Sustainable Water Practices
Reclaimed water is the final product of a multiple-stage advanced wastewater treatment process which produces a product ideal for irrigation. Elements found in reclaimed water include nitrogen and phosphorous elements that work as nutrients to enhance ornamental plant and lawn health. Using reclaimed water for irrigation saves drinking water, extending water supply and helping to ensure sustainable use of this vital natural resource. St. Petersburg's Water Reclamation System was the first to be built in the United States and remains one of the largest in the world. Reclaimed water is an integral part of the City's overall water conservation effort and continued expansion of the system has significantly contributed to reducing potable (drinking) water demands.Reclaimed Water Rates Reclaimed Water Service Request Form
Reclaimed Water Service Availability
Reclaimed water is not available in all areas of the city. It takes the discharge from six wastewater customers to produce enough reclaimed water to supply one residence with irrigation water. As a result, it is not possible at this time to supply all residences in St. Petersburg with reclaimed water. The Water Resources Department is currently able to consider in-fill requests for reclaimed water service. To take advantage of the program residents must already have or install a sprinkler system or they may receive a special reclaimed hose connection for portable sprinklers. Existing sprinkler systems can be connected with little or no modification. Where reclaimed water is not available, service requests will be put on a waiting list for consideration when the system is able to accommodate expansion. To determine if service is available or to obtain reclaimed water, residents should fill out the Reclaimed Water Request Form.
Not for Consumption
This treatment produces a water product that is not suitable for human or animal consumption. Due to its origin and composition, the use of reclaimed water is restricted by federal, state, and local ordinances.
In St. Pete, reclaimed water is not permitted for:
- Consumption by humans or animals
- Connection to a dwelling for toilet flushing or other internal household use
- Interconnection with another water source
- Sprinkling of edible crops
- Human bodily contact or water recreation
- Non-reclaimed marked/labeled hose bibs, faucets, quick couplers, and hoses.
- Filling of swimming pools, decorative pools, and ponds
- Development of a common reclaimed water service or connection between properties
- Washing equipment such as cars, boats, driveways, structures etc.
Using reclaimed water is a smart irrigation alternative which helps alleviate the strain on other water sources. Like other water sources, there is a limited amount of reclaimed water. Efficient use by all customers will help ensure the safe and continued availability of this resource.
The typical residential lawn can require up to 30,000 gallons of irrigation water per month, especially during the dry spring and winter seasons. The Water Resources Department encourages all reclaimed water customers to utilize this resource efficiently and effectively. Voluntary restrictions for reclaimed water allow for irrigation no more than 3 times per week. It is inefficient to irrigate during the heat of the day.
When conditions warrant, the City activates its Dry Weather Protocol for reclaimed water, which requires the filling of tanks during the day and allowing for irrigation in the evening hours. Reclaimed water customers are asked to turn off automatic sprinkler systems if there is not adequate pressure for proper operation. During dry weather or reclaimed water emergencies, this will help in building up the supply so that customers will be able to irrigate.
For information on water restrictions in effect for St. Petersburg, visit the Watering Restrictions page or call the Water Watch Info Line at 892-5300. For information on City water conservation programs, visit the Water Conservation page.
Mayor’s Authority on Reclaimed Water Use
The City of St. Petersburg is in a declared water caution area by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. Water shortage restrictions have been placed on outdoor-only use of water to help to conserve valuable resources. Reclaimed water, as an alternative irrigation water source to potable or well water, is not restricted in the same manner.
However, there may be periods when the reclaimed water system experiences an increase in low-pressure due to demand exceeding supply. Per Section 27-170 of the St. Petersburg City Code, the Mayor has the authority to enact mandatory restrictions on reclaimed water during emergencies and when necessary for the efficient operation of the system. Such restrictions may be warranted during the dry season. If the mayor enacts such an order, notifications will be sent to customers and the media will be notified. The failure to comply with the restrictions established by executive order is a violation of the City Code and may result in a fine.
The restrictions limit the use of reclaimed water for lawn and landscape irrigation to three days per week. It also limits the time of day for irrigation to the hours of 5 to 9 a.m. and/or 7 to 11 p.m.
The City of St. Petersburg has enacted dry weather protocols to conserve the city’s supply of reclaimed water. Effective immediately, the City will temporarily lower the pressure to decrease the flow of reclaimed water coming from the City’s water reclamation facilities during the hottest times of the day so that the quantity of reclaimed water will be sufficient for irrigating overnight and in the early morning.
Reclaimed water customers may notice decreased pressure coming from their sprinklers from 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. and are encouraged to adjust their irrigation timers and only water according to the City’s year-round reclaimed water irrigation schedule:
- Residents should water their lawn no more than three days per week.
- Even addresses should irrigate on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
- Odd addresses should irrigate on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday
- Water from 5-9 a.m. or 7-11 p.m. Watering during the heat of the day is inefficient as much of the water used is lost to evaporation and wind drift.
Reclaimed water customers are also asked to turn their automatic sprinkler systems off if there is not adequate pressure for proper operation. This will aid in filling storage tanks so that customers will be able to irrigate.
Reduced supply of reclaimed water is expected for this time of the year and these dry weather protocols are typical for the region, with similar practices currently being carried out throughout Pinellas County.
The City of St. Petersburg would like reclaimed water customers to know that reclaimed water is a limited resource and should be used wisely. The supply of reclaimed water depends on the amount of wastewater being processed at the City’s three water reclamation facilities. It takes five houses worth of wastewater to produce enough reclaimed water for one property.
Reclaimed water pressure will return to normal once the supply of reclaimed water is stabilized. If conditions worsen, the Mayor has the ability to enact mandatory restrictions on reclaimed water. Check this page for updates.
- Residents with questions should call 727-892-5111 or email email@example.com.
- View the Reclaimed Water Consumer Confidence Report.
- For more information on City codes and ordinances associated with reclaimed water, go to Municode and search for Reclaimed Water.
- For information on water resources in the area, contact the Southwest Florida Water Management District at 1-800-423-1476 or watermatters.org