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Recycled water is obtained from waste water and contaminated water that has been subjected to thorough treatment to ensure that it is proper for use for different purposes. A major benefit of recycled water is offering a sustainable and dependable source of water while decreasing demands on water provision that is brought about by the rising population (Hurlimann 2011).
To make sure that the rising population gets adequate water to satisfy all their requirements, there is a need for recycling of water and enlarging the application of reclaimed water. This paper seeks to determine if recycled water is safe for drinking.
The safety of drinking recycled water
- It is assessed to avoid risk for human health. If the right procedure is followed, recycling of water makes it safe for drinking (Mankad & Tapsuwan 2011). Regular checking and treatment is necessary to make sure that recycled water is suitable for human consumption. For instance, the designated regulatory bodies in every Australian state endorse water systems to guarantee its safety for the intended purpose. The regulatory bodies are typically the departments accountable for safety and environment. They evaluate the degree of danger to human beings and the surroundings to establish whether a water recycling plan should be endorsed.
- There is no instance where thoroughly recycled water caused illness. Reclaimed water has not brought about any disease anywhere across the globe. This has paved way for Australia as well as other countries to boost their dependence on recycled water (Burton et al. 2007).
- Current methods make recycled water safe for drinking. Contemporary water recycling practices have eradicated microbial organisms to a degree that they are harmless to humans. On this note, there is a high chance of applying recycled water for different purposes in addition to drinking. Currently, science is concentrating on boosting the effectiveness of water recycling practices through reduction of costs, as well as greenhouse gases (Pelusey & Pelusey 2006).
Risks associated with using reclaimed water
- Doubt. For a long time, it has been possible to convert sewage to safe, drinking water and this has acted as an excellent solution for water-scarce areas (Brown, Farrelly & Keath 2009). Nevertheless, this technology is not extensively applied, and even in some areas where it is applied, nobody in reality drinks the recycled water, not directly in any case. Many people still doubt the safety of recycled water for drinking.
- Psychological point of view. The psychological aspect is what makes people not directly drink recycled water, since people are hesitant to consume anything that they know has come from the toilet. Though recycled water may not be harmful, it may not auger well with people’s mindset after knowing that they have for once drunk it (Dolnicar & Hurlimann 2011). Even though recycling of water removes the contaminants, it is not able to detach its initial uniqueness as sewage.
- Recycled water is meant for non-potable functions. Reclaimed water is former sewage with contaminants removed and is employed for applications like irrigation. The aim of recycling is water conservation and not releasing recycled water for human consumption.
- Presence of pathogens. The description of recycled water as applied by Friedler and Hadari (2006) is the outcome of sewage reclamation that satisfies water value necessities for eco-friendly substance, suspended stuff, and pathogens. In other conventional application, recycled water denotes water that has not been highly purified with the purpose of providing a means of conserving potable water; this water is instead used for agriculture and other uses like laundry (Hurlimann & McKay 2007).
- Poor assessment standards. The states regulate recycled water and not the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Recent studies have proved that recycled water poses stern public health issues concerning pathogens in it that are not detected by the presently employed tests (Birks & Hills 2007). Moreover, the present tests fail to regard connections of heavy metals and pharmaceutics, which could promote the development of drug resistant microbes in recycled water obtained from sewage.
Recycled water saves fresh potable water
- Cost. The outlay on recycling water surpasses that of treating fresh water in different areas across the globe, where there is plenty of water (Kemp et al. 2012). Nevertheless, recycled water is normally distributed to people at a lower cost to persuade them to make use of it. Though, in most cases, recycled water is not used for drinking, it saves drinking water that could otherwise have been used for other purposes as little or no potable water will be employed for non-drinking purposes.
- Rich in nutrients. In most instances, recycled water is rich in nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen that supports the growing crops in cases of its use in irrigation (Jarwal 2006). In this case, it turns out better and replaces drinking water that could otherwise have been used.
Breaking the characteristic of recycled water as water obtained from sewage and minimizing the difference between recycled water and fresh tap water may assist in the acceptance of recycled water even for potable purposes (Binnie, Kimber & Water 2009). Moreover, a different solution could be sending of properly tested recycled water into people’s taps for their use without initially informing them.
If people are then taught of its safety and it is proved to them through testing it, they may accept it without doubt. Nevertheless, recycled water must undergo thorough assessment and testing to make sure that it is suitable for drinking before it can be released for human consumption. To sum it up, whether recycled water is used for potable or non-potable purposes, its benefits cannot be underestimated (Upadhyaya & Moore 2012).
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