First Puget Sound Reclaimed Water Projects Win $5.4 Million

OLYMPIA, Washington, August 22, 2007 (ENS) - For the first time, the state of Washington is offering $5.45 million in grants to help local governments in the 12 Puget Sound counties reclaim water and help Puget Sound.

The state Department of Ecology is carrying out the grant program under legislative directive to specifically aid Puget Sound. The target is to fund three to six high priority capital projects.

The highest funding priority will be given to projects in water-short areas and where reclaimed water will restore important ecosystem functions in Puget Sound.

Reclaiming, or re-using, water means using human-engineered treatment systems to speed up nature's restoration of water quality. Treatment allows wastewater to be cleansed and re-used in many non-drinking uses in landscapes, public parks, and to irrigate golf courses.

Reclaimed water may also be used in agricultural and industrial uses, for toilet flushing, dust control, construction activities, and to create wetlands and ponds.

Local government projects that reclaim water help to recharge underground water supplies and increase flows in rivers and streams. Reclaiming water may improve Puget Sound's water quality by reducing wastewater discharges.

Ecology will take grant applications through September 28. The agency plans to review the grant applications in October and make the grant offers in November.

For more information about the state's reclaimed water grant program, visit Ecology's website at: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/funding/funding.html

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