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Businesses Tap Into Alternate Water Source

Posted February 19, 2008
Updated October 19, 2011

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— Some businesses on the Raleigh water system have found an alternative way to get water even as restrictions tighten in the face of the drought. They're tapping into the city's wastewater treatment plant.

Since Stage 2 water restrictions went into effect last Friday, Raleigh’s water demand has dropped by about 1 million gallons a day.

The tougher rules banned outdoor watering and pressure-washing and forced car washes not using city-certified water recycling systems to close.

On the other end of the system, however, the Neuse River Wastewater Treatment Plant processes about 36 million gallons of water every day.

"From your showers, from your sinks, from your toilets," said Tim Woody, reuse superintendent with Raleigh Public Utilities Department, as he explained the source of wastewater.

After going through three stages of treatment, the water flows into the Neuse River. These days, though, more and more of the treated waste water is being rerouted for consumer uses.

Businesses like Clean Streets in Angier are filling up tanker trucks with treated wastewater in order to stay afloat during the drought.

"We are thanking God for it right now, because without it, we wouldn't have anything to do," said Gary Adcock with Clean Streets.

Cleaning streets is tough to do when there is a ban on outdoor water us. Clean Streets is one of 150 businesses that the city has certified to use treated wastewater.

While the water is free, the owner said hauling water from the plant is costly and time-consuming. With our most valuable resource dwindling, however, the city says business-owners must get resourceful.

"It preserves our resources. It preserves our drinking water," Woody said.

Anyone can get treated wastewater, as long as you are city-certified and have an inspected tank.

Classes to become certified are free and take about two hours. Officials said they have 150 people scheduled for training this week.

15 Comments

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  • SheriffTruman Feb 20, 2008

    "Someone should explain to one of these "posters" that using treated waste water to wash streets, irrigate etc. does not make it disapear. It eventually gets back into the same drainage basin that it origionated from."

    Not only does it not magincally disapear, it is actually cleaned even futher going though the various waterways it takes to get back to the Neuse.

  • Rocknhorse Feb 20, 2008

    "Since Stage 2 water restrictions went into effect last Friday, Raleigh’s water demand has dropped by about 1 million gallons a day.

    The tougher rules banned outdoor watering and pressure-washing and forced car washes not using city-certified water recycling systems to close."

    I'm glad to see a lower demand, but I sincerely question where the drop comes from. I can tell you that pressure washing has not been in demand for months, so that restriction has not made an impact one way or the other.

    I think it's time for large industry to be held accountable as well as the small businesses.

  • WHEEL Feb 20, 2008

    Someone should explain to one of these "posters" that using treated waste water to wash streets, irrigate etc. does not make it disapear. It eventually gets back into the same drainage basin that it origionated from.

  • emtp2k Feb 20, 2008

    "Let's not forget that there are tributary creeks flowing into the Neuse River downstream."

    Yes that's true but there are tributaries flowing into falls lake and look where that has the city of Raleigh. So we pass our poor planning problems downstream so that others suffer while we have clean streets? The drought isn't just for the Raleigh area, it's state wide. Everyone has problems but Raleigh has had YEARS of uncontrolled growth and poor planning. It used to be a great place to live but building without having the infrastructure in place to cope with the growth has made it a less desirable place to live and work these days.

  • lacockrell Feb 20, 2008

    Huuum..pump treated waste water back to Falls Lake for re-treatment as drinking water. I made that suggestion 6 months ago on another drought story. So maybe it just might catch on now.....

  • charlesboyer Feb 20, 2008

    "So by reusing the water to wash streets and water grass etc is saying that it's more important for the people in Raleigh to have clean streets than for cities down stream to have drinking water."

    Let's not forget that there are tributary creeks flowing into the Neuse River downstream.

  • Adelinthe Feb 20, 2008

    "I personally think that some of Raleigh's treated wastewater should be pumped back into the Falls of Neuse Lake.

    If it's good enough for Clayton, it's good enough for Raleigh."

    What a great idea. AMEN, AND AMEN!!!

    Thanking God for an exceptionally great well on our property.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • emtp2k Feb 20, 2008

    The problem with using wastewater to wash streets water lawns etc isn't one of a health issue but it reduces flow downstream for other communities that pull water from the rivers to drink. So by reusing the water to wash streets and water grass etc is saying that it's more important for the people in Raleigh to have clean streets than for cities down stream to have drinking water.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Feb 20, 2008

    "LOL. I saw on the news last night some politician in Durham was complaining that Pepsi in Raleigh was using too much water. I didn't know Aquafina bottled water came straight out of Falls Lake. Yum Yum. Any of you "can't go 50 feet without my water" folks that want some good ole well water for less than $1 a bottle, give me a call."

    The scary thing is that the Pepsi plant uses between 1 and 5 percent of Raleigh's water usage.

    Common Sense would say that Pepsi shouldn't be allowed to package water from the Falls Lake and ship it out of the area in Aquafina bottles when we are in the worst drought in recorded history.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Feb 20, 2008

    What's the big deal about treated wastewater.

    Clayton, Smithfield, and other towns downstream from Raleigh drink Raleigh's treated wastewater.

    I personally think that some of Raleigh's treated wastewater should be pumped back into the Falls of Neuse Lake.

    If it's good enough for Clayton, it's good enough for Raleigh.

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