Silicon Valley's new wastewater treatment plant will be fully operational in July. The facility will treat sewage water that will then be used for irrigation and in cooling towers for the high-tech industry but it also has a more ambitious task: raising awareness among the community of the state-of-the-art technology that can purify wastewater to an extent that it can be used as drinking water.
Once working at full capacity, the Silicon Valley Water Purification Center in San Jose, Calif., will be able to treat up to 8 million gallons of wastewater per day, according to NBC Bay Area. This will help the region significantly reduce its need for imported water and make the local water supply system more reliable and resilient.
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Wastewater is treated in three separate stages. First, it goes through a process of micro-filtration that removes bacteria. The next stage involves reverse osmosis, which gets rid of salts and pharmaceutical residue. Finally, water is taken through an ultraviolet disinfection process, where all remaining bacteria and viruses are eliminated.
According to Crystal Yezman, operations unit manager at the facility, the $70-million treatment plant will be used as a demonstration project to help show the public that the treated wastewater is fully safe to drink.