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Some Businesses Thrive on Used Water

Posted February 29, 2008

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— More businesses have turned to treated wastewater to keep their doors open as Raleigh and other towns crack down on using drinking water for many jobs.

Since Raleigh imposed Stage 2 water restrictions two weeks ago – the rules banned outdoor watering and pressure-washing and closed dozens of car washes – about 300 people have attended classes to be trained on using treated wastewater. The water isn't safe to drink but can be used to wash cars, water lawns and clean sidewalks.

"This technology is nothing new. It's been around in many states for many years," said Tim Woody, reuse water supervisors for Raleigh's Public Utilities Department.

The free, two-hour classes are held three days a week at the Neuse River Wastewater Treatment Plant. Business vehicles are inspected, and they are given a reuse water permit and must display signs advising people not to drink the water.

"It's recycled. It's treated, highly treated," said Charles Williams, owner of auto detail service Truly Blessed Detail. "A lot of my clients, they don't want to use our services because they didn't want to be involved with not being green."

John Rist, of Carolina Power Washing, now fills up a tank at the at the treatment plant.

"Reclaimed water is a great resource to us. It's not being tapped into, and I can use to to go through and water and irrigate lawns in the Raleigh area that are no longer allowed to water their yards," Rist said.

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