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Toilet water on tap?

toilet to tap water

San Diego hopes to recycle waste water

April 25, 1997
Web posted at: 6:46 p.m. EDT (2246 GMT)

From Correspondent Charles Feldman

SAN DIEGO (CNN) -- While San Diego is a city of many natural and man-made riches, water isn't one of them. The city imports 90 percent of its water from the Colorado River and the state water project. But engineers have flushed out a startling solution to the region's water woes.

movie icon (1MB/29 sec. QuickTime movie)

If all goes according to plan, by the year 2001, the city's sewage water will be treated and recycled right into the drinking tap.

fountain and toilet

"This project is the first of its kind in California," said Ken Weinberg of the San Diego Water Authority. "We are taking reclaimed water, which is essentially treated waste water, and bringing it back to the point where it is suitable for drinking."

The idea of turning waste water into drinking water may see repulsive to some, but experts say it's already being done elsewhere on a smaller scale.

And besides, they say, the water from the Colorado River -- the city's main supply -- already has to be treated to remove all types of pollution.

The method is being employed at a small test facility, where waste water is piped through a complex maze of equipment, including a membrane that removes the nasty stuff.


When the process is done for real on a large scale, the treated water will first get pumped into a reservoir for further refinement, because of health department concerns that the process may not be completely effective.


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