Would you do it?
The Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) has found a way to turn the county’s sewage into drinking water that “is of a higher quality than required by all state and federal drinking water standards and is similar to distilled water”.
They are using an “advanced purification process” with the latest in “water treatment technologies”. This is absolutely fascinating. You may not know this but Southern California is a very dry place. So dry that we import most of our water. It is extremely expensive to do that too.
We are not talking about expansive Roman aqueducts to bring the stuff into one city. We are talking about a sprawling metropolis of over 10 million people. Getting in the water means ginormous pipes, rivers, reservoirs, a whole webwork of water carriers. We buy water from other states, steal it from rivers, and even attempt to desalinate the ocean.
Now, we are on the road to a sustainable water system. Where the water we use and flush is sent back to us. My imagination quickly runs to the end of the line with this. Take this process, productize it, and put it in every house/building. Now houses need significantly less water, with some houses maybe needing no water. Get those houses completely off the water grid.
Ok, before I digress into Tatooine and Star Wars water capture technology let me get back to reality. This groundwater reclamation system (GWR) is still very new, opening in January of 2008. Tests can show it to of equal quality to drinking water, but what if we don’t test everything?
There are enormous potential issues here and so the brilliant folks at OCSD instead let nature do its thing. They send “half of the treated water…13 miles up along the Santa Ana River into ponds where it slowly percolates into the ground. The other half is injected into wells in Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley to build up a fresh water barrier and keep salty ocean water from seeping inland.”
Concerns aside this is radical but logical. These folks are showing solid leadership and management with something very serious.
It’s serious for me too since this water normally gets tossed in the Ocean. I can’t surf without swimming in it. The more they recycle this water the better. Now, I promise you there is so much more in this story. Cost savings, environmental impacts (in a good way), compost from poo, etc.
I highly recommend reading these three very short information pieces: