In response to California’s deepening drought, officials are turning to transforming sewage into potable water. The Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center, which opened this summer, may be the state’s best ammunition against chronic water shortages. With an intense microfiltration system in place, the $72 million facility turns wastewater into high quality drinking water.
The Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center uses a series of advanced technologies, including microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet rays, to produce roughly eight million gallons of distilled-quality water a day. For now, the plant uses wastewater from the city of San Jose that has already been treated, rather than raw sewage. The retreated water is then pumped back into existing recycled water, making a blend of water qualities.
The recycled water blend is currently being used to irrigate crops, water golf courses and other landscapes, and for passive cooling in data centers. Although it is of sufficient quality to drink, officials are reluctant to present it to local residents as such. However, with expected improvements in the system, Silicon Valley officials plan to incorporate the recycled water into the drinking water pool by 2025, or sooner if the drought continues.
Lead image © Steve Johnson