Drinkable Wastewater

Julie Slavet
Feb 10, 2012

We all use water every day: to take a shower, wash dishes, drink a cup of coffee, flush a toilet, or water your houseplants. Ever wonder what would happen if we ran out of water… would we stop using water altogether? Since this isn’t really a feasible idea, we need to look for alternatives.

One option is recycling water from sewers so that it can be reused as tap water. Treated wastewater can be used for irrigation, industrial uses, and as drinking water. This is already happening in places around the world, including San Diego. Other cities such as Miami, Denver, El Paso, Big Spring, TX, and Cloudcroft, NM are also considering this new technology.

Many people are disgusted by the idea of drinking sewer water, but in reality, all water is recycled through the water cycle. These municipalities use several processes to clean the water to high standards. According to Belinda Smith, a Surfrider Foundation volunteer, “It isn’t toilet to tap. It’s toilet to treatment to treatment to treatment to tap.”

Read more at:
New York Times
National Academy of Sciences

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