Edo McGowan: TITLE 22 RECLAIMED WATER RULES
I assume that each state has somewhat similar language.
Per Calif Water Code 13552.4, a city can force upon residential areas the use of recycled water.
However, and here is where the work begins for us.
California Water Code Section 13559 (a)(3) states that use of recycled water will not be detrimental to public health.
This is echoed in 13521, which controls Title 22. Since Title 22 was put together in 1977, much of the then available
science did not and could not consider later scientific findings that have vastly changed the landscape. Thus Title 22
does not consider antibiotic resistance nor antibiotic resistant genes (ARGs) or virulence islands (VI) which are not
amenable to chlorine disinfection at levels used by the wastewater industry. It also does not consider VBNC and some
of the newly emerging infectious diseases. Nor for that matter, does it consider interactions of heavy metals and
pharmaceuticals which may foster the development of resistance.
Dried out settling pond or percolation pond surfaces will have a coating of bacterial cells and thus dust containing
endotoxins (LPS). LPS as well as high pH materials are serious irritants and allergens as well as inflammatory reaction
exciters. These act in concert with pathogens to cause both irritation and disease.
Thus, for example, when the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB), the California regulatory body that
pronounces upon the adequacy of sewer plant design, must conform to these statutes.
Health and Safety Code 5410 indicates contamination means impairment of the quality of the waters of the state by
waste. The waters of the state include any water within the boundary of the state.
Now the trick would be to also include that water in sewage ponds that is to be used under Title 22, hence water
delivered in pipes. That may take some clever thought. Did the law exclude water in pipes? The legislature to exempt
something must explicitly state such.
5411---no person (includes city) shall discharge sewage or other waste, or the effluent of treated sewage or other
waste, in any manner which will result in contamination, pollution, or nuisance.
5410 (f)----nuisance means anything which: 1) is injurious to health, 2) affects at the same time an entire community or
neighborhood or any considerable number of persons, and 3) occurs during, or as a result of, the treatment or
disposal of wastes.
This 5410 (f) seems then to loop back to the delivery of Title 22 water to residential areas per 13440 (a) (3) noted
5410 (d)-----contamination means impairment of the quality of the waters of the state by waste to a degree which
creates a hazard to the public health through poisoning or the spread of disease.
Here we can then bring in antibiotic resistance as well as ARGs and VIs as components of disease. To the extent that
LPS is toxic to tissues, this may fall under the poison as well as disease.
Those that have access to law libraries may want to look at Toxic Torts as absolute nuisance---see: 16 Western St. LR
5. It was stolen from our law library, but perhaps one of you might find it. Being something that falls under absolute,
there is no escape for the defendant. This is the beauty of absolute. Same for absolute or strict liability---no excuse is
allowed. Thus, if dealing with pathogens of disease entities is in fact inherently dangerous, then presumably strict
liability would come into play. The section 13550 (a) (3) may set that up---use of recycled water will not be detrimental
to public health.