The Difference Between Recycled Water, Reclaimed Water and Water Reuse

February 2, 2022 7:27 pm Leave your thoughts

Wondering what the difference is between recycled water and reclaimed water in terms of the process of water reuse? It’s an answer that affects everyone since we all rely on water to sustain life.

Here’s an introduction to the process of water recycling, as well as an overview of the benefits to doing so.

What’s the difference between recycled water, reclaimed water and water reuse?

Generally, water that’s used more than once before it returns to the natural water cycle is referred to as recycled or reclaimed water. Recycled water is useful for several everyday applications, including agricultural and landscape irrigation, toilet flushing, industrial processes, replenishing groundwater basins and more.

Recycled and reclaimed water generally mean the same thing, and the two terms are used interchangeably with recycled typically being the preferred term. Water reuse refers to the process of using water more than once before environmental discharge.

What differentiates recycled/reclaimed water from raw water?

Raw water comes from sources like rivers, and it typically contains wastewater discharge from nearby communities. Thanks to our planet’s natural hydrologic cycle, water has been naturally recycled for millions of years. With new technologies, though, we’re now able to speed up the natural purification processes and take water from rivers, reuse it, treat it and pipe it back into the water supply a number of times.

In general, natural, raw water is of poor quality compared to recycled water. It contains many microbiological and chemical contaminants, while recycled wastewater has undergone treatment to remove most of these.

How is water recycled/reclaimed?

Municipal and private water utilities recycle water through a variety of reliable, well-tested treatment processes. There are several stages involved in water treatment. In terms of wastewater treatment, the priority is to reduce nutrient loads to the environment. The water-recycling process takes treatments a step further, supplementing wastewater treatments with additional processes to achieve cleanliness and quality that matches the intended use for the water.

Why is water recycling beneficial?

One of the primary benefits of water recycling is that it offers a dependable, locally-controlled way for communities to become less reliant on groundwater and surface water sources. Recycled water can be used for numerous everyday applications.

Water recycling is also good for the environment, decreasing diversion of water from ecosystems. It can reduce nutrient loads that enter the environment from wastewater that’s otherwise left untreated. Another environmental benefit is that the recycled water source can replenish and rejuvenate otherwise depleted sources. Recycled water is often used for wetland, wildlife habitat or stream augmentation, playing a key role in the preservation of local flora and fauna.

Clean water is essential for life. If you’re interested in learning more about the differences between recycled water and reclaimed water, as well as how new treatment technologies are addressing increasing demands on water resources, talk to the experts at Ultra Pure Water Technologies. We’re the leader in water purification systems, offering service for commercial, industrial and medical clients. Reach out to us today to schedule a consultation.

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