Desalination techniques are now being used to clean up dirty water of all types, including sewer water. Yuck, you say? Maybe not. Purifying and reusing water that used to be discarded is certainly one excellent solution to drought. The Groundwater Replenishment System in Orange County, CA cleans up sewer water then pumps it into aquifers and into a buffer to protect against salt water intrusion.
“That’s what’s particularly interesting to us — we can run on really, really dirty water,” Webley said. “Where you really should start with this whole thing is, let’s squeeze everything we can out of re-use and then start talking about other options.”
Traditional desal uses sea water, then pumps the salt back into the ocean with obvious adverse effects on local habitats. Using desal techniques to purify grey or dirty water avoids those problems and creates new possibilities for recycling water.
A massive desalination facility will open in San Diego in 2016, producing 54 million gallons of water a day. Water FX has developed a solar thermal powered water cleansing system for agricultural water which can output 14,000 gallons a day. Lots of folks are working hard at cleaning up water.