Thames Water, which provides drinking water to London, wants to start providing Londoners with recycled wastewater. And 63 percent of people who took a totally unscientific Guardian poll said they would be fine with this.
This is a self-selected sample of people, but it is at least a little bit surprising that more people did not kick and scream and yell, “No, I will not drink other people’s filtered pee — even if I can’t tell the difference!”
The Guardian explains the plan:
Essentially, instead of allowing wastewater that has been treated in sewage works to go back into the river and flow into the sea, the company proposes to put that water upstream, where it would mix with river water and go into a drinking-water treatment works.
Although some treated wastewater, dumped into the Thames upstream, already makes it way into London’s drinking water, this plan would increase the concentration to as much as 50 percent. With half the city’s drinking water coming from waste, the water company should probably think hard about how, exactly, it’s going to clean the sewage. One microbiologist told the Guardian that some of the big unanswered questions have to do with contamination: Are we and all our children and all the wildlife in the river going to be inevitably transformed into mutants by unprocessed pharmaceuticals leaking into the river? Will we even have children after drinking the traces of birth control peed out by millions of women?
That’s the dramatic version of the question, but, point is, the efficacy of the cleaning process starts to matter a little more when you’re ingesting the same water over and over and over again. Apparently Londoners are down to give it a try.