Turning City’s Sewage to Drinking Water: LA has a Lofty Goal

Turning City’s Sewage to Drinking Water: LA has a Lofty Goal

When you hear about this, you may not believe it. The city of Los Angeles has a new water project in mind that could cost $8 billion, take 16 years to complete and provide as much as one-third of the city’s supply.

City officials are looking at treated sewage that empties into the ocean from Los Angeles’ wastewater treatment plants and turning it into drinking water.

The mayor recently vowed that the city will be recycling all of its wastewater by 2035 and using it to reduce its need for imported supplies. Seems crazy, right?

Currently, recycling provides only two percent of the city’s water. If it’s up to the mayor’s office, that number could jump to as high as 35 percent if the city stops dumping its treated effluent into the ocean and instead uses it to replenish local groundwater reserves that help supply municipal customers.

All of this comes at a cost, though. There will need to be significant equipment upgrades that will be extremely costly and construction of a 15-mile pipeline among other items.

The plan will also require a change of heart by L.A. residents, who 18 years ago succeeded in killing a city project that would have used treated sewage to recharge the San Fernando Valley aquifer.

While the outcome doesn’t look promising for this lofty goal, city officials are optimistic. They say years of drought, declining imports and the high profile of a similar program in Orange County have softened resistance and they feel things are progressing in a positive manner.

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