A Glimpse Into The Future Of Home Drinking Water

Doing what I do for a living you would think that environmentalists and conservationists would love me. Reality is that they often have a love/hate relationship with me. I am loved for my water doctor problem solving knowledge, but often draw fire for my calling out conservation and “save the water” efforts as impotent and symbolic. Here I go again.

Let me make a vital distinction about myself. I am not interested in saving water. However, my life’s passion is to assure that every man, woman and child on Earth always has abundant, safe, clean, delicious drinking water.

Here is the difference: Today’s technology can make safe drinking water out of any polluted, contaminated or other wise poisoned water. There is no water, not nuclear reactor water, sewage, or even industrial waste that cannot be turned into clean drinking water. Now, I am not suggesting we begin turning sewage into drinking water because fortunately, most of us still live close to clean water sources. However, sadly, some places in the world are forced to do exactly that. Eww you say? Did you ever see a water tower attached to a NASA Spacecraft?

Here is the dirty little secret. No matter how much we conserve, no matter how green we become, our water sources will continue to become more polluted. Our very existence pollutes. From road oil and tar, to paint, to cooking grease, to car/deck/house washing, to showers and toilets, to tire dust and particles, to dead animal carcasses, to pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, CFL bulb mercury, to drugs in our bodily waste, to mining for solar panels, and countless other activities of life, we will continue to pollute our water. Add to this uncontrolled population growth and quickly one sees why all scientific models predict the inevitability of our water becoming more and more polluted.

Our aging treatment plants cannot keep up, and they are incapable of removing many contaminants of modern man. Microplastics and PFAS are but two nasty players that treatment plants were never built to remove. So we should just repair and upgrade, right? It has been predicted by more than one competent source that upgrading our aging water infrastructure could take 100 trillion dollars, or more. We simply do not have the money in America to do this.

So, what is left?

We must have a change in our water mindset. Instead of trying to “save our water” we need to focus on saving ourselves. We need to accept that our water will become more polluted and begin to take action to protect ourselves. Have you ever seen the Liam Neeson movies called, “Taken”? In those movies Liam’s character accepted that he was going to be kidnapped/taken, and then he set upon a plan to become free. So too, we have to accept that contaminated water sources are here to stay for a long time.

Our mindset now needs to be that our treatment plants will give us basic water for showers, utilities, etc., but we must then polish it further for our personal drinking water.

This is a philosophy that you will find in every hospital in the world. For general purpose pure water for glassware/instrument washing and sterilization a central system, usually an RO system delivers water to the labs, Central Sterile Supply, and R&D labs. Then researchers who need  water that is cleaner than distilled or RO water install their own point-of-use polisher to bring the water quality up to their required standards.