About 2 out of 10 people worldwide don’t have access to safe drinking water, and in the U.S. alone, numerous droughts and shortages are occurring. In an attempt to contradict the scarcity, alternative water sources are being tapped to fill the gap, such as seawater. In some cases, even wastewater is being considered.
Is that even possible? For those in doubt, simply ask Singapore’s Public Utilities Board (PUB) about their wastewater reclamation facilities. So far, the plants are doing an excellent job using reverse osmosis (RO) membranes, which have been shown to significantly reduce the amount of dissolved solids, heavy metals, organic pollutants and even viruses in wastewater samples.
Questioning the possibility of converting wastewater into drinking water is actually irrelevant now, mainly due to the prevalence of operational treatment plants all over the world. In the U.S. alone, a lot of people are already drinking recycled water. California, for instance, has been at it since cities like San Diego have put their best foot forward in support of wastewater reclamation.
It’s quite easy to feel squeamish when you know that water from the tap was sewage only several moments ago, but there’s no cause for panic. All purification processes, including reverse osmosis, are designed to specifically meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards. Such a move is integral since demand for high-quality water in urban areas is steadily growing, and it’s only a matter of time before the “accepted” sources of potable drinking water are used up.