Reclaimed Water Expansion

The Amherst campus currently uses about 350 million gallons of water per year.  UMass Amherst is making strides in reducing the amount of potable water consumption through an array of water conservation efforts including the use of treated reclaimed water (effluent) from the Amherst Waste Water Treatment Plant. For more information about how UMass Amherst is saving water in the residence halls and across campus in response to the Town of Amherst water restrictions and drought response.

2005 Reclaimed Water for CHP Steam and Hot Water

Since 2005 the UMass Amherst Central Heating Plant (CHP) has safely utilized the effluent (reclaimed water) from the Amherst Waste Water Treatment Plant as boiler make-up water to produce steam for the campus and hot water distributed in a closed piping system throughout the campus. The water is treated with a state-of-the-art reverse osmosis (RO) treatment process.  This initiative reduced potable water consumption by about 17%.  

2013 & 2015 Expansion to Cooling Towers

To increase water conservation, in 2013 the CHP submitted a Class A Reclaimed Water Application to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to use reclaimed water at the CHP cooling towers.  The campus received the permit to expand the reclaimed water for cooling tower use and has been using the reclaimed water for this purpose ever since at the CHP cooling tower.  In 2015, UMass Amherst received authorization from the DEP to maximize our reclaimed water usage during the summer months to include the Commonwealth Honors Residential Complex which will be completed and implemented in time for the 2017 cooling season.


2018 Expansion to Irrigation

In early 2018, the campus received an extension of the Class A Reclaimed Water Permit to expand the use of treated reclaimed water from the Amherst Wastewater Treatment Plant for the use of dust control and for watering plants to conserve potable water used for irrigation in response to the Town of Amherst water ban restrictions.  This use for dust control and irrigation will be conducted under the existing Class A permit for reuse and the permit is being amended for this additional use.  The campus has committed to a number of actions in order to comply with 314 CMR 20.13(1) and 314 CMR 20.13(2).

NOTE: The use of reclaimed water is extensively tested to minimize risk to employees and the campus under the Class A permit.


UMass Water Usage Graph

UMass Water Usage Per Year through FY19 bar graph

Water type Fiscal Year 2004 Fiscal Year 2005 Fiscal Year 2006 Fiscal Year 2007 Fiscal Year 2008 Fiscal Year 2009 Fiscal Year 2010 Fiscal Year 2011 Fiscal Year 2012 Fiscal Year 2013 Fiscal Year 2014 Fiscal Year 2015 Fiscal Year 2016 Fiscal Year 2017 Fiscal Year 2018 Fiscal Year 2019
Reclaimed Water N/A N/A 53 Million Gallons 54 Million Gallons 60 Million Gallons 67 Million Gallons 60 Million Gallons 43 Million Gallons 51 Million Gallons 64 Million Gallons 70 Million Gallons 67 Million Gallons 64 Million Gallons 61 Million Gallons 74 Million Gallons 72 Million Gallons
Potable Water 447 Million Gallons 381 Million Gallons 287 Million Gallons 261 Million Gallons 281 Million Gallons 305 Million Gallons 273 Million Gallons 301 Million Gallons 278 Million Gallons 280 Million Gallons 285 Million Gallons 302 Million Gallons 321 Million Gallons 316 Million Gallons 288 Million Gallons 272 Million Gallons