Bottoms Up - article by Polive Heffernan published in July 2014, ScientificAmerican.com

Bottoms Up. Scientific American, July 2014.

Treated Sewage could be the safest, most environmentally sound source of tap water yet—if we can get over the yuck factor

By Olive Heffernan

July 2014, ScientificAmerican.com

ON A SUNNY DAY IN DECEMBER, I VISIT A SHINY, STERILE WATER-PROCESSING facility nestled in the hills of northern San Diego. Sheltered by an ugly cream-colored roof but lacking walls, the workings of this oversize chemist’s laboratory glisten in the warm winter sun. Visible from every angle are row on row of silver tubes and canisters of various shapes and sizes and great gray metal vats of concealed liquid. As my tour of the small plant comes to a close, I am presented with a challenge: to identify, by sight, the contents of three large glass bottles, spaced evenly on a table before me and filled with clear fluids. The first bottle seems to have a slight yellow hue. The second is colorless. The third has the brilliance of a well-cut diamond…

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Bottoms Up July 2014

Olive Heffernan

Olive Heffernan is a London-based freelance environment writer. Olive mostly writes about climate change and its impacts, but also writes more broadly on sustainable resource use. Here you can find an archive of her recent articles, link to her Twitter feed and her blog.

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