Reclaimed Water

What is Reclaimed Water?

Reclaimed water is wastewater that has been fully treated and tested to meet State standards for discharge to the Sangamon River and that has had advanced treatment to ensure that the water meets the quality standards for irrigation and industrial use.


The Water CycleWater is Constantly Being Recycled in Nature

Because the earth has a limited amount of water, the water we are using today is the same water that has been on the planet for over 4 billion years.


The Right Water for the Right Use

Only 3% of the total water available worldwide is fresh water that is available for human consumption. Through the use of proven technology in advanced treatment and filtering processes, the Sanitary District of Decatur can produce a clear odorless high-quality water source for industrial, irrigation and other non-potable uses from the water that is used and discarded by residential and industrial customers every day.

Reclaimed water is ideal for many non-drinking purposes and allows communities to stretch water supplies and match the type of water to the actual needs of the consumers. The use of reclaimed water provides a drought resistant supply of water to industrial users so they do not need to compete with people and businesses for the higher quality drinking water.


Reclaimed Water is not New to Decatur

Although the industrial use of reclaimed water is new to Decatur and even Illinois, it has been used across the U.S. and the world for decades. In fact the Sanitary District has been using reclaimed water for over thirty years for washing tanks and equipment, fire protection, landscape irrigation and even a decorative fountain. Other Illinois communities currently provide reclaimed water for agricultural and golf course irrigation. Reclaimed water can also be used for aquifer recharge, street-sweeping and dust control.


The Wastewater to Reclaimed Water Process

The Sanitary District treated an average of 40 million gallons per day (mgd) of wastewater in 2009, and can treat a maximum flow of nearly 130 mgd at its Dipper Lane Facility.

The District uses a process that removes over 90% of the organic matter and other pollutants by the end of Secondary treatment. Chlorine is used to kill any bacteria that remain. The chlorine is then removed prior to discharge into the Sangamon River.

Plant performance and compliance with discharge quality is closely monitored by district personnel and regulated by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. The final discharge released into the Sangamon River meets all standards and is typically as clean as water already in the River.

The reclaimed water treatment process takes water that would otherwise be released into the Sangamon River and applies advanced treatment which involves adding chemicals to remove solids dissolved in the water. A disk filter system is then used to remove most remaining solids. After the water is disinfected with chlorine it is ready for distribution. Virtually all of the remaining solids, phosphorus and pathogenic organisms are removed during Tertiary treatment. Distribution pumps will deliver the water through separate pipelines to the end users.

  • Preliminary Treatment – removes sand and debris
  • Primary Treatment – removes large solid materials
  • Secondary Treatment – removes organic materials, microorganisms and smaller solids
  • Tertiary Treatment – filters water and removes nutrients
  • Disinfection – kills the remaining microorganisms

Source: Black & Veatch July 2010


Taylorville Energy Center (TEC) Project

The Sanitary District is planning the construction of an approximately 25 mile pipeline from the treatment plant in Decatur to the TEC in Taylorville to deliver up to 4 mgd of reclaimed water for various industrial processes, including boiler feed water and small equipment cooling. The District is well-positioned to support the economic development needs of the region, and looks forward to its job creation partnership with the Taylorville Energy Center.


Taylorville Energy Center Project Links