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California State Considers New Rules For Waste Water Recycling

joeshlabotnik / Flickr

joeshlabotnik / Flickr

California is moving forward with rules for how water districts can turn what goes down your toilet back into drinking water. State regulators are taking comments on a kind of water recycling where wastewater sits in a lake before being treated. Next up might be a way to skip the wait.

The state already has rules in place for groundwater recharge —where wastewater goes in an aquifer and later comes out for drinking water.
Randy Barnard heads the recycled-water unit for the State Water Resources Control Board. He says both aquifers and surface reservoirs act as "environmental buffers," killing pathogens and diluting chemicals. Barnard says they also just help folks feel less icky about reusing wastewater.

“Studies have shown that projects that go through an environmental buffer have more favorable buy-in from communities, because the environmental buffer acts as a psychological break for people," Barnard says. "They don’t associate the water coming from a municipal wastewater source after it’s gone through the environment."

Barnard says the state could soon turn its attention to an approach with no such environmental buffer. He says California will remain thirsty for new ways to get water — not just because of the drought, but because the state’s population is expected to grow by several millions in coming decades.

 water treatment

Daniel Potter


Daniel Potter started out as an intern at Nashville Public Radio, where he worked as a general assignment reporter for six years, covering everything from tornadoes to the statehouse.   Read Full Bio 

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