The respected Scientific American, the oldest continuously published magazine in the U.S., praised San Diego’s “toilet-to-tap” pilot project in a lengthy article in the July edition.
The article, headlined “Drinking from the Toilet,” notes that treating sewage to make it drinkable “could be the safest, most environmentally sound source of tap water yet—if we can get over the yuck factor.
“The city has an opportunity to lead the world in a major rethinking of how we see — and use — wastewater,” the magazine said.
San Diego’s Water Purification Demonstration Project evaluated the feasibility of blending purified water with water from the Colorado River in the San Vicente Reservoir before going to a standard drinking water treatment plant.
The city says the project verified the water purification process consistently produces water that meets all state and federal drinking water standards. The purified water is similar in quality to distilled water.
Scientific American said the water recycled from sewage is actually more pure than tap water, which can pick up filth from animals in a reservoir.
The city estimates that use of water purification technology could account for up to one third of San Diego’s future water supply. An initial 15-million gallon per day purification facility is planned to be in operation by 2023.
The City offers free tours of the demonstration Advanced Water Purification Facility in the University Town Center area.