Reuse Water System

Last updated Jan. 17, 2018 - 1:01 pm
Reuse Water Yard Sign

Reuse water, sometimes called reclaimed water or non-potable water, is wastewater treated to a high standard and re-used instead of discharged into a waterway. The City of Raleigh Public Utilities Department and the North Carolina Division of Water Quality 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.

  • Seasonal droughts 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.
  • A reduction in peak consumption associated with irrigation. The use of reuse water for irrigation is not subject to water restrictions at this time.

City Facilities

Additionally, the City has four bulk reuse water stations where citizens and customers can pick up reuse water for personal or commercial use. They are located throughout the entire service area: Neuse River Resource Recovery Facility (formerly Neuse River WWTP) (southeast Raleigh), E. M. Johnson Water Treatment Plant (North Raleigh), Little Creek WWTP (Zebulon), and Smith Creek WWTP (Wake Forest). 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 Marla Dalton at 919-996-3672 or

Master Plan

The City is currently undertaking an update to the Reuse Master Plan. The original Master Plan was adopted in 2007. In the time since the adoption, the City has constructed more than 18 miles of reuse pipeline and one 750,000 elevated storage tank. Recent changes in the reuse regulations have necessitated an update to the Reuse Master Plan. The City has obtained CDM Smith for these professional engineering services.

Now entering the second phase, the Reuse Master Plan Update is focused on constructing the smartest reuse system possible. The focus of the Master Plan has been placed on seeking out potential “anchor” users of the system that will help justify the costs of the pipeline construction. Ideally, these anchor users will also provide the greatest benefit by shaving the usage peaks off the City’s potable water system.

The revised Master Plan is scheduled to be completed in early 2014.

Commercial Uses

The City of Raleigh Public Utilities Department currently manages two reuse water distribution systems. One is located in the Zebulon service area and currently serves eight 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 still under construction. It is currently operational from the Neuse River Resource Recovery Facility to the Walnut Creek Environmental Education Center located on State Street. Upon completion, this phase of the Raleigh reuse water distribution system will terminate at NCSU Centennial Campus. Currently, both service areas use reuse water for irrigation, cooling towers, industrial process, concrete production, and toilet flushing.

Status of Bulk Reuse Facilities

  • E.M. Johnson WTP - Open
  • Smith Creek WWTP - Closed
  • Little Creek WWTP - Open
  • Neuse River Resource Recovery Facility- Open

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