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Approximately 50 percent of the water delivered to JEA customers is used outside – primarily for irrigation. Customers who use reclaimed water for their irrigation help conserve water drawn from the pristine Floridan aquifer, the source of our local drinking water.
JEA has implemented a reclaimed water system that will reduce the amount of fresh water we withdraw from the aquifer as well as reduce treated wastewater discharged into the St. Johns River.Read Transcript
The Many Benefits of Reclaimed Water
Reclaimed water is highly treated wastewater. It must meet strict standards established and regulated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. These treatment standards include filtration and disinfection, and continuous monitoring of water quality.
It has a good, clear appearance, is non-staining, odorless and is safe for irrigation. It contains low levels of nutrients that help our lawns and plants grow.
Reclaimed water service is currently limited to certain new commercial and residential developments.
The Evolution of Reclaimed Water at JEA
JEA began its reclaimed water program in 1999 producing just 1 million gallons a day. By 2017, JEA’s production of reclaimed water had grown to over 19 million gallons per day to benefit the community. Reclaimed water was developed as a method to reduce discharge of treated effluent into the St. Johns River and to offset high quality groundwater withdrawal. In 2016, JEA's reclaimed water system was recognized by the City of Jacksonville with the Mayor's Environmental Award.
Our Reclaimed Water System
JEA has taken reasonable and thoughtful steps in the development of its reclaimed water program.
- JEA participated in the development of the City of Jacksonville’s Reclaimed Water Ordinance (2006) and the River Accord (2007). JEA’s reclaimed water program consists of treating and delivering reclaimed water to meet customer water demands ranging from irrigation to industrial uses. This is beneficial since a portion of the reclaimed water offsets the need to withdraw potable-quality water from the Floridan aquifer (to irrigate golf courses, for example), a portion offsets JEA’s potable water demand (residential irrigation) and a portion recharges the aquifer (surficial aquifer irrigation). This reclaimed water use also improves water quality by reducing nutrient loading to the St. Johns River.
- JEA’s reclaimed water system current consists of more than 300 miles of transmission.
- Eleven reclaimed water facilities and two storage/re-pump facilities provide a total reclaimed water capacity of over 30 million gallons per day with a current average daily flow rate of 19 million gallons per day.
- The majority of JEA’s reclaimed water transmission and distribution system is built east of the St. Johns River to serve the water demands of the highest growth within its service area.
- Reclaimed water customers include golf courses, power plants, wastewater treatment plants, commercial park/development common ground irrigation, surficial aquifer recharge, and residential customers.
- JEA’s reclaimed water strategy has been to target new growth, which is much more cost effective than retrofitting existing neighborhoods.
JEA plans to continue to expand its reclaimed water system to meet the reclaimed water needs of its water service area in an economically, technically and environmentally feasible manner.
JEA’s Responsibilities Concerning Reclaimed Water
As a provider of reclaimed water, JEA is responsible for the treatment and delivery of the product to its customers. JEA is also responsible for ensuring the safety of the public drinking water, therefore distributes reclaimed water through a completely separate system of purple pipes in order to minimize the possibility of contaminating the public drinking water system.
JEA is also mandated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to take measures to prevent the possibility of cross-connections between the potable (drinking) and reclaimed systems. This includes periodic inspections of the reclaimed water system to ensure there are no cross connections with the drinking water system. These inspections help protect the customer’s home and our public drinking water supply.
Responsibilities of the Reclaimed Water Customer
Reclaimed water customers are required to install a JEA-approved backflow prevention device on their drinking water system before they can receive reclaimed water. This device is installed on the customer’s drinking water pipe near the water meter and prevents reclaimed water from entering the public system if someone accidentally cross-connects the pipelines. The residential, reclaimed backflow prevention device must be tested and tagged by a certified backflow tester every two years to ensure it is working properly.
Learn About the Backflow Prevention Program