What if we could make better use of our water in Boise? To prepare our community for challenges like drought, climate change and growth, the city is working on a plan use advanced water treatment to recycle some of our water.
Advanced Water Treatment
Why Recycle Water?
Climate change, drought, and growth are changing our water systems. In 2016, the City of Boise initiated a climate risk assessment to determine the eight highest climate change-related impacts in our city. Out of these eight impacts, six relate to water. Today, the water that we collect from homes and businesses is cleaned and sent into the Boise River, where it flows downstream and out of our city. We produce a precious resource every single day, clean water, only to see it leave. We are looking for better ways to use the water that we collect from our city to prepare for future challenges.
Learn more about the impacts that climate change will have on our community.
What is Recycled Water?
Recycled water starts with used water. We plan to collect water from specific sources like businesses and industry. Through advanced water treatment, we will purify the water and send it back to those businesses to use again. We are also exploring options to put purified water into our groundwater to store for future use. Other possibilities for this recycled water include using it for irrigation or landscaping.
What is the Advanced Water Treatment Pilot?
The Advanced Water Treatment Pilot is helping us learn the best way to purify Boise’s used water. The pilot ensures that we meet regulations and balance future facility costs. This will confirm that we can use our technology to achieve high water quality when we build a new facility. Using what we learn, we will decide which technologies to use and how to use them for the best water quality outcomes. Operators can also train on the technology at the pilot, which will prepare them to operate our future facility.
National Water Research Institute
The City of Boise contracted with National Water Research Institute (NWRI) to form an Independent Advisory Panel to review documents and meet with city representatives to give feedback on the proposed Recycled Water Program.
The NWRI Independent Advisory Panel review is intended to provide expert consensus opinions on scientific, technical, and policy advice on the most challenging issues that arise as the Recycled Water Program is developed and implemented.
On September 9th, 2021, the City’s Project Team presented information about the project to the Panel and asked the Panel to respond to questions on topics ranging from community engagement to regulation and test planning. The panel will return in the fall of 2023 to evaluate the program’s updates and the Advanced Water Treatment Pilot to provide new recommendations.
Linked below is a summary of their recommendations from 2021.
- Identify and expand the pool of stakeholders and bring them into the planning process early.
- Build messaging that clearly and precisely conveys the project purpose and goals to those stakeholders.
- Continue engagement and messaging through all phases of the project, including during ongoing operations in the future.
- Measure outreach results.
- Developing and leveraging local expertise is a best practice in successful water recycling projects. The panel recommends the city develop a community engagement team that can explain the project to stakeholders.
- The panel recommends that the city engage local regulators throughout the project to facilitate future regulatory changes.
- The panel recommends that the city collaborate with stakeholders to identify their concerns. A successful plan will likely involve an expansive collaborative approach to this element of the project.
- The city should consider developing a source water quality plan that encompasses a wide range of sampling sites and contaminants. As additional data is collected, the city can modify the testing and inspection program.
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