California leaders are considering a program to purify toilet water for drinking, an eleventh hour approach to combat the state’s long-running drought.
“It is the cleanest water we have in the state of California,” said Mike Markus, Orange County Water District general manager, to CBS News.
Both the governor and leading politicians say the “toilet-to-tap” program only needs to overcome its “gross” factor to take off. One treatment plant is already producing 70 million gallons of the purified water each day, and state leaders hope to expand that to 100 million gallons.
“We’re able to provide enough water for nearly 850,000 people a year,” Markus said. “We can produce the water for less than the cost of imported water and probably about half the cost of what it would take to desalinate seawater.”
Some say with a little education, the public would come around and support the plan.
“The term that has been coined, ‘from the toilet to the tap,’ is omitting the fact that there is a lot of treatment in between, so it gives the wrong perception,” said Yoram Cohen, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at UCLA, CBS News reported.