[Southern_AZ_MWS] From Sewage, Added Water for Drinking
driddle289 at cox.net
Fri Nov 30 10:44:57 MST 2007
add a few drops of trace minerals (available in health food stores) to your
----- Original Message -----
From: "Betsy Frederick" <Betsy.Frederick at seacon.com>
To: "Cathy Mullan" <CathyMullan at cox.net>; "MWS List"
<gila_stacruz_mws at CALS.arizona.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2007 11:15 AM
Subject: RE: [Southern_AZ_MWS] From Sewage, Added Water for Drinking
> The issues are always evolving (and I'm sure there are some others on
> the list with significantly better credentials to comment) but in part
> there is no question in my mind that this is as much socio/political as
> it is about science. The fact is that new contaminants are entering our
> water resources through a variety of means all the time, not the least
> being pharmaceuticals, much of which is not treated adequately by the
> traditional methods of wastewater treatment that most of the country
> uses now. On the other hand, it is also true that huge portions of the
> country are regularly using "toilet to tap" without so much as a second
> thought because it just doesn't occur to them that this is their current
> condition. They mentioned something similar in the article you attached
> below, but for instance, the Merrimack River, the watershed of which
> encompasses much of Southern New Hampshire and portions of northern
> Massachusetts, is both the receiving water body for multiple wastewater
> treatment plant discharges as well as the drinking water supply for
> hundreds of thousands of people. What gets discharged upstream is
> consumed downstream. About a mile downstream in fact. That's a fact
> now, not sometime in the future.
> I've always been surprised that people who have been drinking water from
> their wells situated not too far from their septic system (that's if it
> isn't just a cesspit) for a lifetime see this as such a newfangled idea.
> I haven't really kept up on the technology but I know in the past many
> of the problems associated with injection well technology have revolved
> around fairly mundane "mechanical" issues - not the science associated
> with natural attenuation of contaminants or the natural filtering
> capacity of soils. Maintaining well screens adequately in the face of
> organic growth on the screens, etc., has impacted pumping and operating
> efficiencies and therefore costs. By the way, I laughed when I read the
> description of the water in the system below, because I for one am not
> interested in drinking "distilled" water. It's not good for you, ya
> -----Original Message-----
> From: gila_stacruz_mws-bounces at CALS.arizona.edu
> [mailto:gila_stacruz_mws-bounces at CALS.arizona.edu] On Behalf Of Cathy
> Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2007 10:17 AM
> To: MWS List
> Subject: [Southern_AZ_MWS] From Sewage, Added Water for Drinking
> I wonder if anyone has really studied the impact of injecting treated
> wastewater underground.
> "after a hard scrubbing with filters, screens, chemicals and ultraviolet
> light" I would be interested in knowing if this is enough to scrub out
> personal care products residue from the water. Cathy
> NY Times
> November 27, 2007
> From Sewage, Added Water for Drinking
> By RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD
> FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. - It used to be so final: flush the toilet, and
> waste be gone.
> But on Nov. 30, for millions of people here in Orange County, pulling
> the lever will be the start of a long, intense process to purify the
> sewage into drinking water - after a hard scrubbing with filters,
> screens, chemicals and ultraviolet light and the passage of time
> On that Friday, the Orange County Water District will turn on what
> industry experts say is the world's largest plant devoted to purifying
> sewer water to increase drinking water supplies. They and others hope it
> serves as a model for authorities worldwide facing persistent drought,
> predicted water shortages and projected growth.
> The process, called by proponents "indirect potable water reuse" and
> "toilet to tap" by the wary, is getting a close look in several cities.
> The San Diego City Council approved a pilot plan in October to bolster a
> drinking water reservoir with recycled sewer water. The mayor vetoed the
> proposal as costly and unlikely to win public acceptance, but the
> Council will consider overriding it in early December.
> Water officials in the San Jose area announced a study of the issue in
> September, water managers in South Florida approved a plan in November
> calling for abundant use of recycled wastewater in the coming years in
> part to help restock drinking water supplies, and planners in Texas are
> giving it serious consideration.
> "These types of projects you will see springing up all over the place
> where there are severe water shortages," said Michael R. Markus, the
> general manager of the Orange County district, whose plant, which will
> process 70 million gallons a day, has already been visited by water
> managers from across the globe.
> The finished product, which district managers say exceeds drinking water
> standards, will not flow directly into kitchen and bathroom taps; state
> regulations forbid that.
> Instead it will be injected underground, with half of it helping to form
> a barrier against seawater intruding on groundwater sources and the
> other half gradually filtering into aquifers that supply 2.3 million
> people, about three-quarters of the county. The recycling project will
> produce much more potable water and at a higher quality than did the
> mid-1970s-era plant it replaces.
> 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
> The result, Mr. Markus said, "is as pure as distilled water" and about
> the same cost as buying water from wholesalers.
> Recycled water, also called reclaimed or gray water, has been used for
> decades in agriculture, landscaping and by industrial plants.
> And for years, treated sewage, known as effluent, has been discharged
> into oceans and rivers, including the Mississippi and the Colorado,
> which supply drinking water for millions.
> But only about a dozen water agencies in the United States, and several
> more abroad, recycle treated sewage to replenish drinking water
> supplies, though none here steer the water directly into household taps.
> They typically spray or inject the water into the ground and allow it to
> percolate down to aquifers.
> Namibia's capital, Windhoek, among the most arid places in Africa, is
> believed to be the only place in the world that practices "direct
> potable reuse" on a large-scale, with recycled water going directly into
> the tap water distribution system, said James Crook, a water industry
> consultant who has studied the issue.
> The projects are costly and often face health concerns from opponents.
> Such was the case on Nov. 6 in Tucson, where a wide-ranging ballot
> measure that would have barred the city from using purified water in
> drinking water supplies failed overwhelmingly. The water department
> there said it had no such plans but the idea has been discussed in the
> John Kromko, a former Arizona state legislator who advocated for the
> prohibition, said he was skeptical about claims that the recycling
> process cleanses all contaminants from the water and he suggested that
> Tucson limit growth rather than find new ways to feed it.
> "We really don't know how safe it is," he said. "And if we controlled
> growth we would never have to worry about drinking it."
> Mayor Jerry Sanders of San Diego, in vetoing the City Council plan
> there, said it "is not a silver bullet for the region's water needs"
> and the public has never taken to the idea in the 15 years it has been
> discussed off and on.
> Although originally estimated at $10 million for the pilot study in San
> Diego, water department officials said the figure would be refined, and
> the total cost of the project might be hundreds of millions of dollars.
> Although the Council wants to offset the cost with government grants and
> other sources, Mr. Sanders predicted it would add to already escalating
> water bills.
> "It is one of the most expensive kinds of water you can create," said
> Fred Sainz, a spokesman for the mayor. "It is a large investment for a
> very small return."
> San Diego, which imports about 85 percent of its water because of a lack
> of aquifers, asked residents this year to curtail water use.
> Here in Orange County, the project, a collaboration between the water
> and sanitation districts, has not faced serious opposition, in part
> because of a public awareness and marketing campaign.
> Early on, officials secured the backing of environmental groups, elected
> leaders and civic groups, helped in part by the fact the project
> eliminated the need for the sanitation district to build a new pipe
> spewing effluent into the ocean.
> Orange County began purifying sewer water in 1976 with its Water Factory
> 21, which dispensed the cleansed water into the ground to protect
> groundwater from encroaching seawater.
> That plant has been replaced by the new one, with more advanced
> technology, and is intended to cope with not only current water needs
> but also expectations that the county's population will grow by 500,000
> by 2020.
> Still, said Stephen Coonan, a water industry consultant in Texas, such
> projects proceed slowly.
> "Nobody is jumping out to do it," he said. "They want to make sure the
> science is where it should be. I think the public is accepting we are
> investigating it."
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