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California officials want to turn toilet water into drinking water
Copyright ) 2000 Nando Media
Copyright ) 2000 Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (April 17, 2000 8:45 a.m. EDT http://www.nandotimes.com) - California officials want to make a splash by taking recycling to the next step - turning toilet water into drinking water.
Officials insist their "toilet-to-tap" program is a feasible, safe solution to California's water shortage problem. A few residents think the idea is revolting.
The three-year pilot program could begin as early as today in the San Fernando Valley, although the reclaimed water won't actually reach faucets for five years, The Daily News of Los Angeles reported Sunday. If successful, the program would mark the first time in California that toilet water would be used for drinking.
The water would undergo a five-year purification process, closely monitored to ensure it's safe to drink, officials say. It then would be combined with normal groundwater so that only 20 percent or less of what reaches the tap will have come from toilets.
Still, the $55 million project makes some people queasy.
"This is human waste," said Lori Dinkin, president of the Valley Village Homeowners Association. "I'm very uneasy about that."
The East Valley Water Reclamation Project calls for 3.2 billion gallons of wastewater to be sent each year to the Hansen Dam spreading grounds. If the system works, it will be expanded to 11.4 billion gallons a year, enough to supply about 70,000 families.
The wastewater would be filtered naturally as it seeps through the ground. After further preparation, it would be sent to homes in the North Hollywood area, Studio City, Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks and Pacoima.
Environmentalists say the project will make Southern California less dependent on imported water and lead to less destruction of wildlife habitats.
"The water that we drink every day has been around for millions of years and circulated through who knows what - dinosaurs, black bears and panthers," said David Czamanske of the Sierra Club. "The water becomes purified through natural processes or it can be purified through reclamation processes."
-- Carl Jenkins (Somewherepress@aol.com), April 17, 2000