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California Drought: Orange County expands 'toilet to tap' water recycling

Toilet to Tap - step #1

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Giant pipes carry sewage water to be filtered in the micro-filtration area, the first of three different steps in the water recycling process.

Toilet to Tap - step #1

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

The water then enters the first step of the recycling process, micro-filtration. Sewer water is forced by air pressure through a series of microfiber membrane modules that are 5 inches wide and 47 inches long.

Toilet to Tap - step #1

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

The underground backwash tank in the micro-filtration area holds 10,000 gallons of waste from the filtration process.

Toilet to Tap - step #1

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Workers use control panels in the micro-filtration area. Mirco-filtration technology was first invented by German scientists shortly after WWII.

Toilet to Tap - step #1.5

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

After the micro-filtration process, the water is transported through these pipes to the transfer pump station, which holds up to two million gallons of water at a time. Motors inside the pump station reach up to 1,250 horse power.


One way state officials hope to make California better able to withstand drought is to stock underground drinking water supplies with recycled wastewater. Water managers across the state could learn from Orange County -- an early adopter of recycled water.

KPCC's Ed Joyce says the county water district is looking to expand its use of what some call toilet-to-tap.
 
 


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