QUESTION 5 – Would you drink tap water whose original source was urban wastewater, purified and added back into groundwater aquifers?
In lecture, we discussed the Orange County Water District, south of Los Angeles County with growing populations and difficulties in supplying people with water. Their solution was to purify urban waste waters that otherwise would have been treated and discharged into the Pacific Ocean, recharge that water back into the aquifer. In the future, that water would be pumped out and used for drinking. Some opponents have referred to that source of water as “toilet-to-tap”.
The point of this question is to help shape your ideas on the issue. If Orange County is concerning, what about Columbus tap water? The attachment below shows the sources of Columbus tap water. Is there a component of treated wastewater already present in Columbus water sources? What do communities upstream of Columbus do with their wastewater? Examples of upstream communities that you might consider include Marysville, Delaware, and Marion.
I see no issue with drinking purified urban wastewater
Today, the city of Columbus received 85% of its freshwater supply from three reservoirs on the Scioto River, the Olentangy River, and Big Walnut Creek. The additional15% of the supply comes from four large Ranney Collector Wells located in Southern Franklin County. While this supply is sufficient for now, Columbus is the 25th fastest-growing metro in the nation with an overage population increase of 0.9% each year. This means that the finite water sources being used right now are not sustainable for the future.
One solution to the water shortage issue would be to follow the lead of Orange County, California, and begin to implement purification of urban wastewater. This process involves sending the water through several mechanical, chemical, and photoelectric purification methods to create potable water.
In class, we discussed this issue as we watched a video that showed a walk-through of the Orange County plant. One of the technicians made a great point that there is no longer any new water on our planet. Each source, to some degree, is recycled and needed to undergo purification methods. Most people don’t think of this when collecting from rivers and wells, but there is animal waste, dirt and debris, and non-point pollution that must be cleared out. The current methods we have are not sustainable for our environment nor our population. We must find adaptable ways to continue our water usage, and the first thing to adapt is our mindset.
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