Several water groups are hoping a newly released document will give regulatory agencies and utilities the information and guidance they need to safely implement projects that convert wastewater into municipal drinking water through direct potable reuse (DPR).

Released at the WaterReuse Symposium in Seattle on Sept. 14, the framework is the result of a collaborative effort among the WaterReuse Association, the American Water Works Association, the Water Environment Federation and an independent advisory panel, administered by the National Water Research Institute.

Jeff Mosher, NWRI's executive director, said the groups developed the framework to address the "gap in knowledge" at a time when more utilities are moving forward with DPR projects. "There was clearly a need to think through what information we had and how we should go about implementing these DPR projects," Mosher said, adding that very few states currently have regulations or guidelines on how to implement a DPR project.

Phil Oshida, deputy director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Standards and Risk Management  Division, said the framework could prove  useful to state regulators and headquarters EPA, too.

"From our standpoint, this document gives us the opportunity to see where the general state of DPR is and allows us to think about what kind of guidance we might give our co-regulators—the state agencies," Oshida said. The document will help the EPA to look more deeply at both technical issues and some of the legal issues related not only to DPR but also to the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act, he added.

According to Melissa Meeker, executive director of WaterReuse, interest in potable reuse is growing rapidly among municipalities that are searching to  diversify or supplement their water  supplies. The association has made it a priority to increase, over the next year, public acceptance of direct and indirect potable reuse through a revamped website and increased advocacy work.