U.S. Water News Online
IRVINE, Calif. -- A local carpet manufacturer joined forces with Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD) to find another use for reclaimed water and conserve up to one-half million gallons of potable water each day.
Recently, Royalty Carpet Mills' Derian Avenue manufacturing facility began using reclaimed water in its carpet dyeing process and as backwash water for lint filters. The processes will use about 500,000 gallons of reclaimed water per day, 260 days each year, making the manufacturer one of IRWD's largest reclaimed water customers.
IRWD initiated the plant retrofit as part of continuing efforts to promote the year-round use of recycled water in local industry. After more than three years in planning and development, initial studies indicate the retrofit is as effective as earlier methods which used potable water. The project has been approved by the California Department of Health Services and the Orange County Health Care Agency. IRWD made a low-interest, $100,000 loan to help fund the retrofit project.
The project guarantees a reliable water supply for Royalty Carpet, even during future drought conditions. Reclaimed water has a consistent water quality and is about 10 percent cheaper than potable water. These benefits will equal lower operating costs for the manufacturer and the project is expected to pay back within six months.
This is not the first carpet manufacturing facility in the state to use reclaimed water in its processes, but it is a first for IRWD. Reclaimed water has been used throughout the city of Irvine for landscape irrigation and agricultural uses for about 30 years. In the past decade, it has been used for toilet flushing in several high-rise office buildings. The District continuously looks for additional uses for this drought-proof supply of water.
IRWD has looked at reclaimed water as a valuable resource since 1967. Wastewater from within IRWD is collected and treated at the Michelson Water Reclamation Plant, using advanced, or tertiary, treatment. The result is a high-quality water that earned IRWD the first unrestricted use permit issued in California. This permit allows reclaimed water to be used for virtually everything but drinking.
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