The once taboo suggestion that wastewater could be recycled into tap water for consumption by the public is now being considered for legalization in the state of Arizona.
New legislation supporting the direct wastewater treatment process, that is sure to turn the stomachs of some, is expected to take effect as early as the end of this year – with the legalization of using the recycled water for “direct potable use” taking effect even sooner; in as little as six months, according to some experts.
While the practice of direct re-use of wastewater has remained illegal since 1982, Graf assures that the advancement of water treatment technology now allows wastewater to be successfully recycled for use as drinking water without the risk of illness.
In favor of the proposal, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality anticipates the approval of new guidelines and standards that will govern the quality and safety of the recycled water to be finalized later this year. ADEQ aren’t the only ones backing the new program, Tuscon water director Tim Thomure explains that the time for water reuse is now – that the practice is used worldwide, and that we should follow suit to conserve resources in climates that are especially in need of potable water.
Initially, less urban areas that are most in need of ways to re-coup water for potable needs will be considered areas of focus, but it is expected that more populated areas like Pheonix will follow suit should the need arise.
Despite the minimal presence of over 100 unregulated contaminants in the drinking water of Arizona residents, project supporters believe the direct treatment of wastewater to be safe. The level of treatment required to treat the wastewater will be infinitely more profound, but the end result is expected to be completely safe for consumption.
Claiming that direct treatment also conserves time and energy, the idea is becoming a thought of more and more environmentalists in the area. For now, most Arizona cities plan to continue exercising their right to use the Colorado and Salt River as their main source of water for the public, explaining that while the decision to directly treat wastewater may be a decade from reality, legislation shouldn’t prohibit the possibility when the need arises.
For the time being, water resulting from direct wastewater treatment is used on golf courses and in parks to sustain plant life or is pumped underground for recharge, but when the need arises for public consumption, a plan is in place.
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