LA pushes forward on plan to recycle waste water

While the State of California plays with the idea of restricting growth based on adequate water access, Los Angeles continues to move forward on its plan to recycle waste water.  Los Angeles is modeling its plan on a similar project already in use in Orange County.  The Los Angeles Times describes the OC plan as: 

“There, officials use multistage, state-of-the-art reverse osmosis, microfiltration and ultraviolet light exposure with hydrogen peroxide to take sewage effluent to near-distilled water quality. The water is then pumped to spreading grounds, where it filters through purifying substrata to mix with underground supplies serving 2.3 million residents across the county.”

An interesting graphic representing the Los Angeles plan can be found here.

The big question to us seems to be: is Los Angeles taking a responsible step towards the continued health and sustainability of our society, or is it inadvertently exposing the population to a process that is unproven and potentially dangerous? 

While current studies have shown that the process of recycling waste water removes known pollutants and dangers, we wonder about the potential for chemicals that are only recently being found to be present and dangerous in drinking water, such as pharmaceuticals and antibiotics, as well as other unknown dangers that may come to light in the future.  Intuitively, it seems a little scary to think that we (and generations to come) will be drinking the same reused water that has been looped multiple times throughout the system, although scientifically, no heightened risks have yet been identified.  Nonetheless, for something so integral to human health as drinking water, it seems we should be very sure about what we are doing before implementing such a plan.

Photo credit.

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