Drinking recycled water has never been an environmentally friendly solution that many have looked upon with relish; where the water has been is almost always enough of a detractor for the majority of those surveyed.
Nevertheless, the Australian Government National Water Commission has funded a study conducted by researchers at Australia’s CSIRO Land and Water to determine whether recycled water can ever reach a point at which it is considered potable (i.e. suitable for drinking).
The researchers at the Parafield Aquifer Storage, Transfer and Recovery research project in South Australia harvested storm water from an urban environment, treated the water in a constructed wetland, stored it in an aquifer, and then recovered the treated water via a well.
Prior to treatment, the water harvested exceeded the Australian drinking water guidelines, with small amounts of fecal bacteria, elevated concentrations of iron, and other contaminants polluting the water. However, after undergoing the above treatment, the water collected had substantially lower levels of all hazards.
Additional treatment was needed to remove some hazards, but this goes a long way to showing that recycled water can, one day, be drinking water again.
“Overall, results from the assessment showed that the water produced via this process was of near potable quality,” says Declan Page of CSIRO Land and Water, “This is the first reported study of a managed aquifer recharge scheme to be assessed following the Australian guidelines for a managed aquifer recharge.”
Source: American Society of Agronomy
You can also read more about the recycled drinking water study on our sister site, Eat Drink Better.
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