from Whittier Daily News

Hollywood types usually drink bottled water originating from natural springs, exotic islands or, in the case of Perrier, a remote village in the south of France. At noon on Wednesday, as part of a free bottled water giveaway on Hollywood Boulevard, they’ll have a chance to become the first in the world to chug purified wastewater sourced from home toilets, showers and sinks supplied by the Orange County Water District.

The award-winning water agency is the first in the nation to give away purified wastewater in bottles. The agency is embarking on a yearlong tour carrying about 16,000 commemorative bottles of highly treated wastewater to tourist spots, college campuses and local festivals to convince everyday Southern Californians that water originally flowing from sewage pipes instead of artesian springs is indeed safe to drink once treated — and maybe even cool.

“We are taking our water and our message to the public to alleviate any ‘yuck’ factor,” said OCWD President Denis Bilodeau in a statement.

For nearly 10 years, the OCWD and its partner, the Orange County Sanitation District, have developed a three-stage filtration and treatment process that passes inspection of health and water agencies. Today, it is recycling 100 million gallons per day or 36.5 billion gallons a year — enough water for 2.4 million people — and treating it to beyond state and federal drinking water standards. This water gets piped underground where it joins water stored in the vast Orange County water basin, which is drawn up through wells for drinking water.

The district puts initially treated wastewater through a three-step process: microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light with hydrogen peroxide. The final product is similar to distilled water, the process resembling how space station astronauts reuse their water, the district says.


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