207544 Water: Better the second time around

Monday, November 9, 2009: 9:30 AM

Eric G. Handler, MD, MPH, FAAP , Deputy Agency Director/Public Health Officer, Orange County Health Care Agency, Santa Ana, CA
California's growth and recurring droughts have continued to increase demand on the state's drinking water supplies. In early 2008, the regional groundwater management authority for central and north Orange County, California, began operation of the world's largest recycled groundwater recharge project. Utilizing domestic wastewater as the supply, approximately 70 millions gallons per day of highly treated recycled water is directly injected and surface spread in order to supplement the natural recharge of the regional aquifer system. The aquifer system provides over 2 million Orange County residents with about two-thirds of their drinking water supply. The Groundwater Replenishment System project faced many public health questions from the state and local health agencies, including the long term consequences of exposure to trace chemicals and emerging contaminants in drinking water derived from groundwater recharged with recycled water. To address these questions, significant health related water quality research was conducted by the regional groundwater authority. The State of California's Department of Public Health Groundwater Recharge Draft Regulations were developed using much of the research conducted for this project. Project regulatory criteria included multiple barrier treatment processes to mitigate microbial, pharmaceutical and trace organic chemical contaminants. Additional criteria included comprehensive water quality monitoring, a wastewater source control program, an independent advisory panel, public outreach and education, and minimum residence time in the aquifer before use for drinking water supplies. This presentation will examine the public health challenges associated with the project, how they were mitigated and recommendations for future projects.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the technical, regulatory, public health, and public perception challenges faced during the water project process. 2. Identify emerging contaminants in recycled water. 3. Learn about the multiple barrier treatment processes to mitigate public health risks associated with emerging water contaminants.

Keywords: Drinking Water Quality, Emerging Health Issues

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Health Officer responsible for public health issues serving Orange County,CA.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.