Don't Drink the Water: Pines Develops Crappy Aqua Plan - NBC 6 South Florida

Don't Drink the Water: Pines Develops Crappy Aqua Plan

Water will soon go from toilet to tap in South Florida

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Path to a Healthier America
    New Yorkers are being told to run their taps for 30 seconds before drinking water, cooking with it or using it to make baby formula after tests showed elevated lead levels in some older buildings.

    This plan sounds a little crappy.

    The city of Pembroke Pines will soon be pumping some 7 million gallons a day of treated sewage into an aquifier that supplies drinking water to most of Broward, Miami-Dade and Southeastern Palm Beach County, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

    The $47 million plan, expected to happen within the next three years, means waste water will be flowing through the taps every time someone turns on their water.

    "The water will be very, very well treated," City Manager Charles Dodge told the Sun-Sentinel. "It's not as if you would know it went through this process." 

    Putting treated sewage into the aquifier is nothing new, as several other areas up and down the state already does so. But unlike other areas where the water is pumped into wetlands, lakes or fields where it percolates, Pines plans on injecting the sewage water directly into the ground at the Biscayne Aquifier.

    Where it goes from there is anybody's guess, so Miamians better plan on buying a Brita.

    "Aquifers flow," said Harold Wanless, professor and chair of geological sciences at the University of Miami. "It's difficult to tell where any particular water will move to. We don't have the large conduits inside the aquifer well mapped."

    The water of course goes through a purification process, using bacteria to break down the waste and then using chlorine to kill the bacteria. Pines would also add in the step of reverse osmosis to further filter it and make it drinkable.

    The waste water plan will hopefully keep the aquifier from running out. It's also the city's attempt to get greener by reusing more water, as the small amount of water that gets reused in the tri-county area is mostly used for irrigation.

    Officials say that 99.9 percent of the chemicals can be extracted from the water.

    Environmentalists, naturally, aren't too thrilled with the plan and dispute how pure it can get.

    "There're limitations to how clean that water can be made," said Matthew Schwartz, with the Broward-area Sierra Club. "You can't remove all pharmaceuticals from the water. It can't be done. You are putting drugs into our drinking water...Tylenol, birth control medication, antipsychotics."