Report: wastewater-to-tap safer than other water sources

Study shows treated wastewater safe to drink

SAN DIEGO - When it comes to the prospect of turning wastewater into drinking water, a new report from the non-partisan research group Equinox Center shows it could be safer than most would think.

"Purified, recycled water is safer to drink than what we are drinking today," said Aaron Contorer of the Equinox Center. "A significant portion of our water today is extracted from wastewater upstream."

The Equinox Center's report reveals a map of some 350 sewage plants that discharge wastewater into the waterways the country draws its water from before it is treated locally.

Essentially, the report shows everyone routinely drinks recycled wastewater.

Las Vegas already recycles its wastewater to drink, and that drinking water also ends up in the San Diego water supply.

"All the tests have shown purified, recycled water is safe and clean," said Contorer. "According to our research, it's safer, cleaner, more reliable and uses less energy than other water sources."

The Equinox Center's report comes days ahead of a critical vote, when the San Diego City Council will vote on a construction contract for an $11.8 million wastewater recycling pilot project.

It is a first step that could lead to recycled water in San Diego faucets if it is deemed successful.

Other areas that have wastewater-to-tap programs included Long Beach, Orange County, Reno and the country of Singapore.

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