Sonoma County Gazette, March 2012

Irrigation runoff:  wastewater ‘reuse’ is the new discharge…..

In 1985, the content of Santa Rosa’s 800 million gallon sewage dump was referred to as ‘treated sewage’.  Over the years, this liquid waste became known first as treated wastewater, then reused wastewater, treated water, and now simply reused water.  This terminology has been consciously modified to make the public feel more comfortable with wastewater reuse, otherwise known as direct potable reuse or more graphically, ‘toilet to tap’.  It took 25 years to get Santa Rosa’s winter discharges out of the river (to the Geysers), but now summer discharge in the guise of irrigation runoff will take its place.  Because of lower summer flows and less dilution, the impacts in summer may be cumulatively greater than the original spill.