March 01, 2012

The Price of Reclaimed Water—Too Much to Stomach?

Karlene Martorana

A curious child swallows a penny—it happens more often than you would think. Parents, in their infinite (and perhaps unrefined) wisdom, advise: “Give it time, and you will see it again.” This wisdom, however, has a twenty-first century nuance. That penny might be worth more at its encore, as part of reclaimed water.

While the topic of reclaimed water (also called treated wastewater) frequently appears in publications and seminars, the coverage there often focuses on the direct reuse of reclaimed water for drinking water—the issue dubbed “toilet to tap.” Such discussions typically begin with the observation that potable water supplies are diminishing due to climate change and development. Purveyors of this discussion then address the issues of public perception and health concerns, broader issues relating to the criticality of future water supplies.

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