Editorial, U-T San Diego, 4/12/14
The phrase “toilet to tap” is commonly used by critics of a proven process in which sewage water is treated to such high levels that we can drink it. It’s a powerful, if completely deceptive, slogan. A public relations effort to convince county residents that the process is scientifically sound apparently worked. A 2012 county water authority poll showed 73 percent of respondents supported adding treated recycled water to the region’s supply. That was up from 28 percent in 2005.
A year ago, the San Diego City Council decided to proceed with a pilot project to purify 15 million gallons per day of recycled wastewater, with a goal of recycling a third of the city’s water by 2035.
Last month, the Oceanside City Council heard proposals to redo the city’s 65-year-old La Salina wastewater treatment plant. Both proposals call for the plant’s discharge to be further treated and added to the city’s potable supply. La Salina is one of five local plants that together pump more than 300 million gallons of water daily into the ocean.
Drought or no drought, the county can no longer afford to lose this water. We need more projects like San Diego’s and Oceanside’s. Otherwise, what a waste.