2015: The Year Recycled Water Became Cool

Dozens of California water agencies in 2015 opened recycled water “fill stations,” allowing customers to collect treated wastewater in jugs and tanks for free. It helped drought-weary residents maintain parched landscaping, and it also eased recycled water’s ill-deserved “yuck factor”

California’s current drought may well be remembered as the crisis that introduced people to recycled water.

All over the state, water agencies in 2015 began offering customers free recycled water at designated “fill stations.” Bring a container – even a big tank in a pickup bed – and take all you want at no charge.

It’s a whole new kind of water product that bloomed because of the drought. And in some communities, it has been embraced by residents eager to keep treasured landscaping alive.

Looking back decades from now, we may remember 2015 as the year recycled water became cool.

“This just blows me away about how popular this has been,” Dan Gallagher, operations manager at the Dublin San Ramon Services District, told the San Jose Mercury News . “It’s a drop in the bucket in the big picture, but I think this project will go a long way in helping change public attitudes about using recycled water.”

Gallagher’s agency, in July 2014, was apparently the first in California to open a public filling station for recycled water. But many others soon followed. The state is not keeping a tally of how many exist now, but it’s safe to say dozens are in operation.

Nick Hansen started a blog last year to help track the status of recycled water fill stations – where they are and when they’re open. And, it would seem, he’s the right man for the job: Hansen is a senior plant operator at the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District, a regional wastewater treatment plant in the —> Read More