Assembly Approves Bill on Water Recycling

A bill that would make sweeping changes to state regulation of recycled water was approved on the Assembly floor on May 29.

AB 2398 by Assembly Member Ben Hueso (D-Chula Vista) would enact the Water Recycling Act of 2012 and consolidate water recycling statutes in current law into a new division of the Water Code called “Water Recycling.” The measure, supported by ACWA and a number of member agencies, would also establish a statewide goal of recycling 1.5 million acre-feet of water by 2020 and 2.5 million acre-feet by 2030.

WateReuse Association is the lead sponsor of the bill, along with Irvine Ranch Water District, Eastern Municipal Water District, San Diego County Water Authority, West Basin Municipal Water District and El Dorado Irrigation District.

AB 2398 would provide for more consistent regulation of recycled water as a water resource, rather than a waste, and distinguish types of recycled water based on level of treatment and criteria for reuse. It would also simplify and standardize recycled water permitting in California, including criteria for the Department of Public Health to permit potable reuse projects, to reflect current scientific understanding and advances in treatment technology.

The measure provides permitting fee authority to the Department of Public Health and the State Board to cover permitting costs and responsibilities required by the bill.

ACWA supports the increased use of recycled water to help meet the state’s water supply needs. The association believes AB 2398 provides for an important consolidation and rewrite of current water recycling laws that are scattered throughout the Water Code and the Health and Safety Code.

AB 2398 now awaits action in the Senate. Amendments are expected to be made as the bill moves through policy committees.