‘The Orange County method for recycling sewer water is through an elaborate three-step process involving microfiltration, reverse osmosis, and ultraviolet light treatment. One of the key components is the reverse osmosis (RO). In the RO process, water is forced through a membrane with holes so small that pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and viruses— which have much larger molecules— are filtered out.

‘After the sewer water goes through the three-step process, it is safe to inject it into the groundwater basin, where it mixes with Orange County’s other water sources, including water from the Delta and the Colorado River. Then, the mixture goes through the drinking water treatment process (see pages 16– 17.) Surprisingly, the cleanest water going into that drinking water treatment plant is the recycled water. […] Consider the words of the utility manager from neighboring San Diego County, Maureen Stapleton: “Concerns about recycled water are ludicrous. Do people think that the water from the Delta or the Colorado hasn’t been used before? They’ve got to be kidding.” This assessment is right on the mark. Whether we realize it or not, for decades treated sewage has been discharged into lakes and rivers that supply our drinking water, including the Great Lakes, the Mississippi and the Colorado rivers, and many of those in Northern California.’


‘The recycling movement, often disparagingly called “toilet to tap,” has been greatly aided by the technologies developed over the past twenty years. […] The treatment method Singapore used, almost identical to that used by Orange County, includes the three-step process of microfiltration, reverse osmosis, and ultraviolet technologies.

‘Amazingly, Singapore’s water authorities found that the water produced at these first two [sewage water recycling] plants not only exceeded the quality of the potable water supplied by their water utility, the Public Utilities Board (PUB), but it also met the drinking water standards of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization. Based on this successful demonstration, the PUB has moved ahead rapidly to expand its capacity to turn wastewater into drinking water. The purified sewer water is called NEWater.

NEWater is higher quality than Singapore’s drinking water, so it is prized by high-tech industries— such as the semi-conductor industry— that require highly purified water.’


[M]ost people continue to believe that their tap water is drawn from “pristine” natural sources, such as high mountains, lakes, and reservoirs. In fact, most of our raw water is sourced from polluted lakes, rivers, and streams, and is only made potable through undergoing increasingly complex physical, biological, and chemical treatment processes’.

-Rogers, Peter; Leal, Susan (2010-08-17). Running Out of Water: The Looming Crisis and Solutions to Conserve Our Most Precious Resource (pp. 28, 35-36, 119-120). Macmillan. Kindle Edition.