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San Diego County Water Authority

Frequently Asked Questions on Recycled Water

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What is recycled water?
How can I get recycled water at my business?
What are the steps needed to obtaining recycled water?
Where do I submit my recycled water plans?
What are the review fees?
How long does a plan check review take?
Once my plans are approved, when can I get recycled water to my site?
Can a business use recycled water for toilet flushing or cooling towers?
Can I use recycled water at my private residence?
Does DEH maintain a certified backflow tester listing?

What is recycled water?

Recycled water is highly treated sewage effluent that is produced at a sewage treatment plant that meets California Code of Regulations, Title 22 criteria.  It is treated to a level that does not meet drinking water standards.  Therefore, it is not safe to drink, but has been determined safe to use for irrigation purposes.

How can I get recycled water at my business?

Check with your water district to see if recycled water is distributed to your area and if you qualify for recycled water use.

What are the steps needed to obtaining recycled water?

Plans need to be submitted to both the water district and DEH for review and approval.  Following approved plans, a recycled water shutdown test is conducted to verify that cross-connections do not exist at the recycled water use site.  This step is required prior to the approval to use recycled water.

Where do I submit my recycled water plans?

An application form is available by clicking on this link.  The plans, application, and fees should be submitted to the County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health, Land and Water Quality Division located at 5510 Overland Ave, Ste 110, San Diego, CA 92123 or mailed to 5500 Overland Ave, Ste 210, San Diego CA 92123.  Contact Glenn Leeks, at (619) 607-8351; or Sergio Gracia, at (619) 204-0702 for additional information.  The check should be made payable to The County of San Diego.  

One set of plans can be accepted for the initial submittal for review.  Final review submittals require 2 sets of plans.  

What are the review fees?

The current fees for initial review are $426.00 for the first 3 hours of review for recycled water plan check.  Any additional review above 3 hours will be billed to the landscape architect that submitted the plans at the rate of $142.00/hour. 

How long does a plan check review take?

DEH has a response time goal of 14 days to complete the initial review of plans.  This may vary depending on workload.  DEH does not accept or use expedite fees for plan check review.

Once my plans are approved, when can I get recycled water to my site?

Contact your water district.  They will request a time with DEH to schedule a cross-connection shutdown test to verify there are no cross-connections at the site.

Can a business use recycled water for toilet flushing or cooling towers?

Recycled water is approved for such uses.  Each site proposing to use recycled water to toilet flushing or cooling towers must submit an engineering report for review and approval by DEH.

Can I use recycled water at my private residence?

There are more restrictions on such a use and most water districts have only begun to explore any such proposals.  The risks for this type of use include the potential of cross-connections with water lines, and unapproved uses that could result in body contact or ingestion of recycled water. 

Does DEH maintain a certified backflow tester listing?

DEH no longer maintains a certified backflow tester listing.  Contact your local water district, who maintains a current list.