Continuing its search to generate more revenue from town assets without raising utility rates for residents, Purcellville leaders are exploring the sale of reclaimed water.
During the Jan. 24 Town Council meeting, Director of Public Works Alex Vanegas and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Permits Manager Alison Thompson explained the concept and said there may be opportunities for the town.
Reclaimed water includes wastewater, stormwater and gray water that is treated to a lower standard than drinking water. Pollutants and pathogens that are potentially harmful to the environment or human health are removed, making the water suitable for commercial uses such as irrigation, livestock watering and car washes.
Because of the lower treatment level, the water can be sold at a lower rate, providing a significant savings to high-volume users. Reclaimed water programs have longed been used in dry southwestern states to conserve drinking water. Closer to home, Loudoun Water built a reclaimed water distribution system to serve data centers.
To move the project forward, Vanegas told the council, the town would need to develop a water reclamation plan, get permits from DEQ and possibly the Virginia Department of Health, and build dispensing stations.
“There’s a lot of opportunity,” Vanegas said.
In this early stage, it was not clear how much the town could raise though the program or how much it would cost to set it up.
In response to questions about the level of state support from Councilman Nedim Ogelman, Thompson said some funding is available to help municipalities once a plan is approved.
Councilwoman Kelli Grim stressed the council is pursuing all options to generate more money from its assets.
“We’re looking at ways to monetize,” she said.
Most recently, the council approved the sale and lease of some unused utility system properties.