Welcome to the St. Johns County reclaimed water system! We hope you are as excited about getting this valuable resource as we are about providing it to you. Please take the time to read the following important message regarding your reclaimed water service.
What is reclaimed water?
Reclaimed water is domestic wastewater which has been treated and disinfected to a high degree through a multiple-stage advanced treatment program that eliminates pathogens (solids, organics and viruses) and still retains nitrogen and phosphorus, such that it can be safely used to irrigate golf courses and residential lawns. Reclaimed water must meet strict water quality requirements established by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). Although reclaimed water meets most of the drinking water standards and is safe for human contact, it is not intended for human or animal consumption.
Why use reclaimed water?
Using reclaimed water conserves drinking water supplies and reduces non-beneficial discharges of domestic wastewater to surface waters. The County's Integrated Water Resources Plan identified reclaimed water and conservation programs as the most cost effective projects to reduce reliance on limited groundwater resources. These programs will ensure sustainability for future generations and uphold the high quality service to Utility customers.
Is Reclaimed Water Safe?
Yes, reclaimed water is highly treated and disinfected. For unrestricted public access, reclaimed water must meet strict standards of quality established by the FDEP. Reclaimed water is monitored and tested in St. Johns County to ensure quality standards are met. While it is not suitable for human or animal consumption, incidental physical contact with the water has no negative effects. Therefore, accidental splashing or spraying should not cause alarm.
How is reclaimed water identified?
Reclaimed water appears similar to potable water. The best way to identify reclaimed water is through the purple color of its delivery systems (officially known as Pantone Purple 522C). This includes rigid and flexible piping, meter boxes and meters, and sprinkler/irrigation heads. These items will also likely include the English verbiage “Do Not Drink” and the same message in Spanish “No Beber”.
What can you do with reclaimed water?
- Irrigate your lawn.
- Irrigate flower gardens.
- Irrigate trees and shrubs.
What can't you do with reclaimed water?
- DO NOT DRINK reclaimed water.
- Do not connect any pipes to your reclaimed water pipes.
- Do not connect your reclaimed water pipes to any other pipes.
- No use through hose bibs, faucets, quick couplers or hoses, etc.
- No supplying air cooling systems (A/C units).
- No washing of cars, boats, driveways, structures, etc.
- Do not use reclaimed water to fill swimming pools, hot tubs, wading pools, decorative fountains, or children's watertoys (i.e., water guns, slip and slides, etc.)
- Do not use reclaimed water to irrigate edible crops (i.e., vegetables or fruits) that WILL NOT be peeled, skinned, or cooked before being eaten.
- No supplying air cooling systems (A/C units).
Why is there a watering schedule?
Proper watering is important in maintaining a Florida-friendly lawn and landscape. Overwatering can cause more harm than good. SJCUD recommends 10-15 minutes per zone, while remaining cognizant of dry or yellowing turf. Reclaimed water contains nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus. Once people start watering with reclaimed water, they find they need to fertilize their landscapes less frequently as compared to how often they had to fertilize their lawns when watering with drinking water. The following suggested watering schedule will help ensure the daily supply of reclaimed water corresponds with demand:
- Home addresses ending in ODD numbers, Wednesday and Saturday.
- Home addresses ending in EVEN numbers, Thursday and Sunday.
In addition, it is imperative that homeowners maintain a properly functioning irrigation system. Broken or worn out parts should be replaced, such as spray heads, pop-ups, and rain gauges.
How do I Landscape with Reclaimed Water?
Good landscaping practices place the right plant in the right location. Occasionally, reclaimed water contains elevated levels of salts that can harm sensitive landscape plants. Florida friendly plants that are salt tolerant and typically grow near our coast benefit most from reclaimed water. To minimize potential problems associated with using reclaimed water, monitor plants for signs of leaf yellowing or wilting. If it persists, consider drip irrigation to avoid direct contact of reclaimed water with plant leaves, or replace plants with salt tolerant species. Proper watering is important, and overwatering can cause harm. Common landscape plants used in Florida that are especially sensitive to high salt levels and should not be planted in coastal or reclaimed water communities include: