[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: From Toilet to Table | 10-30-2016
Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
63°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
December 3
1887 - Prohibitionist Henry Needham purchases land in Newhall, attempts to establish "dry" colony [story]


Take a Hike | Commentary by Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel
| Sunday, Oct 30, 2016
drought05

DianneErskineHellrigelA couple of years ago I wrote about recycling urine for use in the garden, as is done in Sweden. The overwhelming response from the community was a loud and resounding, “Yuck.”

Well, San Diego has taken this idea a huge step forward. They are recycling treated sewage for tap water – and they’ve been doing it for a couple of years.

They say treated sewage is by far the safest source of clean water they can offer the community. And it is cheapest way of creating fresh water.

In the hills of northern San Diego is the water processing plant. The issue is that their current sources of water are becoming more scarce, and the price of imported water is skyrocketing.

Today they dump their wastewater into the ocean. If that water could be recycled for human consumption, it would not damage the ecosystems in the ocean; the city would save money from importing less water from Sacramento or Colorado; and the community would get a cleaner, safer source of water. But the question is: Will they drink it?

Knowing that my drinking water came out of a toilet bowl would be a hard sell. This proposal was downed in San Diego in 2004 and in Australia, as well. Sewage effluent is 100-percent contaminated. The treated water is pure, clean and 100-percent safe.

So, what are we to do when our customary sources of water are no longer available? Desalinization is an option, but it is expensive and would require trucks or pipelines to transfer it, making it even more expensive.

As the drought worsens, we will have to make decisions. We cannot live without water. Businesses cannot function without water. Many of us have taken steps to cut back on water by refusing to water our once-lush lawns. Many of us refuse to face the facts of water shortage and continue to water our grounds.

drought04Right now, our “clean” water from the processing plant is being used to water a golf course and other public grounds, while San Diegans warm to the idea of allowing it to be sent directly to their taps. Another option being considered is adding it to their reservoir where it would undergo the same treatments that incoming river water receives.

In my research for this article, I discovered that every year, 19 million Americans become sick from drinking tap water. Nine hundred people die from various viruses, bacteria and protozoa that arrive in their taps from treated water. I had no idea. An example of this is the water in New Orleans, which comes from the Mississippi River. By the time it reaches its destination in New Orleans, it has been used five times, and the recycled and treated water is dumped into the system and comes out of the taps to the innocent people in New Orleans. And that water includes sewage that has been treated and tossed into the river, all along the river north of New Orleans.

That treated sewage is nowhere near as clean as what comes out of the plant in San Diego.

It makes me wonder how much “treated” water is being tossed into the water that we import from up north.

Take a look at reservoirs, lakes, streams, groundwater and rivers, and the possibility of water contamination. All water can be contaminated with arsenic. Anywhere water comes into contact with rocks that contain arsenic, it can be introduced into the water. Wildlife passing the water source an introduce urine and feces, resulting in giardia infection, as well. Ducks landing on any water source will leave their waste behind. There are many opportunities for fouling the water as it progresses from place to place, yet we never think of this. Then, finally, the water arrives in our reservoirs, gets sanitized and is sent along its way to us.

Yes, it is tested for water quality, and it usually it passes muster. But certain small amounts of bacteria and heavy metals are allowed to get through. The processed water in San Diego is absolutely pure. It far exceeds state and federal guidelines.

drought03dehBut would you drink it?

While cities in Australia have banned the use of converted wastewater, Orange County, Calif., is successfully using it by supplementing the groundwater supply with it. Silicon Valley is using it to water their farms and golf courses, a practice everyone can agree upon.

Someday, perhaps in a few years, we may have to face the decision of having no water at all, or using nothing but recycled sewage as our main water source. Hauling water in, piping it in from desalinization plants or importing water (as we currently do) may no longer be viable options.

We are not yet in such dire straits, but we might consider using recycled sewage water now for our landscaped areas and for our farms, many of which are wasting away.

In the meantime, let’s keep an eye on the pioneering efforts San Diego is engaged in, and keep an open mind for the future of water in our state.

To learn more about this project, [click here].

 

Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel is executive director of the Community Hiking Club and president of the Santa Clara River Watershed Conservancy. Contact Dianne through communityhikingclub.org or at zuliebear@aol.com.

 

drought02drought01deh

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
Related Content
RECENT COMMENTARY
Friday, Dec 2, 2016
Here it is the end of the year and the culmination of a lot of programs, services and projects for us at the city
Thursday, Dec 1, 2016
It has been my honor to serve as your Mayor this year. The city of Santa Clarita is one of California’s best cities and it just keeps getting better and better.
Tuesday, Nov 22, 2016
I had never heard the term “throughput” before a meeting at our hospital two years ago. It was used to discuss how the emergency department (ED) could yield greater profits by faster patient turnover. Coordinating various duties (including intake, admitting, and cleaning staff; lab and radiology; nurses and doctors) patients could be shuttled into and out of the ED earning the hospital $2 million more per year.
Friday, Nov 18, 2016
After nearly 3 years and a large reply from concerned citizens, the Chiquita Landfill and the Los Angeles County have released their revision to the Draft Environment Impact Report.
Thursday, Nov 17, 2016
The Holiday Craft Fair is coming to Placerita Canyon Nature Center on Saturday, December 3 and 4, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each day.
Sunday, Nov 13, 2016
Apparently, the tree octopus is intelligent and inquisitive and well suited to arboreal adaptation, being able to pull itself along tree branches by instinctively using “tentaculation.” Far away from its original ocean habitat, the tree octopus developed a taste for insects, frogs, rodents and bird eggs. Their eyesight on land is comparable to human eyesight, enabling them to see and hunt their prey.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1887 - Prohibitionist Henry Needham purchases land in Newhall, attempts to establish "dry" colony [story]
The Latino Business Alliance will be hosting a "Posada Breakfast" on December 6, which will be an opportunity to network with others in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Dec. 6: Network with Fellow Business Owners at the Posada Breakfast
Court Appointed Special Advocates of Los Angeles, or CASA/LA, a non-profit organization that drastically improves the lives of abused and neglected foster children in LA County through trained volunteer advocates, will be hosting its first CASA Book Fair in collaboration with Barnes & Noble of Valencia December 8.
Dec. 8: CASA/LA Book Fair Fundraiser to be Held at Barnes & Noble in Valencia
The County Interim Health Officer is issuing a Cold Weather Alert due to the National Weather Service’s forecast for low temperatures.
Cold Weather Alert for Antelope Valley, L.A. County Mountain Areas
Just as people plan for retirement, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) urges them to plan for changing needs and abilities in their driving as they age.
CHP Recommends Planning for Senior Drivers
Here it is the end of the year and the culmination of a lot of programs, services and projects for us at the city
Message from the City Manager
Santa Clarita Valley firefighters handled a pair of brush fires Friday, officials said, leaving none injured and no structures threatened.
LACoFD Battle 2 Brush Fires, Both Now Under Control
Stevenson Ranch Crime Report: November 21, 2016 - November 27, 2016
Crime Blotter: Burglary, Petty Theft in Stevenson Ranch
1972 - Five wounded in Vagos biker gang shooting at Curtis & JoAnne Darcy's Acton '49er Saloon [story]
A 23-year-old woman was arrested after she attempted to flee the scene of a hit-and-run crash that left one man in the hospital with major injuries.
Motorcyclist Sustains Major Injuries in Hit-and-Run Crash
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, Princess Cruises has agreed to plead guilty to seven charges stemming from its deliberate pollution of the seas and intentional acts to cover it up. Plus, retiring L.A. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich shares some inspiring words about achieving your dreams and moving forward. See these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Thursday, December 1, 2016
Pocock Brewing Co. will host their 1st Anniversary Beer Festival benefiting the Castaic and SCV Education Foundations this month.
Pocock Brewing to Host Fundraiser for Castaic, SCV Education Foundations
The Valley Industry Association will review and close the 2016 year, and formally install the 2017 Valley Industry Association Board of Directors at their upcoming meeting.
Dec. 20: VIA to Install New Board of Directors
The ALDI grocery store chain is coming to Santa Clarita this month.
Dec. 15: ALDI Grocery Store to Open in Santa Clarita
The Santa Clarita Public Libraries are providing families with plenty of occasions to embrace the spirit of the holidays through the month of December.
Santa Clarita Libraries Embrace Holiday Spirit with Family-friendly Events
The Transportation Research Board announced Thursday that Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty will become chair of its Executive Committee, effective January 12, 2017.
Caltrans Appoints Chair of Executive Committee
An artist named "Six" is hosting an opening reception for the installation piece "Ghost Band."
‘Ghost Band’ Art Installation Comes to ARTree
The 16 Santa Clarita Valley LDS congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are inviting the public to attend their annual Community Christmas Concert.
SCV Latter-day Saints Congregations Host ‘When Love Was Born’ Performance
The Southern California Football Association has announced its 2016 All-League Teams and seven players from College of the Canyons are included among the honorees from the National Division, Northern League.
SCFA Honors Seven COC Football Players
A Valencia man got the chance to participate in as a featured “Trader” in an attempt to avoid “Zonks” and win a sensational selection of prizes on the game show "Lets Make A Deal".
Valencia Man to Appear on ‘Lets Make A Deal’
Bakkavor Foods USA, Inc. is voluntarily recalling Trader Joe’s Mediterranean Hummus and Trader Joe’s White Bean & Basil Hummus with “USE BY” date codes up through and including "12/15/2016," because these products have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
Recall: Two Types of Trader Joe’s Hummus Potentially Contaminated by Listeria
The death occurred in a middle-aged man, from the northern part of Los Angeles County, who had significant pre-existing medical conditions.
First Flu Death in LA County Confirmed
Princess Cruises has announced a settlement Friday, after a three-year Department of Justice investigation to a charge the company broke environmental laws by discharging sewage illegally.
Princess Cruises to Pay Fine for Illegally Dumping Sewage
Winter holidays are a time for families and friends to get together, but that also means a greater risk for fire.
Steps to a Fire-Safe Holiday
It has been my honor to serve as your Mayor this year. The city of Santa Clarita is one of California’s best cities and it just keeps getting better and better.
Monthly Message from Mayor Bob Kellar
1929 - Saugus train robber "Buffalo" Tom Vernon apprehended in Pawnee, Okla. [story]
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, we see how friends and family are remembering actor, Paul Walker. Plus, a firefighters and local dignitaries celebrated Fire Station 143 in Castaic today. See those stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Two years ago, I took the oath to lead the nation’s largest Sheriff’s Department in a manner that put public trust at the core of what we do. I also made a promise to the 18,000 men and women at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) that this could, and would, be done by focusing on our future together and closing the door on the divisiveness and factions that once threatened this great organization.
Sheriff Jim McDonnell Announces New Executive Team
Valencia Marketplace officials are inviting families and community members to a tree lighting ceremony this Thursday.
Dec. 1: Valencia Marketplace Tree Lighting Ceremony
Henry Mayo hosts training program to help community become more aware of the signs of suicide and how to help.
Henry Mayo Hosts SafeTALK to Prevent Suicide, Create Awareness
California State University, Northridge’s Valley Performing Arts Center has hosted several world-renowned artists since opening its doors in 2011.
CSUN VPAC Celebrates Five Years of World-Renowned Artists
Princess Cruises has won four awards from the readers of Porthole Cruise Magazine, receiving Best Central America Itineraries, Best South Pacific Itineraries, Best Onboard Shopping and Best Signature Cocktail in the magazine’s 18th annual Readers’ Choice Awards.
Princess Cruises Wins Four Awards from Porthole Cruise Magazine
[District Attorney] A 72-year-old convicted rapist was sentenced Wednesday to 520 years to life in state prison for sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl under his care in Canyon Country.
Canyon Country Man Gets 520 Years to Life for Sexual Assaults
An Agua Dulce man pleaded no contest to gross vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence Tuesday.
Agua Dulce Man Pleads Not Contest to DUI, Vehicular Manslaughter
Associated Students Sustainability and Recycling Services at California State University, Northridge recently hosted its annual America Recycles Day.
Students at CSUN Participate in America Recycles Day
American Indian tribes from around the United States gathered at California State University, Northridge for a day of celebration at the 33rd annual Powwow.
CSUN Hosts American Indian Tribes for 33rd Powwow