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Reclaimed Water Guidelines for Canada

Health Canada has posted a draft of their proposed Guidelines for Household Reclaimed Water for use in Toilet and Urinal Flushing on their website until early November for comment.
This is their first step in forming a guideline that covers all possible uses of reclaimed water in households.

Household Reclaimed Water – Environment and Workplace Health

The most effective way to ensure that household reclaimed water is used safely is to become aware of the types of hazards that may impact reclaimed water and adopt appropriate strategies to manage these
hazards. The aim of a risk-based approach is to identify all of the potential hazards in a reclaimed water treatment system, assess their potential impact on water quality and on public health, and find ways to mitigate those risks rather than simply react when problems occur.

Considering the push to conserve water and recycle as much as possible, I hope this document gets passed through to the provincial agencies as quickly as possible.
I’m disappointed that the document refers to inspections by authorities and issues with non compliance. I feel that it would be better to put the risk onto a licensed plumber – I don’t need an inspection of a new toilet installation, so why should I need one for reuse of water? Assuming that the people wanting to do this will make themselves knowledgeable of the issues, or engage a plumber to design and install a system, do we need a model that insists that we are going to do something stupid unless a regulatory body inspects it?
And which particular inspector has the time free to now start checking to make sure the green-minded individual down the road is flushing his toilet with chlorinated reclaimed water?
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The idea is great, I hope this draft has shown that some additional thought is required to ensure that the implementation is managed at an appropriate, but not prohibitive level…

You can view the draft Health Canada Guidelines here.
For an example of the NSW Greywater guidelines, Click here (22 pages PDF).

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Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.