LOS ANGELES, California — Local water authorities are preparing to implement new “toilet-to-tap” technology by 2032 that could see 60% of L.A.’s wastewater recycled rather than being flushed out to sea.
Three years ago, Breitbart News visited the “demonstration” project at what is now known as the A.K. Warren Water Resource Facility, where a large proportion of L.A. County’s wastewater is treated.
At that time, innovations in reverse osmosis technology made it possible to purify wastewater to a higher quality than typical drinking water.
As this reporter wrote at the time:
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has partnered with the Sanitation Districts in a new project to test the feasibility of treating and reusing a large percentage of the county’s water that is currently discharged to sea.
I was the first reporter to be allowed a look at a new demonstration project called the Advanced Purification Center, which, when operational, could result in a full-scale recycled water plant that would purify up to 150 million of the 250 million gallons per day that flow through the [facility].
The test facility, where construction began in 2017, will be completed later in 2019. It will purify about half a million gallons of water from [the facility] per day, using a special process that first uses microorganisms to remove ammonia and other nitrogen compounds from the water; then uses advanced filters to remove microorganisms and solids; and finally uses RO membranes to purify the water, just as in a desalination plant.
The process is less expensive and less energy-intensive than desalination, because the treated water, while too salty for immediate use, is only about a tenth as salty as sea water.
But the regulations had yet to be developed — and public reluctance had to be overcome.
Last year, California regulators gave “toilet-to-tap” the green light. Now plans are unfolding to expand the “demonstration” project to a large scale alongside the Warren facility in Carson, just north of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Once purified, the water will be pumped back north and east, where local water authorities can either divert it to recharge ponds that percolate water back into the aquifer — or they can put it into the regular water system for household and industrial use.
Steve Krai, an engineer at the Warren facility, told Breitbart News that the facility is currently going through the environmental approval process, starting with the production of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that will describe potential impacts.
By 2028-2029, the facility should be up and running, and processing 30 million gallons per day. And by 2032, that number could hit 150 million gallons per day. Krai noted that the “toilet-to-tap” label had been a burden in the past; it was first used by activists opposed to the idea when it was first proposed in San Diego, several decades ago.
But Angelenos seem to have shed some fear of the idea, especially after two severe droughts over the past decade highlighted the need for new sources of water for the region.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.