Wastewater to Drinking Water – A Brilliant Idea or Another Fiasco?

Local water districts are beginning to pump treated wastewater into aquifers that provide drinking water to hundreds of thousands of people. Turning wastewater into drinking water – is this a brilliant idea or another fiasco? Humans are really good at the latter.

In one case in Colorado the wastewater will simply be used again as drinking water, after treatment of course. The advantage of pumping into a groundwater source is dilution. “The solution to pollution is dilution.”

The problem with this is that in bringing wastewater up to drinking water standards what are we missing? It is only within the last year that USEPA and others have realized that PFAs and PFOAs, known as the forever chemicals, are in rain across the planet and in everyone’s drinking water.

What else don’t we know?

These articles don’t mention anything about the removal of PFAs and their cousins or the removal of pharmaceuticals, which are present in all wastewater. USEPA has yet to acknowledge that pharmaceuticals in drinking water pose a health hazard. Of course they do!

Virginia Uses Treated Wastewater to Shore Up a Drinking Water Aquifer – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Colorado to reuse water for drinking, creating new supply (msn.com)

Drought and water shortages are causing water districts to do all sorts of things, particularly demanding that consumers use less water. But these same jurisdictions continue to allow new building. They are living beyond their means.

The solution is to acknowledge the limits to growth imposed by a resource such as potable water and then live within that limit.

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About James McMahon

Studied ecology at the University of Illinois, mountain survival at Eastern Washing University, Deep Ecology at Naropa, River Ecology with The Nature Conservancy and Luna Leopold
This entry was posted in Drought, PFAs in water, Remove PFAs from water and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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