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Sacramento regional wastewater treatment plant offering free recycled water

Free Recycled, Undrinkable. Water Being Given Out
Free Recycled, Undrinkable. Water Being Given Out 01:32

ELK GROVE (CBS13) - A local facility is giving away free water. And there's no catch.

"It works for me because every other day I leave here with 55 gallons," says Mark Massello, a Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant (RegionalSan) employee who uses the free refill stations onsite. "I go around the whole backyard and we have a garden and I water the garden. I water the plants."

You can't drink this water though. It's recycled from RegionalSan's wastewater treatment plant and used mostly for landscape irrigation. And there's no limit to how much water a customer can get. All one needs to do is get some training online, come by the treatment plant and then take as much as a vehicle can carry.

"It's completely separate from the water supply system they have at home, so they can take as much as they want from us," says Mike Crooks, Deputy Director of RegionalSan operations.

While the program has seen traffic in years past, there haven't been so many customers this year.

"This year is actually the first year in three to four years we've been able to turn that thing on," explains Crooks.

But the opportunity is available. Wastewater will always be in abundance to some degree and new treatment methods have made the water safer each year.

"If nobody uses that water it goes into the Sacramento River," Crooks says.

With restrictions in effect, customers can use the recycled water -- as much as they want -- to keep their lawns green and plants fed without having it reflected on their normal water usage bill.

"Anything we can do to provide an opportunity for additional water when you're in a time where water use is severely restricted it's not a bad thing," Crooks says.

Click here to learn more about the program.   

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