COPY-Toilet-To-Tap Water Could Become A Reality For California

(FOX 11) Acknowledging California's worsening drought, several communities in the state have embraced an idea that tends to make consumers wince: turning toilet water into drinking water.

To some people taking toilet water, turning it into tap and ultimately drinking water is yucky! John Gasparyan, who drives a tow truck says, "That's dirty. That's nasty." Pierce College student Breana Stevens finds it all "kind of disgusting".

But, Denis Bilodeau with the Orange County Water District says, more and more water agencies, conservation groups and even the Governor seem to like the idea. In fact Bilodeau, who sits on the OCWD board as a director says, in the OC it's going so well it's expanding and the idea is spreading.

"In Los Angeles," he says, "there's a small plant they've constructed, but in Los Angeles and San Diego they are planning to build mega plants such as ours." And, OCWD's plant in Fountain Valley is huge. It covers 40 acres and provides one-third of the water in the county.

Bilodeau walks us through the process and, as he does, he says the OCWD and the OC Sanitation District have, since 2008, jointly been turning toilet water into tap. It starts with something called microfiltration. The water, says

The first step involves something called microfiltration. The huge filters look like enormous concrete jacuzzi tubs. As we look down Bilodeau says you can't drink it at this stage yet. It's not safe and "it looks like very dark ice tea." The water is agitated. It runs thru tiny plastic-like filaments. The sewage is back washed. Filtered out are the bad things they don't want in the water.

Then we go to a new section of the plant. Bilodeau says the expansion will dramatically increase the output of the plant. Each day 134 million gallons goes in, 100 million is turned into safe clean water and 34 million goes back into the ocean. 200,000 OC households benefit.

The last two parts of the process include reverse osmosis filtering and massive UV treatment lighting to "breaks up any remaining bacteria or viruses molecules."

This reporter tasted the water. It tasted like water. It was a tad flat because it has no minerals.

Meanwhile, at Tara's Cafe and Grill in Van Nuys waitress Maria Dmitrivea said she'd drink it if it is filtered. So did lunch customer Julie Henderson, but there was no convincing tow truck driver John Gasparyan that it was a good thing. He said, even filtered, he wouldn't drink it and if he ever found out if his water was recycled from sewage he "won't drink water anymore."




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