Reuse Water System
Reuse water, sometimes called reclaimed water or non-potable water, is wastewater treated to a high standard and then re-used instead of discharged into a waterway. The City of Raleigh Public Utilities Department and the North Carolina Division of Water Resources closely monitor and regulate reuse water.
Although reuse water is not suitable for human, pet or livestock consumption, there are many reasons to use reuse water in our area.
- Severe droughts can limit potable water resources and using reuse water reduces the amount of water needed from these supplies.
- Using reuse water reduces the nitrogen discharge in streams and rivers from wastewater treatment plants.
- The use of reuse water for irrigation provides a nutrient benefit to lawns and crops and prevents these nutrients from entering waterways, which can contribute to algal blooms.
- A reduction in peak consumption associated with irrigation. The use of reuse water for irrigation is not subject to water restrictions at this time.
Additionally, the City has two bulk reuse water stations where citizens and customers can pick up reuse water for personal or commercial use. The bulk stations are located at Neuse River Resource Recovery Facility (southeast Raleigh) and Little Creek WWTP (Zebulon). Some of the uses for bulk reuse water include irrigation, hydro-seeding, pesticide and herbicide application, concrete production, power/pressure washing, and dust control.
Bulk reuse water from the City is free of charge. However, each customer must complete certification training by the Public Utilities Department prior to picking up the reuse water or using it.
To schedule a certification training class or for questions about the City of Raleigh’s reuse water program, please contact Emily Fentress at 919-996-3680.
Status of Bulk Reuse Facilities:
- Little Creek WWTP - Open
- Neuse River Resource Recovery Facility- Open
The Phase 2 Reuse Master Plan was approved in December 2017. Objectives of this plan are to evaluate the current reuse system and further define the alternatives for expanding the reuse system. This phase assesses the required infrastructure and cost for implementing specific water reuse projects. It also provides a comparison of the costs and benefits of selected alternatives for expanding the reuse system to serve either non-potable or potable uses.
The City of Raleigh Public Utilities Department currently manages two reuse water distribution systems. One is located in in the Zebulon service area and currently serves six customers totaling approximately 39 million gallons annually. This distribution system begins at the Little Creek WWTP (Wastewater Treatment Plant) and terminates at GlaxoSmithKline in Zebulon. The southeast Raleigh reuse water distribution system is currently operational from the Neuse River Resource Recovery Facility to the NCSU Centennial Campus. 10 miles of the southeast Raleigh distribution system are located on-site at the Neuse River Resource Recovery Facility and are used to irrigate crops grown at the facility. The use of reclaimed water for irrigation defers nitrogen from being deposited into the Neuse River, and the nutrients contained in the reclaimed water increase crop yields. Plans to expand the on-site irrigation system have begun; expansion of this system will allow additional nitrogen deferment and higher crop yields across the site.
Both distribution systems combine for a total of 36 miles of reuse distribution main; 10 miles are at the Neuse River Resource Recovery facility, and 26 miles are in the reuse distribution system. Currently, both service areas use reuse water for irrigation, cooling towers, industrial processes, concrete production, and toilet flushing.