Vital Nature: Recycling potable water


As modern advancements and evolution in technology and engineering rise, the practice of direct water recycling and treatment processes becomes all the more real. Today, water treatment has become increasingly important with limited fresh water resources, a rising population count and many terrestrial areas experiencing water shortage.

Though the toilet-to-tap idea may be unsettling to some, it is a highly practical way for consumers to reuse and recycle our most vital resource: H2O. Potable water purification and filtration plants are already on the rise as some natural water-body levels are sloping to their decline. Texas is home to several cities partaking in the water reuse experiment. This spring, a $14 million plant in the West Texas hamlet of Big Spring will begin converting treated wastewater into clean, drinkable water and distribute approximately two million gallons of water per day to the Midland-Odessa area.

The introduction of municipal water treatment plants into different places across the states will significantly increase the nation’s total available water resources. The use of treated wastewater, also known as reclaimed water, to augment drinking water supplies has significant potential for helping to meet the potential needs of the future, as claimed in a report by the National Research Council.

There is a thriving potential held within the fact that water can be recycled and kept within a somewhat local biological-technological system. That great potential is matched by analyses that suggest the possible health risks of exposure to chemical contaminants and disease-causing microbes from wastewater do not exceed, and may in some cases be notably lower than, the risks held within our current water sources and suppliers.

“Wastewater reuse is poised to become a legitimate part of the nation’s water supply portfolio given recent improvements to treatment processes,” explained R. Rhodes Trussell, chair of the committee that wrote the report and president of Trussell Technologies in Pasadena, Cali. “Although reuse is not a panacea, wastewater discharged to the environment is of such quantity that it could measurable complement water from other sources and management strategies.”

The report examines a wide range of reuse applications, which include potable water, non-potable urban and industrial uses, irrigation, ecological enhancement as well as groundwater recharge. The committee concluded that a number of communities have already implemented various forms of water reuse projects, such as irrigating golf courses, turf soccer fields, parks or providing industrial cooling water in locations near wastewater reclamation plants. It is acknowledged that many drinking water treatment plants draw water from sources with wastewater discharge from nearby communities, though this is not officially considered potable water reuse.