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Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the says-something-about-the-west-texas-average dept.

Technology 242

Scientific American reports that Wichita Falls, Texas has taken an unusual step, precipitated by the years-long drought that Texas has faced: it's using treated sewage for drinking water. From the article: To launch what it calls its "Direct Potable Reuse Project," the city pipes water 12 miles from its wastewater treatment plant to this treatment facility where it goes through microfiltration. A pump pulls water through a module filled with fibers that removes most of the impurities. Then it is forced through a semi-permeable membrane that can remove dissolved salts and other contaminants. The process, called reverse osmosis, is used by the U.S. military, in ships and in the manufacture of silicon chips. The water then gets blended with lake water before going through the regular water treatment system. ... At 60 cents per 1,000 gallons, it's far cheaper than any other source of water, [Wichita Falls' public works director Russell] Schreiber said. ... He said there have been few complaints so far. A glass of the finished product, sampled at a downtown restaurant, tasted about average for West Texas.

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Ewww... (0)

countach74 (2484150) | about 3 months ago | (#47438787)

Instead of eat shit, drink shit?

Re:Ewww... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47438807)

Tex-Ass Water

Re:Ewww... (5, Funny)

itzly (3699663) | about 3 months ago | (#47438809)

No, they filter the shit out. The water doesn't remember shit.

Re:Ewww... (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47438885)

I just know there's a homeopathy joke in there somewhere...

Re:Ewww... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47439033)

I just know there's a homeopathy joke in there somewhere...

Yeah, a crappy one.

Re:Ewww... (5, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 3 months ago | (#47439069)

A homeopath might tell you so, but there isn't really.

Re:Ewww... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47438905)

believers in homeopathy must love living there...

Re:Ewww... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47438977)

Don't know about memory but reverse osmosis water certainly does contain some of the pharmaceuticals you crapped out. To completely remove them is prohibitively expensive per gallon, and I'd be willing to wager they aren't doing that in Texas.

On the bright side, it should save on the cost of your prescription meds if you just can drink them in your water....

The US, and particularly Texas, is an amazingly dumb place. If Texas hadn't squandered all of it's water over the last hundred years to tycoon zillionaires it wouldn't be in as extreme of a pinch. And if federal policies didn't let corporations glut on, and then crap out, our natural resources without any regard for public good... Then maybe the fumes whouldn't have killed off so many brain-cells and people would be better armed to think straight.

Privatize profit, socialize loss. Start investing in bottled water dummies, access to clean, healthy and good tasting water has been privatized. Destroying municipal suplies was step one, just ask Nestle.

Re:Ewww... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47439147)

Don't know about memory but reverse osmosis water certainly does contain some of the pharmaceuticals you crapped out.

You mean the stuff that is also found in rivers, lakes, and other sources of drinking water... but at leaves of parts per trillion or parts per quadrillion? It seems like every improvement to mass spec and chromatography work by chemists is shortly followed by "Look how much stuff is in our water!" news when they can measure even more insignificant traces of stuff.

Re:Ewww... (5, Informative)

Khyber (864651) | about 3 months ago | (#47439151)

"Don't know about memory but reverse osmosis water certainly does contain some of the pharmaceuticals you crapped out."

Uh, considering the membrane has pores small enough to remove a sodium ion, and pretty much every pharmaceutical made is much larger than a single sodium ion, good luck getting through the filter.

Re:Ewww... (-1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 3 months ago | (#47439345)

The idea of water memory comes from the fact that water molecules form long chains. The chains depend on dissolved materials, means they look different.
However putting them through an reverse osmosis filter breaks those up, hence no memory effect.

Re:Ewww... (5, Insightful)

Stoutlimb (143245) | about 3 months ago | (#47439609)

False. Water memory, a form of homeopathy, has been around since 1796, long pre-dating understanding of molecules. The idea of water memory comes from people who start with a conclusion, and grab random scientific jargon to supply "evidence". It's like science, but backwards and nonsensical. The specific "facts" people use to sell their fake cureall potions change over the years depending on what scientific buzzwords are popular at the time.

Re:Ewww... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 3 months ago | (#47439619)

The idea of water memory comes from the fact that water molecules form long chains.

Im pretty sure the water molecule is 3 atoms "long", and it doesnt form anything unless its chilled to 0C @ 1atm.

Re:Ewww... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47439681)

The idea of water memory comes from the fact that water molecules form long chains.

Im pretty sure the water molecule is 3 atoms "long", and it doesnt form anything unless its chilled to 0C @ 1atm.

Water is a very polar molecule, the electrons are not shared equally by the hydrogen atoms and the oxygen. This leads to tighter packing of water in the liquid form than in the solid. There are a lot of interesting traits of water due to the hydrogen bonding.

Re:Ewww... (1)

aquabat (724032) | about 3 months ago | (#47439819)

The first thing I thought of when he said "water memory" was this [youtube.com] .

Re:Ewww... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47439765)

Simulation models suggest recycling is one of the most effective ways to increase available ground water in long term. Pharmaceuticals can be filtered with the help of bacteria mesh at a bottom of a reservoir used to do sand based filtering. Implementing that to everywhere might be problem, however.

Re:Ewww... (2)

mrbester (200927) | about 3 months ago | (#47439363)

Except they mix it with lake water *after* filtering it, so you've got different shit in it now.

Re:Ewww... (1)

jez9999 (618189) | about 3 months ago | (#47438847)

It's a well-known survival trick [youtube.com] actually, see?

Re:Ewww... (1)

itsenrique (846636) | about 3 months ago | (#47439003)

That guy is such a sensationalist I can't even Bear (oops) to watch his show.

Moby Dick ain't got no Porta Potty (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47439031)

Because all the fish, crustaceans, sea mammals and every damn thing else in the oceans, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs of the world climb out to take a leak or a dump.

Start thinking. You've been drinking recycled shit and piss since the day you were born.

Re:Ewww... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47439293)

Instead of eat shit, drink shit?

Well, it's Texas, after all.

And it seems their prayers for rain aren't being rewarded.

Re:Ewww... (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#47439335)

Ever taste a Loanstar? They're used to it.

Re:Ewww... (2)

Psykechan (255694) | about 3 months ago | (#47439513)

This process is called "toilet to tap" and is perfectly safe. I would guess that any first world location that doesn't have easy access to ground water will be completely doing this in the next twenty years; it's that damn useful.

Probably the worst part about reverse osmosis is that it eliminates the water "taste" that people are used to because it gets rid of minerals as well. That's why they usually mix it with some other source like lake or ground water before it gets piped out to homes. Unfortunately the secondary source also adds in the usual pollutants as well as minerals.

For people who get the "ew yuck" factor, there's always bottled water, but just don't tell them that it comes from the same source.

Re:Ewww... (1)

Smokey Behr (2940937) | about 3 months ago | (#47439559)

Even bottled water has "minerals added for flavor", something that's on every brand of "drinking water". The only bottled water you won't find with added minerals is "distilled water" or "deionized water" that is used for clothing steamers and car batteries (the old-school lead-acid type), or anywhere else you don't want the minerals.

"Tastes about average for West Texas" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47438803)

In other words, it still tastes like crap, literally.

Re:"Tastes about average for West Texas" (0)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 3 months ago | (#47438891)

Probably still tastes better than Florida's water.

Re:"Tastes about average for West Texas" (2)

itsenrique (846636) | about 3 months ago | (#47438971)

You may be surprised sir. Florida native here, Tampa / St. Pete born and raised. I had the good fortune to be able to do the beginning section of the PCT (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_crest_trail). I tasted the water in San Diego, Escondido, Ramona, and many MUCH MUCH more rural spots. The water is awful and sometimes tastes like odd chemicals or minerals when it's from wells fairly consistently. Municipal water is better but not better than FL water. It's generally well known by the locals that the water out west in rural areas in terrible. Florida well water is not the best, but its great by comparison to some of the nasty water I was drinking on the trail in the desert. "Hey, its keeping me alive", I'd think as a strange tingle and off taste lingered on my palate after drinking from a concrete bowl designed for horse consumption only. Water is quite scarce in the border region I was in. I've had NYC tap through clean pipes and it was the best I've had so far. Florida's aquifers will still be kicking when it starts to *really* dry up out west too.

Re:"Tastes about average for West Texas" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47439181)

You may be surprised sir. Florida native here, Tampa / St. Pete born and raised. I had the good fortune to be able to do the beginning section of the PCT (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_crest_trail). I tasted the water in San Diego, Escondido, Ramona, and many MUCH MUCH more rural spots. The water is awful and sometimes tastes like odd chemicals or minerals when it's from wells fairly consistently. Municipal water is better but not better than FL water. It's generally well known by the locals that the water out west in rural areas in terrible. Florida well water is not the best, but its great by comparison to some of the nasty water I was drinking on the trail in the desert. "Hey, its keeping me alive", I'd think as a strange tingle and off taste lingered on my palate after drinking from a concrete bowl designed for horse consumption only. Water is quite scarce in the border region I was in. I've had NYC tap through clean pipes and it was the best I've had so far. Florida's aquifers will still be kicking when it starts to *really* dry up out west too.

Yep, a lot of Florida well water is full of sulfur, iron, and golf course/orange grove fertilizer.

But Tampa gets water from the Hillsborough River, where upstream at Zephyrhills there's a Perrier plant bottling it.

Re:"Tastes about average for West Texas" (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 3 months ago | (#47439391)

I've had NYC tap through clean pipes and it was the best I've had so far. Florida's aquifers will still be kicking when it starts to *really* dry up out west too.

Side note - NYC's water system is amazing. Piped in from upstate New York through huge underground tunnels, ending up deep under the city and piped back up. It is very clean, and is very tasty. I was going to post a link from youtube, but it turns out there are a lot of them on the NYC water system at the site.

because drinking water is so pristine (1, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about 3 months ago | (#47438813)

not like the wild animals and fish don't piss and shit into our water

who drinks straight from a lake or river?

Re:because drinking water is so pristine (4, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | about 3 months ago | (#47438837)

not like the wild animals and fish don't piss and shit into our water

The concern is not piss and shit --- it's synthetic chemicals, such as rubbing alcohol, medications, petrol/motor oil, ethylene glycol; pesticides, fertilizer, and materials containing heavy metals or other toxins, that folks sometimes flush down the drain.

Some of these chemicals may be non-particulant, solvate in water, and have similar physical properties that water has.

Re:because drinking water is so pristine (4, Informative)

fireduck (197000) | about 3 months ago | (#47438931)

Assuming the process is something akin to the Groundwater Replenishment System [gwrsystem.com] in Orange County, CA, those shouldn't be a major problem. I'm too lazy to look up the treatment plant in this story, but I'd guess that the article leaves out a few steps in the treatment process, including some sort of advanced oxidation process. At the GWRS in CA, that would be a hydrogen peroxide / UV step that oxidizes the crap out of anything that might make its way through the RO process -- which isn't much, except for possibly neutrally charged, small molecules. Further, it if it's a well run wastewater collection system, there should be source control measures in place to minimize a lot of nasty stuff, like heavy metals and toxins, as that throws off advanced wastewater treatment processes as well.

Re:because drinking water is so pristine (3)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 3 months ago | (#47439093)

Or just plain ol activated charcoal. My sailboat has an RO system with a charcoal canister that I replace twice a year. Bigger systems have more complex pre filters. I'm sure that the system in TFA is at least cleaner than any river water or shallow well system. Possibly not as pure as a deep artesian system but if it passes EPA criteria, it's going to be pretty clean.

Really Slashdot, RO systems are old hat. You can buy them on Ebay. Soon they'll be in breakfast cereal.

Re:because drinking water is so pristine (2)

creimer (824291) | about 3 months ago | (#47439123)

Soon they'll be in breakfast cereal.

A cereal RO system to remove antibiotics and steroids from cow milk? Oh, my.

Re:because drinking water is so pristine (1)

eliphalet (1222732) | about 3 months ago | (#47439395)

The other thing they do in Orange County is that instead of using the water directly, they pump the water upstream and inject it into the ground so it replenishes the aquifer.

Re:because drinking water is so pristine (3, Informative)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 3 months ago | (#47439189)

not like the wild animals and fish don't piss and shit into our water

The concern is not piss and shit --- it's synthetic chemicals, such as rubbing alcohol, medications, petrol/motor oil, ethylene glycol; pesticides, fertilizer, and materials containing heavy metals or other toxins, that folks sometimes flush down the drain.

Some of these chemicals may be non-particulant, solvate in water, and have similar physical properties that water has.

My local water company sends out an annual quality report and I'm pretty sure that the stats they report include information on levels of most of these. And we're getting ours mostly from a deep aquifer.

Re:because drinking water is so pristine (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 3 months ago | (#47439497)

My local water company sends out an annual quality report and I'm pretty sure that the stats they report include information on levels of most of these. And we're getting ours mostly from a deep aquifer.

What is the level of estrogen in your water?

Re:because drinking water is so pristine (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 3 months ago | (#47439483)

The concern is not piss and shit --- it's synthetic chemicals, such as rubbing alcohol, medications, petrol/motor oil, ethylene glycol; pesticides, fertilizer, and materials containing heavy metals or other toxins, that folks sometimes flush down the drain.

Medicines are a big part of that mix also. Especially estrogen and it's mimics. lot's of goodies in the water, some times from discarded pills, some teims from pissing. There is even some thought that this has been part of the issue of men "growing boobs" that's been going on for some years now. Between the Phytoestrogens we've been eating in larger and larger amounts, (soybeans, peas) and the Mimics in Bisphenol A plastics, and the estrogenated water we're drinking, men are growing their own set of hooters, and we might have trouble finding our willies soon.

Re:because drinking water is so pristine (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 3 months ago | (#47439689)

Giardia comes from animals, and is more dangerous than the things you "fear" that come in drinking water.

Re:because drinking water is so pristine (4, Insightful)

maeka (518272) | about 3 months ago | (#47438845)

not like the wild animals and fish don't piss and shit into our water

The wild animals don't tend to piss and shit birth control hormones and other still quite bioactive medications.

Re:because drinking water is so pristine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47439079)

Hormones? That must be why they have to drain the reservoir every time a teenage boy pisses in it. Or maybe cooties.

Re:because drinking water is so pristine (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 months ago | (#47439187)

The drugs are often exotic molecules we've cooked up for the purpose; but hormonal birth control exploits the same hormones that would naturally show up, since those are the ones that there are receptors for and that cause the desired changes. The quantity that a dense human population will put out is something quite different; but the chemistry won't be markedly different between humans and other placental mammals.

Re:because drinking water is so pristine (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47439369)

Really?

Allow me to introduce you to Premarin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P... [wikipedia.org]

Originally isolated from the urine of pregnant mares. What's that about wild animals not pissing and shitting hormones and other bioactives?!

Re:because drinking water is so pristine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47439027)

I drink from a lake, but not straight. This is Clear Lake in California. The bigger concern is chemicals used by pot growers getting into the water, and whatever some stupid bubba might decide to dump off his boat.

Re:because drinking water is so pristine (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#47439171)

Your water comes from Clear Lake? Ewwwww.

American river water here.

Re:because drinking water is so pristine (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 3 months ago | (#47439075)

pretty much everyone. Water that is treated is stored in reservoirs that are sent directly (with a little extra filtering and bleaching) to your tap.

Mineral water out a bottle is even worse.

but that said, this is the way its supposed to be. You don't want to live in a sterile bubble, you'd never be able to leave it if you did. A little bit of what you don't fancy does you good :-)

but though a reservoir is a lake, its not the same as the ones filled with untreated water - they're full of bad stuff, mostly produced by farming and other over-populated human practices.

Re:because drinking water is so pristine (1)

Smokey Behr (2940937) | about 3 months ago | (#47439565)

Bear Grylls?

Let it dry up. (-1)

Irate Engineer (2814313) | about 3 months ago | (#47438829)

I spent 6 months at Sheppard AFB. It sucked part of my soul away. The drought is God telling people that he wants them to be happy and to move away from Wichita Falls as soon as possible.

But some people are hard-headed and would rather drink their own recycled pee. It's against God, I tell you!

P.S. I hope they shut off the pump to the ridiculous koi pond that they quaintly call "The Falls" before the resorted to this.

Re:Let it dry up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47438983)

"The Falls" is still running.... they still water all the fucking little shrubs along the side of the road the motorcycle cops hide between....I hate it here....

Re:Let it dry up. (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#47439221)

Jesus titie fucking christ, move. Life is short. Don't spend anymore of it, then you have to, living in a shithole. I'm sure there are people who like the place, let them have it.

Re:Let it dry up. (1)

Irate Engineer (2814313) | about 3 months ago | (#47439317)

Moving can be difficult if you are in the service and have the misfortune to get stationed at Sheppard AFB (Wichita Fall's biggest employer, IIRC). Trust me, there are a lot of airmen there just dying to GTFO of Wichita Falls.

Re:Let it dry up. (1)

fnj (64210) | about 3 months ago | (#47439495)

Joining the service is you giving up your say about where you live. It's their own choice.

Re:Let it dry up. (1)

Irate Engineer (2814313) | about 3 months ago | (#47439661)

I don't believe many recruiters tout the "joys" of Wichita Falls and drinking somebody else's piss on recruiting posters.

People serve *in spite of* Wichita Falls, not because of it.

Happiness is... (1)

messymerry (2172422) | about 3 months ago | (#47439861)

...seeing Wichita Falls in your rearview mirror with an ice cold bottle of tap water from somewhere else...

There's an "ick factor" but... (3, Insightful)

Bugler412 (2610815) | about 3 months ago | (#47438835)

This really isn't much different than what nature would have ultimately done with the water right? Just accelerated mechanically. Not much different than what we would have to do for long duration space travel or colonization either.

Re:There's an "ick factor" but... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 3 months ago | (#47438973)

There is some towns in california already doing this since the 90s.

Maybe not exactly this way but they are treating their sewage for potable water

Re:There's an "ick factor" but... (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 3 months ago | (#47439261)

There are cities all along the mighty Mississippi who get the wastewater from cities upstream and turn it into potable water.

As long as the coliform bacteria levels are beneath measurement, you're good to go.

People sometimes forget how much chlorination has done to positively affect our longevity.

Lots of places don't have potable water (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 3 months ago | (#47439383)

I think the worry with these systems is that as the economy gets worse there's a temptation to stop running them correctly to save money. In the1800s kids drank booze because it was a good way to get safe water...

How is this new? (4, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 3 months ago | (#47438841)

Since you need to treat sewage before putting it in the ground, and ground water before putting it in the water supply, what is new about connecting those two points? Do people think the sewage magically stops being sewage once it leaves the system?

Re:How is this new? (4, Funny)

Irate Engineer (2814313) | about 3 months ago | (#47438859)

Do people think the sewage magically stops being sewage once it leaves the system?

Yes. Don't disturb the illusion!

Re:How is this new? (2)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 3 months ago | (#47438957)

This reminds me of Asimov's short story "Strikebreaker", where a person becomes untouchable by pressing the button for a remote-controlled waste treatment plant.

Re:How is this new? (2)

itzly (3699663) | about 3 months ago | (#47438867)

If you connect those two points, you're leaving out the part where the ground water gets filtered by the soil.

Re:How is this new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47439329)

If you connect those two points, you're leaving out the part where the ground water gets filtered by the soil.

If you think soil is better than reverse osmosis, I have a water filter to sell you.

Re:How is this new? (1)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | about 3 months ago | (#47438901)

Usually towns located at a river will pipe their (hopefully treated) sewage into that river.
Towns downstream will often get at least part of their drinking water from groundwater taken near the river (the river guarantees a steady groundwater level), treat it again, then use it.

This adds some cubics of soil as additional filter, but is basicly the same thing.

Really, unless the town is lucky to get first access to some mountain's stream, the drinking water will always be at least part 'treated sewage'.

Re:How is this new? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 3 months ago | (#47439095)

the mountain's stream is technically said sewage evaporated and rained on top of the mountain (or "sewage treated by nature"). Water molecules don't magic out of thin air.

Re:How is this new? (1)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | about 3 months ago | (#47439125)

I was assuming that we would at least stop at destilled water.
Applying the "sewage' attribute to pure water molecules would be superstitio, unless you assumed the sewage was somehow radioactive.

Re:How is this new? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#47439227)

Wildlife also pees and craps. Surface water is always 'contaminated'. UV helps sterilize it but the world is filthy.

Re:How is this new? (1)

mpe (36238) | about 3 months ago | (#47439695)

Applying the "sewage' attribute to pure water molecules would be superstitio

Or "homeopathy".

unless you assumed the sewage was somehow radioactive.

Unless it's been kept isolated for a few hundred years it probably will be slightly radioactive :)

I can see it now ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47438861)

Tastes great, less filling!

Bad news for you (1)

sphealey (2855) | about 3 months ago | (#47438887)

Some bad news: unless you live in Bemidji MN (or one of the towns on the watershed divides of the Rockies or Appalachians), you are already drinking treated sewage.

sPh

Re:Bad news for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47438991)

Come off it people, every piece of dirt you walk in, plant it, get dirty/dusty It all came out of somethings butthole at some point in time.

Thats it, Time turns it from poop to fertilizer to soil.

Re:Bad news for you (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#47439239)

Dust is the nasty one. It's 50%+ UV sterilized/powdered and blown away animal crap.

Not new, and not shocking. (2)

astro (20275) | about 3 months ago | (#47438893)

If anything it's shocking the process isn't used more. I know in my hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska, reverse-osmosis waste water filtering was used at least as early as the 1980s, perhaps even the 70s. I'm trying to find a reference for proof, but haven't come up with one in a couple of minutes of Googling.

The Wikipedia article on RO, by the way, is in pretty shabby shape if anyone gets a rise out of improving such things.

Re:Not new, and not shocking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47439049)

It's not really a shame, since reverse osmosis is rather energy intensive. It's possible that the alternatives are even more so, but it shouldn't be used if enough clean water is available and less stringently treated wastewater can seafely be disposed of otherwise.

Re:Not new, and not shocking. (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 3 months ago | (#47439097)

The newer membranes need quite a lot less pressure than early versions (which is where the energy requirement was). That and membrane longevity has improved considerably. As is typical with high tech stuff, the costs come down and the quality improves over time.

Re:Not new, and not shocking. (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 3 months ago | (#47439121)

as the summary says, 60c per 1000 gallons its more cost-effective to treat it this way than traditional ways. I guess that either means energy is very cheap there (solar perhaps?) or their traditional systems are very energy intensive too.

Re:Not new, and not shocking. (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 3 months ago | (#47439055)

Singapore experimented with it in the 1970's, but the news is that it is now possible to do it at competitive price point. This means that cities like Phoenix and Los Angeles will not have to be abandoned when their natural water supplies run out.

I imagine that if the technology can be miniaturized and made to work in lower than Earth gravity it could also be hugely important for human space flight and colonization of other bodies in the solar system.

Re:Not new, and not shocking. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 months ago | (#47439137)

There might be an RO system somewhere that uses gravity and an input reservoir at higher altitude than the output to supply some or all of the pressure; but I don't think that that is anything like the typical configuration. Cleaning up after a leak in zero gravity isn't going to be lots of fun; but everything else should work largely as planned.

Nothing new (1)

thexile (1058552) | about 3 months ago | (#47438903)

An extremely small country in Asia has been doing it for quite some already. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N... [wikipedia.org] .

on one hand... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47438985)

On one hand, this is well proven technology. On the other hand it's Texans doing it. Won't end well.

It's not like ... (0)

BlindRobin (768267) | about 3 months ago | (#47439017)

We didn't see this coming. The future is here and it's not 'The Jetsons'.

Re:go4t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47439811)

Somebody ban this dumbass

Attila the Hun's piss (0)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | about 3 months ago | (#47439041)

Every glass of water anyone drinks contains at least one molecule once pee'd out by Attila the Hun.

It's a scientific fact,unless it's not. But it sure helps to think this is true if you're drinking treated waste.

Re:Attila the Hun's piss (1)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | about 3 months ago | (#47439159)

Not necessarily any complete molecules. Water gets broken up and reassembled, by photosynthesis and other chemical processes (water breaks up spontaneously and rejoins, too.) But probably some of the atoms, yes.

--PM

Re:Attila the Hun's piss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47439173)

It's the essence [wikipedia.org] of Attlia's piss.

As falls Wichita ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47439089)

So falls Wichita Falls !

Things you did not really want to know about (1)

sdack (601542) | about 3 months ago | (#47439143)

It's the kind of water all nerds been waiting to drink: it's scientific, it's high-tech, it's innovative, and it will cure 90% of all nerds of their curiosity and openness to all modern things in life.

Seems fitting, being Texas is NASA's home (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47439175)

If treated waste water is good enough for astronauts, then why not eveyone?

About average for West Texas? (4, Funny)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | about 3 months ago | (#47439193)

A glass of the finished product, sampled at a downtown restaurant, tasted about average for West Texas.

So the water tastes like shit. Good to know.

Used on Ships? (0)

nukenerd (172703) | about 3 months ago | (#47439219)

FTFA :- "The process, called reverse osmosis, is used by the U.S. military, in ships and in the manufacture of silicon chips.

I was an engineer on a [war]ship and we made fresh water from sea water, seeing that there was plenty of it around. Darned sight easier than making it from shit and piss I should imagine, but admit we never tried it. Of course, recycling being in fashion, maybe someone is doing some posturing here.

Re:Used on Ships? (1)

fnj (64210) | about 3 months ago | (#47439531)

In that particular case, it helps that desalinating the required amount of water doesn't do any more than slightly jiggle the noise in the graph of your propulsion energy. That is not, in general, true.

Re:Used on Ships? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47439841)

Or maybe, you worthless retarded fuckpile of shit, your faggy fucking Navy ass was too far the fuck away from actually having to do something for once that you completely forgot about the tens of thousands stuck in the middle of a fucking desert.

Fucking dumbass.

mental note (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47439355)

When traveling in the vicinity of wichita falls, tx -- probably never -- remember to bring copious amounts of bottled water.

Not normally done, but no big deal (2)

Gibgezr (2025238) | about 3 months ago | (#47439385)

My wife has multiple certifications in water and wastewater treatment, and she claims that it is only impractical from a P.R. standpoint; in most places, people would raise bloody hell if you told them that they were drinking water straight from the wastewater treatment facility, but it really is no different than drinking water from a municipal watershed. As she puts it, we are all drinking dinosaur pee anyway :)

I'm a WFTX resident (5, Informative)

thehomeland-org (598119) | about 3 months ago | (#47439397)

I'm a resident of WF (and had to dig up a years-old account to login although I do read frequently but never comment much, so apologies for the cheap-shot url username).. The new water is supposedly on, but I can't tell a difference.

It's strange to me that there is all that much of a fuss with the locals, considering the fact that the process prior to this required treatment of said wastewater and greywater that was eventually let back out into the ordinary water table, became grimy with exposed air and otherwise ground contaminants, and was just filtered back to the city again through the lakes all over again anyway.

When suggested that there was no telling how many people had drowned in the lakes, how many cars had been run off the road into them and rusted over and still leaking gasoline and oil, and not to mention how many dead animals and super-toxic algae were present in the lake in the first place that we were "drinking" before this new filtered idea came about, they tend to clam up (perhaps from being grossed out by my description).

The city put out a lovely and sciencey YouTube video (which is now a year old), interviewing local chemists and otherwise credible local water experts who examined the setup and offered their input on it, here, for those interested in some of the more technical aspects. I've tried to link to it in most discussions I find online, but even still there are only 2790 views currently, out of a city of 100k+ pop, which is perhaps indicative of how terrible of a PR team our city does genuinely have. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MKrU1yi5Yc [youtube.com]

Possibly the biggest local water controversy aside from the "poo-water" issue is how our city operates a water park, of all things. Supposedly it creates more profit that investment and is using outside, trucked-in water that is filtered and recirculated within its own closed system, but that doesn't stop torrents of naysayers leaping at every opportunity to inject it as shitstorm material, instantly derailing any city-admin discussion.

Not major news (1)

sirwired (27582) | about 3 months ago | (#47439729)

In most of the country, treated sewage is simply piped into the nearest creek/river/lake, and then at least some of it gets pulled in by the intake for the next municipality down the line... the only real interesting bit here is the fact that it's getting piped directly into the freshwater plant instead of floating downstream first.

It's gotta be an improvement (1)

sabinelr (1061112) | about 3 months ago | (#47439843)

After tasting the water in Biloxi, New Orleans, Opelousas, Houston, etc, I am sure that the described process is an improvement. They should just leave out the lake water.

west TX water (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47439859)

I don't remember the taste of Wichita Falls water, but west TX water in general is horrible. It probably is better than the water they are mixing it with.

Its called "recycled water" (1)

voss (52565) | about 3 months ago | (#47439899)

If its purified to normal drinking water standards its fine.

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