From flush to faucet: More places look to turn sewage into tap water

Dec 12, 2023


FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. — After an Orange County resident flushes her toilet, the water flows through the Southern California community’s sewer system, meanders its way to the sanitation plant, has its solids removed, is piped to a wastewater recycling facility next door and undergoes three different purification processes until it is clean enough to drink.

“It tastes like water,” said Mehul Patel, executive director of operations for the Orange County Water District’s project, after taking a gulp from a clear plastic cup at the sampling station, as he stood outside the final purification process facility on a warm afternoon earlier this month.

“It’s just like any other water, but it’s gone through a lot,” he said. “People shouldn’t judge where it came from, but where it is now.”

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