Monday, July 14, 2008

I think the dogs knew all along…..

Category: Issue 11

June 30, 2008 | By Dave In Conservation |

Another 10 years of drought conditions in Los Angeles has brought back the very good but very unwelcome idea of recycling wastewater into drinking. It’s been given the unpleasant name “toilet to tap” by mainstream media. A term that certainly hasn’t helped the public embrace this idea. Most people that are against it fall into 3 categories. One being the ones that simply think it’s gross as if the city is just gonna pump poop and pee right into our sinks. The second being the ones that understand it but don’t trust science and the third being the ones that trust it, understand it but don’t want to be the ones that have to drink it.

This is an interesting phenomenon to me. A public project that makes all the sense in the world that is only in question because of public opposition that largely has come about from media and newspaper articles. This is the ideas second chance at life. Just months after Orange counties own water recycling facility went live LA brought back the ex lover from a decade ago. This was a good idea then too. There was so much public outcry against it that the whole thing was scrapped. That’s when it got the unhelpful moniker “Toilet to Tap”. I am not sure which journalistic asshole came up with that but I am sure he thinks he is an absolute genius. Yes sir, thank you for setting us back 10 years.

The science of recycling wastewater has improved since the last time it was being considered. The water would go to a main treatment plant where it passes through several filters which remove any solids through micro filtration. Then, the water passes through a second series of filters through reverse osmosis sucking the water back and forth through the filters. The holes on these filters are less than 1/300 of a human hair. Small enough to remove bacteria, pesticides and other pharmaceuticals. It is then exposed to ultraviolet light and hydrogen peroxide is added to break down and disinfect any remaining compounds. The water than gets pumped into an underground aquifer where it will sit for several years and mix with groundwater before it is pumped back into homes. The end result is more pure than our tap water is right now.

So what’s the problem?

We are. The DWP estimates that to get a plant built in LA they are going to have to launch a massive PR effort to educate people on the whole process. Guess who pays for that? We do. 2018 is the expected date for the plant to be ready to go. 2018. 10 years. 1 plant. WTF. I understand it’s a big project. But I just don’t understand why our government takes so damn long to do anything helpful whatsoever. I guarantee that if some wealthy private investor wanted a water recycling plant built, it would be done in a month. We have already wasted 10 years of water. Water that could have stayed in the rivers and lakes we stole it from. Water that could have saved lives, created life and maybe even made it all the way down to Mexico. We don’t have another 10 years to waste.

We are dumb enough to live out here so we have to evolve or die. I have a few ideas for those that don’t support the plan. The first part of that idea is move out of LA. We don’t really like you anyway. That would go a long way right there in conserving water. Another plan I think would be to build the plant, treat the water and record the names and addresses of those that were opposed. When drinking supply is low, they get rationed first because god forbid we pump toilet water into their homes. When regular drinking water runs out, they get none. Oooh….talk about your draconian ideology. They love to throw out that word, “draconian” when they talk about environmentalists asking for conservation methods and water rationing. So, we can get “Draconian” on their asses.

I have a really big problem with the DWP wasting time and money (my time and money) on a public education plan. If the media would do some honest work for a change it wouldn’t be necessary. If people would do some reading of their own it wouldn’t be necessary. And why is it when our government says we have to go to war because they have nukes and they will use them on us we roll over and believe them but when our government has an idea for something helpful and positive all of a sudden they can’t be trusted. Of course they can’t be trusted!!!! That’s why we read and learn for ourselves.

DWP, I’ll help.

Ok, southern Californians. Here is the scoop. The news, the real news, the truth about “Toilet to Tap.” It’s safe. It’s absolutely as necessary as ever right now. It will help the economy by creating jobs. It will help the economy by providing more water for agriculture. It will help ease the transportation costs of bringing in water from far away into Los Angeles. It will save lives someday in the future. It will save entire ecosystems from drying out completely. And if all that is not enough, your wealthy neighbors to the south are totally doing it and they are talking about how “in the past” we are up here and we don’t want them to think they are better than us do we? One more thing, if you are still not liking it, even after all that, please do 1 of these 2 things. Move out of LA, or kill yourself.

Seriously though. If you are reading this, (and if you read that sentence you must be) your probably one of the people that actually try to educate themselves. Please do LA a favor and send it to people that you know don’t. The single biggest stumbling block for progress is the uneducated and the unwilling. This is a good idea for a change. Lets not block it with ignorance.

Pass it on.

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Old Comments

  • I always liked higher prices as a means to promote conservation.  How much would water have to cost for Recycled Water to pay for itself in, say 30 years?  If we slowly move the price of water in that direction (as any private company would do if its supply of a natural resource was dwindling), I bet that private companies would start producing water from all kinds of unconventional sources.

    Alas, the disrespect for our neighbors to the south (or ignorance of their water plight, perhaps) has been institutionalized into our reliance on government to provide us with water.  As the author has pointed out previously, the cost of the Mulholland plan is great.  Unfortunately, it has been spread over so many people that none of us feel enough pain to dismantle it.  The few being enriched by their connections to government are also quite adept at maintaining the dispersion of pain.  It’s a microcosm of government programs in general.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/11  at  11:24 AM
  • “...Another plan I think would be to build the plant, treat the water and record the names and addresses of those that were opposed.  When drinking supply is low, they get rationed first because god forbid we pump toilet water into their homes….”

    Ha ha ha!  I’d just like to register myself, just in case, as one of the UNopposed ones?  Thanks!

    Nice diatribe.

    Posted by julianyway  on  10/19  at  02:33 AM
  • I think would be to build the plant, treat the water and record the names and addresses of those that were opposed. When drinking supply is low. By the way your thought is also admirable.

    Posted by sarahlaura  on  10/25  at  08:30 AM
  • what? Didn’t I just say that?

    Posted by julianyway  on  10/30  at  09:28 AM
  • Does the new ideas appropriate for building the plant, treat the water? If that sound possible, how it is effective for the recycling waste water into drinking?

    Posted by nottingham  on  10/31  at  07:56 AM
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