MORGONN MCMICHAEL: Los Angeles moves to recycle sewage water for drinking water in latest environmental initiative

If you live in Los Angeles, California, and drink tap water — you might want to think again.

In December, the California State Water Resource Control Board (SWRCB) moved to implement a new system that will recycle up to 60% of LA’s sewage water, a process now being referred to as, “toilet to tap.”

The sewage water will be directed to a facility and then treated and piped back into Los Angeles homes after meeting purity standards evaluated by the city.

When proposing the regulations in 2023, the SWRCB claimed that the initiative would “allow for water systems to add wastewater that has been treated to levels meeting or exceeding all drinking water standards to their potable supplies. The process, known as direct potable reuse, will enable systems to generate a climate-resilient water source while reducing the amount of wastewater they release to rivers and the ocean.” The “immediate, multi-barrier treatment” can reportedly “recycle wastewater to drinking water standards in a matter of hours.”

Plans to recycle water have been in the works for more than a decade, and though the new regulations have been approved by the state department, there is no current requirement for municipalities to take part in direct potable reuse.

The A.K. Warren Water Resource Facility, one of the largest wastewater processing plants in Los Angeles County, will reportedly filter out 30 million gallons of water a day once the facility can operate at full capacity, which it is expected to do by 2028-2030.

Daniel McCurry, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at USC told the LAist, “I would have no hesitation drinking the first glass out of the first potable reuse facility in California,” adding, “I think it’s going to be cleaner than most bottled water you could find.” The outlet claims that California droughts have been getting “worse each year as a result of higher temperatures and extreme drought conditions exacerbated by the climate crisis.”

This piece first appeared at TPUSA.

Image: Title: tap water