Water Reuse: Clean Water Fund - EH: Minnesota Department of Health

Water Reuse
Clean Water Fund

Water reuse will be an increasingly important part of managing Minnesota’s water resources as demands on our water supplies continue to grow due to population increases, urbanization, climate change, increased irrigation and industry growth. 

Water reuse is happening across Minnesota. The main reason cited for many water reuse projects is to conserve water, but implementers also say saving money and meeting environmental regulations are reasons for water reuse. Despite increasing interest in water reuse, there is no comprehensive statewide guidance or policy on water reuse to ensure that projects are safe and sustainable. 

MDH White Paper: A Public Health Perspective on Stormwater Reuse

MDH’s mission, “to protect, maintain and improve the health of all Minnesotans”, is to ensure that the health of the public is protected. A White Paper outlining the public health perspective is valuable to satisfy the MDH mission and to understand the implications of water reuse: What is in stormwater that could be harmful to people? How likely are people to get sick from stormwater reuse? Who could be affected? Is there a way to reduce the hazard or the exposure of reused water to prevent potential illness or injury?

Report: The White Paper, Reuse of Stormwater and Rainwater in Minnesota: A Public Health Perspective (PDF), is an evaluation of the safety of Minnesota stormwater reuse systems.

Information Sheet on Report: For a synopsis of the report, see the Information Sheet Reuse of Stormwater and Rainwater in Minnesota (PDF).

Interagency Report on Water Reuse

An interagency workgroup formed in 2015 in response to interest in water reuse, a legislative directive and funding support. State agencies, Metropolitan Council, the University of Minnesota (the Workgroup) and stakeholders in the water reuse community worked together to develop a report that serves as a foundation for advancing safe and sustainable reuse in Minnesota. The Workgroup met monthly from January 2016 through August 2017 and also convened four meetings with stakeholders during this time. 

Report: The Advancing Safe and Sustainable Water Reuse in Minnesota 2018 Interagency Report on Water Reuse (PDF) is the product of the Workgroup efforts. The report is intended to serve as a foundation to move safe and sustainable reuse forward in Minnesota. 

Information Sheet on Report: For a synopsis of the Workgroup effort and report, see the Information Sheet Advancing Safe and Sustainable Water Reuse in Minnesota (PDF).

Meeting Notes: Email health.legacy@state.mn.us to request notes from the interagency and stakeholder meetings.

Recommendations for Water Reuse in Minnesota

The Workgroup developed Minnesota-specific recommendations in the report:

  1. Create an expanded workgroup with practitioners, advisors and stakeholders to continue development of standards and programs.
  2. Prioritize research needs and integrate ongoing research to address questions about reuse.
  3. Define roles and responsibilities to oversee and monitor water reuse.
  4. Establish an information and collaboration hub on the web to share information and resources.
  5. Develop a risk-based management system to determine if regulation or guidance is needed.
  6. Develop water quality criteria for a variety of reuse systems based on the log reduction target approach for pathogens to manage human health risks.
  7. Resolve unique issues related to graywater reuse to determine the feasibility of expanding graywater reuse.
  8. Provide education and training to support water reuse.

For more information, please contact MDH at health.water.reuse.mn@state.mn.us.

Updated Tuesday, 11-Jan-2022 07:56:36 CST