Is “Gray Water” Safe for Domestic Reuse?

In a nutshell… This article discusses the potential importance and real challenges associated with reusing household “gray water,” a growing practice in many arid areas of the United States. Although everyone can agree that it will save potable water, not everyone agrees on how gray water should be reused domestically.   No matter how you

Flush Wisely during (and after) Coronavirus

In a nutshell… To keep household sewage flowing away from our homes for safe treatment and disposal, it is important to “flush wisely.” This article discusses why you should not flush foreign objects such as disinfectant wipes—even if advertised as safe to flush (they’re not).   Photo credit: City of Portland, OR As cases of

Tracking the Spread of Coronavirus through Sewage

In a nutshell… Properly treated sewage is essential to public health protection. This article discusses ongoing research into the potential role of wastewater in the spread of coronavirus and how tracking the virus in sewage can help align community resources and approaches in fighting the pandemic.   Researchers all over the world who are studying

Coronavirus: Protecting Water and Wastewater Workers

In a nutshell… Properly treated and disinfected drinking water and wastewater are essential to public health. This article highlights efforts to protect the nation’s water sector workers during the coronavirus pandemic.   While the nation struggles to keep coronavirus (COVID-19 virus) in check, safe running water is essential. Drinking water chlorination inactivates coronavirus, making it

Can You Get Coronavirus from Wastewater or Drinking Water?

In a nutshell… Maintaining water safety and hygiene is critically important during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article discusses recent statements from public health agencies about how properly treating and disinfecting wastewater and drinking water inactivates the COVID-19 virus.   COVID-19 photo credit: CDC As the world adapts to the growing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, so too

Launching the Global Water Pathogen Project to Address Wastewater Treatment Challenges

Spreading the gift of safely managed drinking water and sanitation to the developing world is fundamental to helping people everywhere live healthy and productive lives. But despite the rapid pace of science and technology in the fields of water and wastewater treatment, some 6,000 children around the world die every day from a water-related illness.1

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria and Genes in Wastewater and Drinking Water

We’ve written about antibiotic (antimicrobial) resistance and “superbugs” several times in recent years, and based on what we continue to learn, there is likely more to come. Antibiotics are used widely in animal agriculture and aquaculture and are also found in wastewater. These pharmaceuticals are excreted by animals and people who are taking antibiotics and when unused pills and liquids are flushed down the toilet or poured into the drain. All of these actions result in antibiotics entering the water environment and our wastewater systems, and have contributed to antibiotic resistant bacteria known as ARB. I wrote in 2015 that “Responsible use and disposal of antibiotics will go a long
way toward reducing the unintended consequences of their entering the waste stream.”

Blind Taste Test: Recycled Wastewater, Bottled Water, and Tap Water

Last year, the members of the WQ&HC had the pleasure of touring Orange County’s world-renowned Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) in southern California. It was a memorable trip, concluding, naturally, with a taste test of the finished water. The high-tech water treatment facility includes microfiltration, reverse osmosis (RO), and ultraviolet (UV) light with hydrogen peroxide. But

Celebrating World Water Day 2018: Nature for Water

World Water Day 2018, an event that is held every year on March 22nd, is about focusing attention on the importance of water. This year’s theme, “Nature for Water,” explores how we can use nature-based solutions (NBS) to help overcome the global water challenges of the 21st century. The 2018 campaign, “The answer is in

Autumn: When Leaves Fall, So Can Water Quality

Now that summer is over—and hopefully the record-setting 2017 hurricane season—many of us can turn our attention to the cooler temperatures, shorter days and the colorful splendor of autumn leaves. Of course, all of those red, orange, and yellow leaves are short-lived and fall to the ground, forming truly massive amounts of organic debris. But did you know