Pee Totaler Pee Totaler
Will recycling urine into drinking water solve the problem of water scarcity?On May 20, three astronauts held up silver pouches to toast a new beverage available onboard the International Space Station. The containers looked like Capri Sun, but they weren't filled with juice drink. It was water recycled from their urine.The new $154-million water recycling system-which creates a day's worth of water from urine, sweat, and exhaled air-will reduce the $12 million per year NASA hemorrhages ferrying water to the ISS. It also doubles the number of permanent crew that the ISS can support, from three to six members. "I can very easily foresee water-recycling systems on Earth," says Bob Bagdigian, project manager for NASA's Environmental Control Life Support System. "I hope that what we're doing on the space station will help demonstrate and validate the approach."Urine-recycling projects were kicked off in the late-1990s-concurrently with NASA's efforts. Orange County, California, opened its $427-million Groundwater Replenishment System in late 2007 to stop the encroachment of Pacific Ocean water on its groundwater basin, which supplies potable water to 500,000 residents from the Santa Ana River, a tributary of the Colorado. To keep the Pacific at bay, the Orange County Water District started injecting super-pure water into the basin to create a "water dam" between the brine and the groundwater. The injection stream comes from the one plentiful source the district had at its disposal: wastewater. It purifies 70 million gallons of water daily from treated sewage supplied by the local sanitation department. A primary filtration method is reverse osmosis-the same method used in desalination. Several independent audits found that the district's purified water was of higher quality than the water in the groundwater basin where it's injected.If the water is so pure, why not just send it directly to the people? Aside from a handful of natural-health proponents who claim that drinking your own urine has health benefits, there are few who are comfortable with the idea-even if the water has been cleaned. "There's a deep emotional revulsion that is counterpoised by this being good for the environment and safe," says Paul Rozin, a University of Pennsylvania psychologist who studies the emotion of disgust. Detractors of recycling systems have developed terms such as "toilet to tap" to play up the "yuck factor" with direct recycling. (The only plant that actually practices toilet-to-tap recycling is in Windhoek, Namibia, the driest African country south of the Sahara.)Orange County counteracted people's attitudes with aggressive outreach, giving hundreds of presentations to community organizations and offering samples of its recycled water. "From a public-education standpoint," advises Shivaji Deshmukh of the Orange County Water Distict, "make sure you don't hide anything and you start early." Today, Singapore and cities in Australia, as well as Los Angeles and San Diego (both cities that recently caved to public dissent on recycling systems) are developing reclamation.These plans can be a key component of any plan to combat water scarcity. So it's a good thing that most people Rozin has surveyed accept it as a cost of civilization. For those whose disgust persists, Deshmukh offers this reminder: "Most of the water we use has been recycled. In Southern California, five or six states have used (and put back) water from the Colorado River before we ever get to it."
Bad-Ass Pooch Fights Back Against Dog-Kicking Cop Good samaritan pooch doesn’t appreciate being kicked around.
At Nonprofit Organizations, a Lack of Regulation Invites Failure Financial mismanagement at Cooper Union has the NY attorney general’s sights set on NGOs.
Tesla Unveils Revolutionary Solar Battery For Homes The company branches out from car manufacturing to energy innovation.
Climate Change is Going to Ruin Coffee For Us Rising temperatures and disrupted rainfall are putting our arabica plant in danger.
If You Twerk in Russia, They Will Probably Throw You in Jail Putin’s strange, ongoing war against booty-shaking.
These Robotic Apes Could be Headed for the Moon In the future, will mechanical chimpanzees mine for fuel in space?
Bad-Ass Pooch Fights Back Against Dog-Kicking Cop At Nonprofit Organizations, a Lack of Regulation Invites Failure Tesla Unveils Revolutionary Solar Battery For Homes Climate Change is Going to Ruin Coffee For Us If You Twerk in Russia, They Will Probably Throw You in Jail These Robotic Apes Could be Headed for the Moon Children Give Pope Francis a Cool Vatican Drone to Call His Own Here’s What Happens When Art, Science, And Watermelons Collide. Here’s What Happens When You Ask People On the Street to Draw Muhammad Italy’s Military-Run Weed Farms Will Run Down Costs on Treatment Little Girl Gets Awesome, 3D Printed Prosthetic Hand Kites Fall From the Sky in the Name of Literacy
Project Literacy Building partnerships for a more literate future. Data for GOOD Harnessing the power of information. The GOOD Wellness Project How our choices help our bodies thrive. The 2014 GOOD City Index GOOD's annual breakdown of the most inspiring cities in the world. The GOOD Cities Project We create the cities we love, and the cities we love create us. The GOOD 100 Find out what kind of global citizen you are in this immersive quiz inspired by our annual celebration of 100 creative changemakers.