Taking the Plunge

by Tom Richardson, P.E., Vice President of Reclamation, Reuse Practice Leader; Montgomery Watson, San Diego, CA,
Rhodes Trussell, P.E., Sr. Vice President, Dir. of Corporate Development; Montgomery Watson, San Diego, CA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1997, Vol. 67, Issue 9, Pg. 42-45

Document Type: Feature article


Treatment technologies in the last few years have advanced to the point where the wastewater can now be considered a source of drinking water. Membrane technology, advances in filtration and ozone disinfection are among the key technological factors enabling engineers to bring wastewater up to drinking water standards. For water-short communities such as Tampa, Fla., and San Diego, these advances couldn't have come at a better time. But although the technology is there, municipalities looking to use wastewater as drinking water face two obstacles: the proper infrastructures to do so and proper methods by which to educate the public. The city of San Diego is currently reorganizing its treatment facilities for such conversion and is also putting serious efforts into educating the public about the benefits of the new system. The transition has been smooth thus far, and indicates that Americans may be more receptive to drinking purified wastewater than many agencies and municipalities estimate.

Subject Headings: Municipal wastewater | Drinking water | Wastewater treatment | Municipal water | High-rise buildings | Membranes | Filtration | Ozone | United States | California | Tampa | Florida

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