Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Toilet to Tap

One more reason I'm glad I don't live in Orange County, California: This Friday, the Orange County Water District will begin their process of "indirect potable water reuse", or recycling sewage water (after a lengthy purification treatment) as drinking water.

Though the idea is offsetting, I'm not entirely turned off by the idea (it's gross in theory but no grosser than eating, for example, maraschino cherries after you know how they're made). Were it not for the tendency of public officials and so-called "experts" to make purely economic decisions while calling out PR agencies to minimize the public's awareness of health risks, I might even be behind (ha!) the idea.

Still, read this: "The Groundwater Replenishment System, as the $481 million plant here is known, is a labyrinth of tubing and tanks that sucks in treated sewer water the color of dark beer from a sanitation plant next door, and first runs it through microfilters to remove solids. The water then undergoes reverse osmosis, forcing it through thin, porous membranes at high pressure, before it is further cleansed with peroxide and ultraviolet light to break down any remaining pharmaceuticals and carcinogens. The result, Mr. Markus [the plant general manager] said, “is as pure as distilled water” and about the same cost as buying water from wholesalers."

Yum. Anticipating public backlash. . . now.

New Age Sewage Spewage

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