The Reclaimed Water Facility uses a tertiary treatment process for the University’s waste water. This process uses microfiltration and ultraviolet disinfection, which will allow UConn to divert a maximum of 1 million gallons of non-potable – not drinkable – water each day to meet the aforementioned campus needs that don’t require fresh water. One of these needs is the CoGen power plant, which uses anywhere between 250,000 and 450,000 gallons of cooling water each day, which is currently done using potable water. The reclaimed water facility allows the University to use the treated non-potable water to meet this need instead, replacing the need to pump and treat hundreds of thousands of gallons of potable water from our two major water supply well fields. The Reclaimed Water Facility will be operational by the Fall 2013 semester.
In 2011, UConn began construction of an on-site reclaimed water facility which is needed to reduce demand for potable water on the system and enable responsible growth of the campus and town. In recent years, UConn has conducted "instream flow" studies, which have shown that pumping of our water supply wells during drought periods can exacerbate low flow conditions in the two rivers near our wellfields. Thus, in addition to a formal drought response plan with voluntary and mandatory water conservation measures, UConn decided to take the next step and construct this $30 million Reclaimed Water Facility. The facility provides tertiary treatment of effluent from the University's adjacent sewage treatment plant and pumps the reclaimed water directly to our central utility plant/cogen facility, for use as cooling water, and to certain athletic fields, for irrigation purposes.
The University of Connecticut was awarded the Engineering Excellence Award by the American Council for Engineering Companies in April, 2010 for the reclaimed water facility's water reuse and engineering services. It was also awarded the 2011 Institution of the year award by the Water Reuse Association at the 26th annual WateReuse Symposium for its innovation in establishing the first industrial water reuse project in Connecticut and providing a tangible lesson to students on living sustainably. For more information about these awards, please click here.