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RULE §210.24Irrigation Using Reclaimed Water

(a) The reclaimed water user shall provide reasonable control of the application rates for reclaimed water applied to irrigation areas. These controls shall encourage the efficient use of reclaimed water and avoid excessive application of reclaimed water that results in surface runoff or excessive percolation below the root zone.

(b) The reclaimed water provider or user, as applicable, shall determine and document typical irrigation demands for the proposed use based on type of vegetation and land area to be irrigated. As one alternative, a typical method for determining irrigation needs is shown in Table 1 of this section. However, other alternative methods may be used.

Attached Graphic (c) The reclaimed water provider shall be responsible for conducting periodic audits of appropriate controls implemented by reclaimed water users. Other typical irrigation operational considerations that must be addressed include the following:

  (1) Irrigation of Food Crops.

    (A) Irrigation of edible crops that will be peeled, skinned, cooked, or thermally processed before consumption is allowed. Direct contact of the reclaimed water with such crops is allowed.

    (B) Irrigation of citrus fruit is allowed. Direct contact of the reclaimed water with citrus is allowed.

    (C) Irrigation of edible crops that will not be peeled, skinned, cooked, or thermally processed before consumption is allowed if an indirect application method is used which will preclude the direct contact with the reclaimed water. For instance, a ridge and furrow, drip irrigation, or a subsurface distribution system may be used to irrigate such above ground crops. However, these methods would not be suitable for crops such as carrots or radishes.

    (D) Irrigation of edible crops that will not be peeled, skinned, cooked, or thermally processed before consumption that allows for direct contact of the reclaimed water on the crop is prohibited.

  (2) Irrigation of pastures used by animals milked for human consumption shall be conducted in a manner to avoid contact of reclaimed water with such animals.

  (3) Irrigation of landscaped areas.

    (A) Application of reclaimed water on public access facilities shall be controlled by agreement with the reclaimed water provider or by local ordinance.

    (B) Reclaimed water may not be used to fill swimming pools, hot tubs, wading pools, or other structures designed for contact recreation.

(d) General irrigation requirements.

  (1) A provider or user designing or operating an irrigation system using reclaimed water is responsible for ensuring that reclaimed water overflow, crop stress, and undesirable soil contamination by a salt does not occur. To prevent such occurrences, the provider or user is required to consider, evaluate, and respond appropriately to the following factors as the need arises:

    (A) Precipitation inputs to the water balance should utilize the average monthly precipitation based on past rainfall records.

    (B) The consumptive use requirements (evapotranspiration losses) of the crop system should be developed on a monthly basis. The method of determining the consumptive use requirement shall be documented by the provider or user as a part of the water balance study and the records of the study maintained for possible commission review.

    (C) A leaching requirement, calculated as shown in Table 1 of this section, shall be included in the water balance study when the total dissolved solids concentration of the reclaimed water presents the potential for developing excessive soil salinity buildup due to the long term operation of the irrigation system.

  (2) The irrigation site must be maintained with a vegetative cover or be under cultivation during times when reclaimed water is being applied.

  (3) The irrigation practices shall be designed so as to prevent incidental ponding or standing water except where local farming conditions and the accepted irrigation delivery systems and cropping patterns are such that, as an unavoidable consequence of such conditions, systems, and patterns, there will be standing water.

  (4) Irrigation application rates and application times shall be developed so as to minimize "wet grass" conditions in unrestricted landscaped areas during the periods the area could be in use.

  (5) Irrigation systems shall be designed so that the irrigation spray does not reach any privately-owned premises outside the designated irrigation area or reach public drinking fountains.

  (6) There shall be no application of effluent when the ground is water saturated or frozen.

  (7) Distribution systems must be designed to prevent operation by unauthorized personnel.

  (8) Irrigation operations shall be managed in a manner to minimize the inadvertent contact of reclaimed water with humans.

  (9) Operational or tailwater controls shall be provided to preclude discharge of reclaimed water from irrigation sites.

Source Note: The provisions of this §210.24 adopted to be effective February 12, 1997, 22 TexReg 1103.

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