We recently discussed a few technologies that turned ‘used’ water into potable water. In each article we stated that although the technologies seemed to work quite well, neither technology currently gets used as a means of producing water for human consumption… and now for something totally different!
Headline from Perth (Australia) article: “RECYCLED water from showers, washing machines and toilets will be pumped into Perth’s underground drinking water supply after the State Government today officially signed off on a plan by the Water Corporation.” ( source )
There you have it, folks. An area often plagued by drought in recent years (caused by global warming or just another hot spell?) has turned to recycled water as a means of ‘drought-proofing’ itself against future water shortages.
Is recycled water safe to use (i.e. drink)?
According to the article, water experts in the Perth area did not take the idea of its citizens drinking recycled water lightly.
Research and trials involving an isolated aquifer cost more than $116M and lasted for a period of about 3 years. During that time more than 2 billion liters of wastewater from a designated water treatment plant discharged its product (treated to meet Australian drinking water standards) into the aquifer.
Drinking water experts regularly tested water in the aquifer for things like bacterial and fecal contamination for the full three years — the study/trial ended in December 2012 — and even now test results still come back clean. All in all more than 62,000 water samples got tested!
How long until the system goes live?
As long as no ‘surprises’ come to light, the recycled water will enter the infrastructure supplying homes and businesses in June of 2016… though for three years the water treatment plant has pumped its recycled water into the ground and a definite possibility exists that some of that recycled water may have already snaked its way through underground crevices into aquifers currently in use.
If the first phase of the water recycling project works as planned once brought online, two more water projects may go online in the next few years, as well.
Would we support the use of recycled water for drinking?
We said it before and we will say it, again: Given the option of drinking non-recycled versus recycled water we will always choose non-recycled… BUT we also know the day fast approaches when the option of non-recycled water may no longer exist — because humans have all but ruined the planet’s supply of fresh, potable water.
So, we tip our hats to the hardworking folks in Perth who engineered and executed this test of current water filtering and water recycling technology — because when the day comes for us all to take our first sips of recycled water at least we now know the technology exists to make the water ‘safe’ for consumption by accepted drinking water standards.
Water testing close to home…
As many of you know, we STRONGLY believe in home water testing and especially so for folks that draw their water from a private water well.
- City/Municipal/Tap Water Customers: Granted the water from your faucet tested fine at the point when it left the water plant, but one never can tell when a water quality issue may develop at a point between the water plant and your faucet.
- Well Water Users: No one tests your water at any point and environmental factors like heavy rainfall, lack of rainfall, and environment pollution by industry, agriculture or a faulty septic system all can change the quality and safety of your water without warning.
“It’s your water, your life… and ultimately, your HEALTH!”