Pleasanton considers plan to use recycled sewage for drinking water

By John Fowler, KTVU Bay Area News, 5/28/14

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Pleasanton revealed a drought-fighting plan Wednesday of using treated sewage for drinking water.

The city is under mandatory water rationing. Right now, they are keeping Val Vista Park green by using reclaimed water from the sewage treatment plant next door.

In four weeks, the city will finalize plans for a $15 million expansion of recycling. The plan would initially aim to irrigate businesses, public spaces and parks next year. But, possibly the year after recycled water could be used in homes.

Experts tell KTVU the technology is available, and once you get over the "yuck factor,” you realize that all of our water is recycled.

"I'm hoping the drought will get rid of the yuck factor people have," said Levi Fuller.

Pleasanton shares Dublin's sewage treatment plant, disposing millions of gallons into the bay. It uses filtration, UV sterilization and chlorine to make the water safe for human consumption and other purposes.

The state is expected to change rules in two years to allow treated sewage for drinking water.

The city says if it had started its project last year, Pleasanton may not have mandatory rationing today.

The city says recycled water will cost less. It hopes to get a no-cost loan under a proposed federal drought program. The city says it would be an investment into a far more sustainable future.