Voice of San Diego just published two essays by seniors at Patrick Henry High School. All Water is Wastewater by Kathryn Mogk points out that:
“The truth is that all water is wastewater. The earth is one large closed system which nothing can escape or enter; everything made of matter that we deal with is recycled. Physicists estimate that in every breath we take there is at least one molecule of air that was also in Julius Caesar’s last breath. If the air in our lungs has been breathed many times before, then, as little as we like to think about it, the water that we drink has also been drunk many times before it reaches us.”
Toilet to Top of the Line Purification System to Tap by Taylor Winchell discusses the justification for and viability of an indirect potable reuse system in San Diego:
“The fact of the matter is that no matter the source from which the water comes, it is all purified under the same quality standards and it is all equally safe to drink. Not only is the indirect potable reuse system safe, but it would also be economically cheaper and more environmentally friendly than a desalination option.
What is preventing San Diego from adopting this indirect potable reuse system appears to be the social repercussions associated with drinking purified wastewater. With declining amounts of water coming from vital import sources, however, the time is now for San Diego to get serious about local freshwater sustainability.”
These two essays are finalists in the 2010 voiceofsandiego.org essay contest.