SB 918 (Pavley) - Safe, Environmentally Sound Water Supply
By Traci Sheehan
Planning and Conservation League
Last Friday, Senator Fran Pavley introduced SB 918 which is currently co-sponsored by the Planning and Conservation League and Water Reuse California . This bill would help improve the availability of safe recycled drinking water by requiring the Department of Public Health to develop and adopt uniform health standards. If passed, the bill will help California develop a new drought-proof source of safe, clean water.
Every year, California discharges nearly 4 million acre feet of used water into the ocean - more than the State Water Project delivers to the Bay Area, the Central Valley, and Southern California . Much of that water could be recycled, but because uniform safety standards have not been adopted, the permitting and design processes for creating recycling facilities are unpredictable, discouraging local communities from tapping into this major water source.
By adopting uniform health criteria for using recycled water to augment local drinking water supplies, the Department of Public Health can provide project designers with the guidance they need to cost-effectively create new water recycling facilities that are fully protective of public health.
Traci Sheehan is the Executive Director of The Planning and Conservation League, a statewide, nonprofit lobbying organization. For more than thirty years, PCL has fought to develop a body of environmental laws in California that is the best in the United States.