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Beneficial Reuse Credit for Wastewater Facilities

What is a beneficial reuse credit, who qualifies for it, what information is required, and how to calculate and use it?

What is a Beneficial Reuse Credit?

A beneficial reuse credit is the amount by which the permitted wastewater flow can be reduced to calculate the required land application area for a Texas land application permit. The beneficial reuse credit is based on the demonstrated firm reclaimed water demand, which is the amount of wastewater the permittee or water user has historically reused. Beneficial reuse credits are authorized under 30 Texas Administrative Code Chapters 222 and 309Exit the TCEQ.

A beneficial reuse credit can be used for any of the following:

  • Reducing the acreage required for land application of treated effluent.
  • Increasing the permitted flow without reducing the land application acreage.
  • Reducing the land application acreage and increasing the permitted flow. A beneficial reuse credit cannot be used to reduce the required effluent storage size.

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Who Qualifies?

Entities may qualify if both of the following apply:

  • An entity who applies for or is authorized under a Texas land application permit for land application of treated domestic wastewater.
  • Is authorized under a domestic reuse authorization per 30 Texas Administrative Code Chapter 210Exit the TCEQ. For new facilities, the executive director may satisfy this requirement by issuing a multiple phase permit so that the beneficial reuse credit will not become effective until the applicant obtains the domestic reuse authorization.

The following do not qualify for a beneficial reuse credit:

  • Entities who apply for or are authorized to discharge treated domestic wastewater under a Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.
  • Industrial facilities.

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What Information is Required to Apply?

Historical water use data is required to demonstrate firm reclaimed water demand, which is used to calculate the beneficial reuse credit. An entity must have five consecutive years of reuse data for each user. If five years of data is not available, a minimum of two consecutive years of water use data is required. It must represent the two or five-year period immediately preceding the date the the agency received the application.

Water use data may be from the applicant’s reuse or from other users and must be for the same type of use proposed. For example, if a user commits to using reclaimed water instead of potable water for toilet flushing at a particular facility, then the water use data must be for toilet flushing at that facility.

The executive director has discretion to exclude unreliable water use data, allow less than two years of water use data if it is reliable, or allow the use of a water balance. The executive director determines data reliability.

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How to Calculate and Use a Beneficial Reuse Credit

For outdoor reuse, the credit is calculated as one of the following:

  • 80% of the lowest single month of total outdoor water use, for users with less than five years of water use data.
  • 80% of the average of the lowest three months of total outdoor water use, for users with five or more years of water use data.

For indoor use, the credit is calculated as one of the following:

  • 100% of the lowest month of total water use, for users with less than five years of water use data.
  • 100% of the average of the lowest three months of total water use data, for users with five or more years of water use data.

The calculated beneficial reuse credit is used to reduce the permitted wastewater flow volume by the beneficial reuse credit when calculating the land application area required based on the hydraulic application rate. For example, if the permitted flow is 100,000 gallons per day and the calculated beneficial reuse credit is 5,000 gallons per day, the applicant would use 95,000 gallons per day to calculate the required acreage of the land application area.

The land application area cannot be reduced by more than 50% of the area required based on the permitted flow. The applicant must have a land application area that can receive at least 50% of the permitted flow, even if 100% of the effluent is reused.

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