Water is the life blood of the Earth and all living things and unfortunately, there is a currently a distinct shortage of water. Considering the ongoing droughts in Texas and in the Southwest we really need to look at alternative ways to conserve and reuse the water we currently have. Water Technology recently published an article on recycled wastewater and potable water reuse that we found fascinating and thought really addressed our existing water crisis needs.
The majority of our Earth is covered in water so it shouldn’t seem as though we would ever have to worry about a water shortage. The reality of the situation however is that of the 326 million trillion gallons of water in or on the earth, less than 1 percent (about 0.72 percent) of it is actually usable. Then there is the additional dilemma of water not being located in adequate amounts in some parts of the world, even though others have an overabundance of freshwater.
Some states have begun looking at the possible ways in which we can recycle our wastewater; Southern California in particular has been a leader for many years in this regard. While many states have completely overlooked the fact that wastewater is a fantastic source of essentially 100% reuse, there are others that have developed large scale projects looking at ways to convert wastewater into drinking water.
Currently, there are potable reuse technologies in the works that are more thorough than conventional treatments. Even though the process begins with wastewater, they are ultimately able to produce even higher quality drinking water than conventional treatment plants that begin with “clean” surface water. Utilizing multiple treatment configurations, they can essentially remove all microbial and chemical contaminants (including industrial and bio-chemicals) with exceptional effectiveness; conventional treatment plants are not capable of this type of water filtration.
Wastewater contains nitrogen, phosphorous nutrients and biosolids that can be used for agriculture as well as oils and grease that can be recycled as biofuels. Technology is currently available that can convert even the most contaminated water into safe high quality drinking water, however many consumers are still leery of drinking recycled wastewater. We agree – it is hard to overcome the perception and stigma of wastewater even though it is readily available and can be successfully converted into safe and reliable quality drinking water.
We believe it is essential to look at alternative ways to conserve, recycle and reuse our existing water supplies. Drinking water systems and water filters have seen some amazing advances these last few years and if we can overcome the perception of recycled water, it would go a long way toward solving the water crisis in the world.