California Approves ‘Toilet-To-Tap’ Program

( – California’s state legislature has approved plans to recycle toilet water. The so-called “toilet-to-tap” regulations will permit water agencies to take wastewater from homes, clean it, and pump it back in as part of the Golden State’s plans to deal with what officials claim is a water shortage crisis. Darrin Polhemus, director of the Division of Drinking Water and the State Water Resources Control Board, said the water will be of the highest quality.

Wastewater will undergo three stages to be cleansed, and will also treated for pathogens and viruses. Mr. Polhemus said the cleaning process is so thorough that minerals must later be added to improve the taste.

According to Cal Matters, the cleaning process will involve sending water through “reverse osmosis membranes multiple times,” filtering it through activated carbon, and cleansing it with an “oxidizer like hydrogen peroxide and beamed with high-intensity UV light.”

Officials say “toilet-to-tap” is more expensive than imports but is also more sustainable and will reduce the amount of sewage currently pumped into rivers and seas, including the daily 400 million gallons produced in Los Angeles County alone.

While California is a notoriously dry state that usually relies on the Colorado River for its supply, this year has seen record rain, and the land has remained largely drought-free. US Drought monitoring in 2023 showed that only one small corner of the state was drought-affected, and even that region experienced more rain than usual.

The Golden State has recycled wastewater for years, but this is the first time it will be funneled to faucets and used for drinking. Colorado approved a similar move in 2022, and water resources engineer Laura Belanger reassured residents that strict regulations would keep the water clean.

Kevin Reidy of the Colorado Water Conservation Board called the move a “game changer” and “an important tool for the long term because it gives water providers options to respond to future scarcity of water supplies.”

Copyright 2023,