L.A. plans toilet-to-tap water

Key quote: “We are drinking the same water the dinosaurs drank. All our water has been and is being recycled.” As water gets scarcer in dry areas,  recycling toilet water will become more common. If done right, the water is clean, and really, why waster such a precious resource?

  • DJ

    It’s about time! Orange County opened a plant this year. One of the main reasons SoCal faces a drinking water shortage is because for years they’ve taken fresh water from the aquifer and dumped it into the sea. The result: salt water incursion into the aquifer to replace the water they’ve taken out.

  • “We are drinking the same water the dinosaurs drank. All our water has been and is being recycled.”,0,1615373.story?track=rss

    The above mantra is popular with the WateReuse Association (the water recycling industry trade association) The fact is that water is purified — as it has been for thousands/millions of years — by the processes of the hydrologic cycle. This quote expresses it well I think.

    We’ve got to figure out a better way to deal with mechanically recycled water than thinking that it is really recycled,” says Frank Pecarich, a soil scientist retired from the US Bureau of Reclamation.
    “One of the things some people say is that all water is recycled. This is true. The problem is, though, that it wasn’t going through a tertiary treatment plant, but Mother Nature’s system. The water we drink is filtered through the soil profile. “When you replace that with tertiary treatment you’re not replacing the water cycle; you’re just short-circuiting or short-cutting it and leaving out a tremendous bacteria-cleansing mechanism of the soil and the profiles of materials it must go through before it reaches the aquifer. There has been great success in getting recycled water to flow through bogs, marshes, and particularly sand to get fairly clean water, in effect letting the whole world of biology go to work for you.”

    Pecarich is part of growing group of other retired scientists and some working scientists with great interest in a new area of research on so-called biofilm organisms or those forming colonies that effectively “communicate” with each other, as well as other issues with traditional wastewater treatment systems and uses of such reclaimed water.

    It’s an injustice to let these vested interest recycled water promoters levy this potential danger on the public without good science backing up these dangerous actions.

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