Why the City Start Making Reclaimed Water
In 1999, the City was re-issued a discharge permit from the EPA. The permit authorized the City to discharge its treated wastewater to Five Mile Creek, as it had been doing since the late 1970s. The late 1970s was when the wastewater plant moved to its current location. The permit had a flow limitation of 7 million gallons per day. That meant the wastewater treatment plant could discharge no more than 7 million gallons of treated water per day into Five Mile Creek. When the permit was re-issued in 1999, Meridian’s population was approximately 28,000, while the wastewater plant treated about 3.7 million gallons per day. Fast forward to 2009, the City was still operating under the 1999 permit. But, Meridian’s population was now close to 69,000 people, and the wastewater plant was processing close to 5.5 million gallons of water per day. With no new EPA permit in sight, the City had to find another way to dispose of its treated wastewater to not violate the 7 million gallons per day limit. To continue to enable building and growth in Meridian, the City constructed its recycled water facility in 2008-2009. The Reclaimed Water Program reused some treated wastewater, primarily for landscape irrigation. That allowed the City to stay under the flow cap limit.
The City would eventually be issued a new permit that did not contain a flow cap restriction. Importantly, the Reclaimed Water Program allowed the City to remain in compliance with its 7 million gallon per day flow cap from 2014-2017, saving the City costly fines due to potential regulatory violations. It also ensured that Meridian could continue to grow and develop.
Why the City is Ending the Reclaimed Water Program
The Reclaimed Water Program has been successful and has fulfilled a crucial regulatory need for the community for many years. However, some of the initial drivers for the program have changed over the past 15 years. The City’s new regulatory permit contains stringent nutrient limits. These limits require new, advanced infrastructure at the facility. As part of the new project, the reclaimed water infrastructure can be reused to reduce one-time and ongoing project costs.
33. E. Broadway Ave.
Suites 200 & 204
Meridian, Idaho 83642