Thanks to everyone who posted comments.  It’s great to see the interest in these important topics, and to see that the public (at least Voice readers) are relatively well-informed about the issues.  For ease of reference, we’ll try to address all the comments in one post.

Marco:

Thanks for your eloquent definition of Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR). We also describe the process in yesterday’s post entitled Flushed.

Watcher:

It would seem that the City Council has at least realized the benefits of IPR, evidenced by their override of Mayor Jerry Sanders’ veto of the IPR pilot project last year.  Perhaps the mayor will come around after the November rate case vote for the city’s pilot IPR project. This demonstration plant would process 1 million gallons per day and would be operational for two years. During that time, the plant would be subject to rigorous testing and public tours.  The city’s current plan is to build a full-scale IPR project the North City Water Reclamation Plant, with a 16 million gallon per day capacity. In addition to the pilot project itself, the city will conduct public outreach and distribution studies. If everything goes as planned, the pilot project phase will be done in 2013, at which point the full-scale plant comes into the picture.

One would think the lack of public opposition to the pilot project, the science behind the process, the economics of the alternatives, or the broad-based support of IPR would be a ‘perfect storm’ that any politician would want to be front and center of. 

Our recommendation is that the mayor use his water supply townhall meetings to educate the public about water reuse, instead of mischaracterizing the project. Allowing Water Department staff to conduct public outreach will also help in getting the word out.  We applaud recent efforts by council members, Toni Atkins in particular, to help the community understand why leaders are recommending this direction. 

Bottom line, in order to provide the city with a reliable, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly local water supply, the Mayor is going to have to reconsider his position.

Chris:

Our apologies on the inadvertent typo, although we’re glad it made Shaun smile.  As Judy points out, the process was anything but a rubber stamp.  There’s no need to take our word for it, or even Judy’s, even though she was a participant.  A comprehensive review of the process and the outcome is available in the actual study.

In terms of endocrine disruptors, please see our response to Patrick yesterday.  The treatment process involves a three-step process which does remove the particles; in fact the water produced is so pure that it cannot be transported until minerals are added back into the water.  This is certainly a much higher treatment level than what our current drinking supply receives.

Judy:

You are absolutely right about extending the purple pipe system. Except for a very few locations where the infrastructure already exists, it is a cost-prohibitive venture. The concept of double-plumbing an entire city or region should set off a red flag both for expense and for the possibility of cross-linkages.  That’s another reason IPR is so attractive — it doesn’t require a separate distribution system.

— GABE SOLMER and LIVIA BORAK

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