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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
92°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
November 23
1931 - Fall Roundup held at Hoot Gibson's Saugus Rodeo [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...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Thursday, Nov 23, 2017
Members of the fraternal organization are called Clampers, and the chapter presidents are given the ceremonial title of Noble Grand Humbug. They claim their purpose is to be a historical drinking society or a drinking historical society, the debate over which has never been resolved.
Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017
Honoring our veterans shouldn’t be limited to one day or one weekend. We need to do more to support them for their service and sacrifice to this country we all love.
Friday, Nov 3, 2017
The Houston Texans do have a pretty clean record, considering the criminal activity, arrests and personal low-lives of many NFL players overall.
Thursday, Nov 2, 2017
A Canadian mining company plans to explore for gold at Conglomerate Mesa either by constructing roads in this otherwise roadless area or by flying in the equipment with helicopters. It is hard to imagine either thing happening in this peaceful and unmarred landscape.
Wednesday, Nov 1, 2017
In his monthly message for November, Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth previews the unveiling of the new Fallen Warriors Monument at Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall on November 11.
Tuesday, Oct 10, 2017
It was 10 years ago this fall semester that we opened the Canyon Country Campus on Sierra Highway. We are celebrating a decade of academic excellence and community impact. What a difference a decade makes.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Artist and animator, Eric Leiser (Film/Video BFA ) currently has a solo show at the Museum as Retail Space (MaRS) Gallery in Los Angeles.
CalArtian Solo Show Underway at MaRS
CANCUN - CSUN Men's Basketball (1-4) enjoyed a lead for most of Wednesday afternoon against Binghamton but a strong second-half Bearcat run led to a 70-65 Matador defeat at the Cancun Challenge in Mexico.
CSUN Hits Rough Patch at Cancun Challenge
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that he has appointed Leisa Maestretti as Director of the California Department of Education (CDE) Fiscal and Administrative Services Division (FASD).
New Fiscal, Administration Services Director Appointed to CDE
NORTHRIDGE, Calif.—Featuring games against 15 teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago, CSUN head softball coach Tairia Flowers has announced the 2018 Matador schedule.
CSUN Releases 2018 Softball Schedule
Long before Wednesday’s 71-47 win over Cal Lutheran University, coach Dan Waldeck had little doubt about The Master’s University’s ability to shoot.
Lady Mustangs Win 6th Straight with Victory Against Cal Lutheran
NORTHRIDGE, Calif.—After spending the first two weeks of the 2017-18 season on the road, the CSUN women's basketball team returns home to host the ninth annual Warner Center Thanksgiving Basketball Classic this weekend.
CSUN to Host Annual Warner Center Thanksgiving Basketball Classic
Black Friday sales in stores across Santa Clarita Valley have resulted in residents camping out in tents, cots, and pop-ups as their occupants await for the early morning savings following Thanksgiving.
Santa Claritans Already Camping Out for Black Friday Sales
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold a Special and its Regular meeting Tuesday, Nov. 28 at City Hall/City Council Chambers located at 23920 Valencia Blvd., Santa Clarita, 91355.
Nov. 28: City Council Special, Regular Meetings
Members of the fraternal organization are called Clampers, and the chapter presidents are given the ceremonial title of Noble Grand Humbug. They claim their purpose is to be a historical drinking society or a drinking historical society, the debate over which has never been resolved.
Clamping the Desert | By Linda Castro
1931 - Fall Roundup held at Hoot Gibson's Saugus Rodeo [story]
The Los Angeles Dodgers have unveiled their 33-game 2018 Spring Training schedule, beginning on Friday, Feb. 23 against the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch – Glendale in Arizona.
Dodgers Unveil 2018 Spring Training Schedule
TMU coach Kelvin Starr’s to-do list was relatively simple entering Tuesday night’s 108-58 win over visiting Westcliff University.
7 Mustangs Score in Double Figures in Runaway Win
No. 3 College of the Canyons women's volleyball team defeated No. 14 Golden West College 3-1 in the opening round of the CCCAA Southern California Regional Playoffs on Tuesday.
No. 3 Canyons Wins First Round Playoff Matchup vs. No. 14 Golden West
At approximately 10:50 a.m. Wednesday morning, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies responded to a call of an attempted kidnapping that occurred on the corner of Magic Mountain Parkway and McBean Parkway in Valencia.
Authorities Seek Suspect in Valencia Kidnapping Attempt
A coalition of attorneys general on Wednesday called the Trump administration’s plan to hike entry fees at national parks a “cruel deception,” contending higher prices could force Americans to choose between “beauty and or bread.”
California AG, 10 More AG’s Blast Feds’ Plan to Hike National Park Fees
The Castaic Lake Water Agency's Water Resources Committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday, December 6 has been rescheduled for Tuesday, December 12.
CLWA Water Resources Committee Meeting Rescheduled for Dec. 12
The California Enterprise Development Authority will hold its next meeting via teleconference on Thursday, November 30 at 10:30 a.m.
Nov. 30: California Enterprise Development Authority Teleconference
Here is the public safety report from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station for Stevenson Ranch (Zone 3) for Nov. 6-19, 2017.
Crime Blotter: Grand Theft Auto, Robbery Burglary in Stevenson Ranch
Coroner's officials have identified the victim of a deadly crash near Chatsworth Tuesday as Santa Clarita Valley resident Jose Sanchez, 60.
Coroner IDs SCV Victim Killed in Chatsworth Crash
In November, the Santa Clarita Auto Dealers Association has co-sponsored a Thanksgiving dinner at the SCV Boys & Girls Club and the "Light Up Main Street" event in Old Town Newhall.
Santa Clarita Auto Dealers Association Gives Back this Holiday Season
Providence Holy Cross Medical Center is seeking help from the public to identify an injured man, hospitalized since a Nov. 18 accident in Van Nuys.
Providence Holy Cross Medical Center Seeks ID of Injured Man
More than 250 agencies donated their efforts to help support and raise money for the City of Hope as part of the 2017 “Pink Patch Project,” and the agencies donated $325K to fight breast cancer.
LASD, Local Agencies Donate $325K to City of Hope
Santa Clarita Valley veterans organizations will host the 12th annual Military Honor Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting at Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall on Saturday, December 2 at 5 p.m.
Dec. 2: Annual Military Honor Christmas Tree Lighting
The city of Santa Clarita will host a 30th-anniversary open house on the city’s official birthday, December 15, at City Hall from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Dec. 15: Santa Clarita Birthday Bash at City Hall
The community is invited to join state Assemblyman Dante Acosta at Santa Clarita Valley International to celebrate a $5,000 educational grant awarded to SCVi by the Barona Band of Mission Indians on Monday, November 27 at 10 a.m.
Nov. 27: Acosta, Community Leaders Celebrate Grant Received by SCVi
The Board of Supervisors approved a motion by Supervisors Hilda L. Solis and Kathryn Barger on Tuesday to extend the county’s Winter Shelter Program by an additional month -- through March 31, 2018
County OK’s Plan to Extend Winter Homeless Shelter Program
Two men were arrested and booked on drug and other charges by Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's detectives on a night patrol in Canyon Country Sunday.
Night Patrol Nets 2 Suspects on Bikes
1843 - Rancho Castec (Lebec-Tejon area) granted to French immigrant Jose Covarrubias [story]
Award-winning Deaf culture advocate, producer, choreographer and dancer Antoine Hunter (Dance 02) won an award at the 2017 San Francisco Dance Film Festival (SFDFF) last month.
CalArts Alum Wins ‘Best Student Film’ at 2017 SF Dance Film Festival
Several young adults with special needs from Carousel Ranch’s Ready to Work! (RTW!) program will be joining Martha Aguilara and Kokolita’s in preparing more than 1000 Thanksgiving meals for those in need.
Carousel Ranch Ready to Work Students, Kokolita’s Join to Prepare Thanksgiving Meals
The College of the Canyons Model United Nations Club (COCMUN) received the highest award presented Sunday at a conference in Santa Barbara.
COC Model UN Awarded “Best Large Delegation” at UCSB Conference
The McKeon Leadership Forum is a speaker series that promotes civic engagement and reminds every citizen that a healthy democracy requires personal involvement.
Nov. 30: McKeon Leadership Forum Presents General Richard A. Cody
Tempe Hale (Film/Video MFA 14) and Ambar Navarro (Film/Video BFA 15), both graduates of CalArts Experimental Animation Program, premiered their new music video for Detroit-based artist Stef Chura on DIY Magazine.
Detroit-based Artist Collaborates with CalArtians on Music Video
Carroll of Montana has proven it can play at multiple tempos and be successful.
Lady Mustangs’ Up-Tempo Play Enough to Best Fighting Saints 74-64