Bill to use toilet water for toilet flushing headed to the Colorado governor

Author: Joey Bunch - April 18, 2018 - Updated: April 18, 2018


Colorado’s future source of potentially significant water savings is already swirling the bowl, but not the legislation to advance it.

The state Senate on Tuesday passed House Bill 1069 to allow the state Water Quality Control Commission to continue working on rules for the reuse of reclaimed water. That starts with using a lower water quality standard for toilet flushing in apartments and non-residential buildings in the future.

The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Don Coram, R-Montrose, and supported by the Western Slope business and civic coalition Club 20, which serves a region very interested in less water draining from their part of the state to supply urban growth.

“With the water shortage and everything we’re looking at by 2050, I think this is an excellent program,” Coram said of the state’s continued growth and tight water supply.

The bill passed the Senate 32-3 Tuesday, and bounced out of the House 47-14 on March 21.

The legislation instructs the state Water Quality Control Commission to set new categories of water quality standards to allow more use of reclaimed domestic wastewater. The commission also could set increase standards on reclaimed water to make sure it doesn’t pose a health risk by going back where it came from, the toilet bowl.

Coram noted that Denver Water has been a leader in making better use of drinking water by recycling wastewater.

The Denver utility that depends on Western Slope water operates a treatment facility that delivers billions of gallons of treated water a year to industries and irrigators. The plant eventually will replace the water that could be used instead to supply almost 43,000 households, according to Denver Water.

The bill is No. 2 for Coram in the arena of recycled water this session.

House Bill 1093 will allow the use of reclaimed water to irrigate food crops.

The measure passed out of the legislature on April 5 and officially shipped off to Gov. John Hickenlooper Tuesday.

Coram co-sponsored both bills with Rep. Jeni Arndt, D-Fort Collins.

The state already allows reclaimed wastewater to be used for non-food irrigation, fire protection, industrial and commercial uses, as long as the state health department approves the application.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.