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NWRI Independent Advisory Panel

LOTT Clean Water Alliance Reclaimed Water Infiltration Study 





Established for:

LOTT Clean Water Alliance

Olympia, Washington, USA

LOTT's Consultant for this project is HDR


About the Project

In 2013, LOTT Clean Water Alliance (LOTT) contracted with the National Water Research Institute (NWRI) of Fountain Valley, California, a joint powers authority and nonprofit organization, to provide a credible, third-party, science-based review of the Reclaimed Water Infiltration Study (RWIS) proposed by LOTT. To that end, NWRI appointed local and national water industry experts to an Independent Advisory Panel (Panel). 


LOTT manages wastewater for a population of approximately 118,000 in the urban areas of Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater in Thurston County, Washington. Since 2006, LOTT has also produced reclaimed water, which is used for irrigation and other non-drinking purposes, or sent to infiltration basins where it recharges groundwater. The long-range plan for meeting future wastewater needs has centered on expanding reclaimed water production and groundwater recharge over time.


LOTT built a Reclaimed Water Satellite System, which can produce up to 1.5 million gallons per day (mgd) of reclaimed water. The system includes the Martin Way Reclaimed Water Plant, which uses a membrane bioreactor for primary, secondary, and tertiary treatment to meet Washington State's Class A Reclaimed Water standards. The water is then piped to the Hawks Prairie Reclaimed Water Ponds and Recharge Basins, where it circulates through five constructed wetland ponds that also serve as a public park and ecosystem for local wildlife. Afterwards, the water flows into recharge basins to infiltrate into the aquifer.


LOTT also produces up to 1.5 mgd of Class A Reclaimed Water at its Budd Inlet Treatment Plant using a sand filter technology. Most of this reclaimed water is currently used for irrigation, toilet flushing, water features, and process uses within the treatment plant.


Why an Independent Advisory Panel? 

Questions and concerns have been raised by some community members about residual chemicals from pharmaceuticals and personal care products that may remain in reclaimed water, and what happens to those chemicals when reclaimed water is used for groundwater recharge. To address these questions, LOTT has undertake a multi-year scientific study to:


1. Provide scientific data and community perspectives to help policymakers make informed decisions about future wastewater and reclaimed water treatment and uses.
2. Ensure that the scientific study and public involvement processes are credible, objective, transparent, responsive, and responsible.
3. Foster meaningful, community-wide dialogue about water quality, reclaimed water, groundwater recharge, risk assessment, and related watershed issues.


The Panel was engaged to advise LOTT using the following approach:



At the conclusion of each meeting, the Panel will prepare a report that provides findings and recommendations on the various technical, scientific, and regulatory aspects of the reports discussed and reviewed during the meeting. Materials from Meeting #1 and 2 are archived at the bottom of this page. Meeting #3 will likely be held in 2019. 

Panel Members


The Panel is made up of six experts in areas related to the infiltration of reclaimed water, including water reuse and public health criteria, human and environmental toxicology, environmental hydrogeology, environmental health, and other relevant fields. Panel members include:

Download a PDF containing brief biographies of the Panel members.




National Water Research Institute

Suzanne Sharkey, Water Resources Scientist and Project Manager

ssharkey@nwri-usa.org or (714) 378-3278


ARCHIVE of Past Panel Meetings


Panel Meeting #1

Panel Meeting #1 for the LOTT Reclaimed Water Reclaimation Study was held in February 2014, at LOTT's administrative offices in Olympia.  Download the Panel's Meeting #1 Report. 


Panel Meeting #2


Panel Meeting #2 for the LOTT Reclaimed Water Infiltration Study was held in November 2017, at LOTT's administrative offices in Olympia. The meeting included a site visit to observe the infiltration basins. During the meeting, the following reports and presentations were discussed:


The Panel documented their recommendations in the Meeting #2 Panel Report. The LOTT RWIS Study Team provided a response to the Panel's recommendations.