Reclaimed Water

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Sustainable Water Practices

Reclaimed water is the final product of a multiple-stage advanced wastewater treatment process which produces a product ideal for irrigation. Reclaimed water is identified with the color purple. 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 about 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.

Watering Restrictions

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. 

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