Would you drink sewer water?
Probably not, but soon millions of people in Southern California, and possibly other places, will be drinking purified sewer water.
In many places in the world, water is scarce, so recycling water from sewage makes a lot of sense. The California Department of Public Health recently gave the go-ahead for the Advanced Water Purification Facility, which is the largest of its kind in the world. Once it's fully operational it will produce around seventy-million gallons of drinking water every day.
How do they make sewer water safe to drink?
A process called reverse osmosis removes virtually all impurities like bacteria, viruses and drugs. Then hydrogen peroxide and ultraviolet light are used to destroy anything that might have survived. Finally, the purified water is pumped into settling ponds where it will sink into a deep aquifer and mix with other water used for drinking and bathing.