One Of The Country’s Thirstiest Cities Now Has A Plan To Turn Waste Into Water

A fast-growing capital city in one of the driest regions of the country is turning to an innovative wastewater treatment process to serve consumers well into the future.

“In just a few years, water that’s flushed down toilets and drains in Phoenix may eventually flow through taps for people to drink,” ABC15 Arizona reported.

The city is working to reopen a reclamation plant that was shut down in 2009 thanks to the economic recession, with a recently approved $30 million budget to fix the facility, add reclamation technology, and prepare it to treat as much as eight million gallons of wastewater per day in a practice known as direct potable reuse (DPR).

While DPR seems like a no-brainer solution in Phoenix, as well as in the other places where it’s now being embraced, it has not always enjoyed enthusiastic reception from consumers. For a long time, the practice had been labeled “toilet to tap” and consumers have had a hard time grasping the fact that the resulting drinking water is as clean as any effluent that has been discharged into the environment first.

But now, the need for more available drinking water seems to be changing public perception of DPR.

“[Phoenix Water Services Assistant Director Nazario] Prieto doesn’t foresee a massive hurdle to get people on board with the technology,” according to AZCentral. “Most of the time, he said, people are surprised to learn Arizona isn’t already recycling wastewater for immediate reuse at scale.”

The rehabilitated plant will be part of larger plans that Phoenix has to expand wastewater recycling by 2030. It also plans to add new treatment technology to its largest facility, the 91st Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant, with hopes of treating 60 million gallons per day and providing DPR drinking water to 200,000 households. 

Rehabilitation of this initial reclamation plant will provide a test run of that technology before it’s deployed more widely for Phoenix.  

“When you live in the desert, and you have looming drought declarations on the Colorado River, we think it’s one of the other pieces to add to our diverse water resources portfolio,” Prieto told ABC15.

Leave a Reply


Recent Blogs