Environmental Protection

From Sewage to Tap Water

The whole theory behind flushing a toilet is so you will never have to see where its contents go ever again. But, what if everything you flushed popped up, again – in your drinking glass. Unfortunately, this will soon be the case in Big Spring, Texas.

As the Lone Star State suffers through one of the worst droughts in the state’s history, vital resources (like water) are running low. While the whole idea of drinking reclaimed water does have a bit of an ick factor to it – the alternative in West Texas is no water.  Reclaimed water is used for everyday landscaping and irrigation throughout parts of the nation and internationally, but I have yet to come across a publication that says it’s safe to drink. If you spot any, please send them my way!

This is probably why the construction on a $13 million reclamation plant in West Texas is so revolutionary – they are attempting something that is unheard of.

Just last month, a Portland, Ore., reservoir was drained because a man peed in it. The thought of drinking water from a reservoir containing .00000000078125 percent of one man’s urine made residents squeamish. I guess Oregon isn’t experiencing an extreme drought or loss of resources since the state can afford to dump eight million gallons of water because of a one man’s urine. I’m sure the residents in West Texas would prefer Oregon’s urinated water as opposed to reclaimed sewage.

Apparently, NASA astronauts have been drinking recycled water in space since 2009, according The New York Times. Hopefully, the technology in West Texas is as advanced as NASA’s to eliminate any traces of bacteria for residents’ sake. The Colorado River Municipal Water District plant ensures that the water will be safe for drinking.

Drinking reclaimed water does not sound ideal, but this part of the state has been suffering even before the boiling summer months. Now with the added extreme heat and daily triple digit temperatures, it’s understandably a last and necessary resort – it may even start a water conservation trend in other states.

And, some residents in Big Spring, Texas, are open to it.

"Any water is good water, as far as I'm concerned," said Gary Fuqua, city manager in Big Spring, Texas, told The New York Times. I think Mr. Fuqua has the right attitude. If you had to choose between no water and reclaimed water, what would you choose?

Posted by Christina Miralla on Aug 12, 2011 at 12:43 PM


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