Envirovore just got finished dissecting one of China's more questionable environmental policies (feeding pollution to fish...and the fish to people.) Well, here's another environmental decision that, while more sound, still kinda gives me the willies.
In fact, converting waste water to drinkable water has long been the holy grail of water treatment. Generally, we can only get the water just clean enough to dump it into some body of water without causing too much harm to the system. Cleaning it to the point where it is once again safe to drink is possible, but has remained prohibitively expensive.
Tongji University's Siqing Xia is both lead researcher and champion for his small-scale water-reclamation facility. Right now, the facility creates "gray water" that is suitable for things like flushing toilets and irrigation. But after a bit of further treatment through ion-exchange and reverse osmosis filtration, the facility could produce tasty drinkable water.
Xia hopes to have a full-scale toilet-to-tap project operating in time for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. We can't help but wish him luck. Unfortunately, it seems that convincing the population that they should drink this water might be even more difficult than making it economically viable. But when a country grows like China, and demands for water are ever-increasing, these sorts of technologies will be vital to keeping those pressures off the rivers and aquifers.
written by Justin Long, February 27, 2008
written by Dylan Lacey, February 28, 2008
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