- Associated Press - Sunday, May 8, 2016

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - State regulators are reconsidering the process of treating and distributing reclaimed wastewater, an issue that greatly concerns Flagstaff residents.

Officials from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality say over 50 people showed up at listening tour about revising the rules. That’s more than double the attendance at public meetings in Phoenix and Tucson, the Arizona Daily Sun reported (http://bit.ly/1NnwD6O).

Possible rule changes deal with permitting, distributing and using reclaimed wastewater in Arizona.

Principal hydrologist Chuck Graf says reclaimed water use has “grown incredibly” since the current regulations were implemented in 2001.

He said the technology is “probably there” to make reclaimed water safe to drink. Graf said many utilities want regulations so they can explore the feasibility of direct potable reuse, and it’s more than likely that the rule revision process will deal with the topic.

Public comments included testing reclaimed water for chemicals, pushing for more consultation with tribes, and revising rules that allow the use of reclaimed water to make snow.

The Flagstaff Water Group expressed concern that it isn’t required for wastewater treatment plants to test for a full suite of contaminants of emerging concern, like pharmaceuticals.

“What we’re recommending is that there be new regulations to do advanced treatment on reclaimed water before it’s used, particularly if it can get back into a municipal water supply,” said group member George Kladnik.

Graf said the department hopes to have revised rules drafted by fall and implemented before next year.

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Information from: Arizona Daily Sun, http://www.azdailysun.com/

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