigating Vegetable and Herb Gardens With Reclaimed Water
- Only if a drip or bubbler system is used is it safe to irrigate vegetable and herb gardens (remember to always wash produce, regardless of water source)
- DEP 62.610-Reuse of reclaimed water and land applications. Irrigation of edible crops that can be peeled, skinned or thermally processed before consumption is allowed. All others must be irrigated indirectly.
How Reclaimed Water Can’t Be Used
- Body-contact recreation, such as swimming pools and spas
- Cooking or drinking
- Do not connect house pipes (drinking water) to the reclaimed water (irrigation pipes)
The Wastewater-to-Reclaimed Water Process
- Screening and other processes to remove sand and debris
- Sedimentation to remove large solids
- Aeration so that microorganisms can break down organic materials
- Clarification to remove microorganisms and any remaining solids
- Filtration to make water crystal clear
- Disinfection with chlorine to kill pathogens and bacteria
Water reuse facilities are constantly monitored to ensure that only high-quality reclaimed water is distributed. This water is sparkling clear and essentially pathogen-free. Decades of experience have demonstrated that the use of reclaimed water in urban, commercial and agricultural settings is both a safe and reliable source of water.
To sign up for reclaimed water, please contact Utility Billing at (407) 571-8044.
Irrigating with Reclaimed Water
The City of Altamonte Springs has watering restrictions in place which follow the St. Johns River Water Management District guidelines. The following regulations are in effect for using reclaimed water:
- There is no irrigation allowed between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Single-family residential properties are permitted to irrigate two days per week based on the address of the property.
- Odd numbered addresses can irrigate on Wednesdays and/or Saturdays.
- Even numbered addresses can irrigate on Thursdays and/or Sundays.
- Apartment and condominium communities as well as commercial properties are permitted to irrigate on Tuesdays and/or Fridays.
Fines could be assessed for non-compliance with these regulations.
Watering with a hand-held garden hose, as well as car washing, is permitted anytime, provided it is done with an automatic shut-off nozzle on the hose.
An exemption to the regulations for new sod or other landscaping can be requested by completing the Irrigation Variance Form. Call (407) 571-8557 for more information. The 60-day exemption allows irrigation every day for the first 30 days and then every other day for the remaining 30 days. There is no charge for this variance.
Before testing/working on irrigation systems, you or your irrigation contractor must let us know the day and time of the testing. Please call (407) 571-8340 Monday through Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Note: The pressure of reclaimed water is low during the restricted hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Also, system pressure is low on non-watering days while storage tanks are refilling.