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Project Title:

Beneficial Use of Graywater and Stormwater: An Assessment of Risks, Costs, and Benefits
PIN: DELS-WSTB-12-02        

Major Unit:

Division on Earth and Life Studies

Sub Unit: Water Science and Technology Board

RSO: Johnson, Stephanie

Subject/Focus Area: Environment and Environmental Studies

Project Scope
An ad hoc committee will conduct a study and prepare a report that will analyze the risks, costs, and benefits of on-site water reuse of stormwater and graywater and approaches needed for its safe use. The study will address:

-Quantity and suitability. How much on-site stormwater capture and graywater reuse occurs in the United States and for what applications? What is the suitability--in terms of water quality and quantity--of captured stormwater and graywater for various purposes considering available treatment options? What is the realistic potential to significantly increase stormwater and graywater use in the United States, and where regionally would increases in these practices have the most benefit? How would significant increases in stormwater and graywater reuse affect water demand, downstream water availability, aquifer recharge, and ecological stream flows? What research should be pursued to understand these issues adequately?

-Treatment and storage. What are typical levels and methods of treatment and storage for on-site stormwater capture and graywater reuse for various end uses? What types of treatment are available at a household level to address contaminants, odors, and pathogens, and how do these treatment methods compare in terms of cost and energy use? What research opportunities should be pursued to produce improved technologies and delivery and ensure adequate safeguards to protect public health and the environment?

-Risks. What are the human health and environmental risks of using on-site captured stormwater and graywater for various purposes? What existing state and regulatory frameworks address on-site stormwater and graywater reuse, and how effective are they in assuring the safety and reliability of these practices? What lessons can be learned from experiences using on-site captured stormwater and graywater both within and outside the United States that shed light on appropriate uses with varying levels of treatment? What upstream (i.e., household-level) actions can reduce risks?

-Costs and benefits. What are the costs and benefits of on-site stormwater and graywater use (including nonmonetized costs and benefits, such as effects on water and energy conservation, environmental impacts, and on wastewater infrastructure)? How do the economic costs and benefits generally compare with other supply alternatives? Can cost improvements be achieved through research?

-Implementation. What are the legal and regulatory constraints on the use of captured stormwater and graywater? What are the policy implications regarding the potential increased use of stormwater and graywater as significant alternative sources of water for human consumption and use?

As part of its review, and to help benchmark U.S. standing worldwide, the committee will consider international experiences in onsite stormwater and graywater management, as it deems relevant.

The project is sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the Water Research Foundation, the National Water Research Institute, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and the City of Madison, Wisconsin.
The approximate start date for the project is 8/19/13.
A report will be issued by spring 2015.

Project Duration: 22 months    

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Committee Membership
Committee Membership

 Meeting 1 - 11/25/2013
 Meeting 2 - 01/21/2014
 Meeting 3 - 04/16/2014
 Meeting 4 - 07/31/2014
 Meeting 5 - 11/03/2014
 Meeting 6 - 02/02/2015


Reports having no URL can be seen
at the Public Access Records Office
Using Graywater and Stormwater to Enhance Local Water Supplies: An Assessment of Risks, Costs, and Benefits