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Publication: Living Green
Can we drink sewage?

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           LIVING GREEN - Friday, July 18, 2008

Good morning, 

Reclaimed water is used more widely in the United States 
than most people realize, especially in the in Southwestern 
United States. It is carried by separate distribution 
systems and is used for outdoor irrigation of single family 
homes (sprinkling), irrigation of edible crops, decorative 
pools or fountains, irrigation of golf courses, water for 
flushing toilets and industrial uses in factories and power 

But what is reclaimed water? Reclaimed water is treated 
sewage. That's right...what disappears when you flush the 

Is it feasible to drink treated sewage? Scroll down to find 
out more. 

Thanks for reading, 

Your Living Green editor 


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In the United States there are very strict laws about where 
and how reclaimed water is used. You can't wash clothes in 
reclaimed water or use it for sanitary purposes or even fill 
your pool with it. But in certain other places in the world 
reclaimed water is used for much more...even drinking and 

You can't imagine it, you say? One town in Australia is 
considering just such a measure. They have been suffering 
a drought for ten years and the community of 100,000 is 
getting desperate. With only an estimated two years of 
drinkable water left the town is debating whether to build 
a treatment facility that would allow purified wastewater 
to be pumped back into the main reservoir for drinking. 

The wastewater would pass through seven cleansing and treat-
ment processes including ultraviolet disinfection, advanced 
oxidation and ultrafiltration before being pumped into the 
town's Dam. 

But despite these reassurances and the town's desperate 
situation, many residents are dead set against it. Opponents 
are calling instead for new dams to be constructed, and a 
25 mile pipeline to be built to bring water from a nearby 

What do you think? Even if you were assured that reclaimed 
water is cleaner than the water that comes out of your local 
lake, river or reservoir, would you be able to overcome the 
'yuk' factor? 


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