We hear about water crises every day from the South African city of Cape Town’s reserve running dry as of April 12th, to the severe droughts in California causing wildfires, to the Siberian winters that make it impossible for pipes not the freeze and provide water to Russian citizens. We are very lucky to have reliable clean potable water provided by streams, rivers, and lakes here in Maine. But what if there was another way to get large amounts of water. What if we could utilize our own waste to produce clean drinking water? A company in Northeast Ohio has done just that. “Our goal is to change the way the world thinks about water by changing how we treat it, use it, and manage it,” said Michelle Matty, sales and human resources manager at the Tangent Company. The 2,000-gallon Watercycle pilot project has been operational for the past four years at the Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s headquarters in century home in Moreland Hills, OH. This on-site recycling system served multiple purposes for the conservancy, eventually eliminating the need for a well and septic system, said Rich Cochran, the conservancy’s CEO. “Especially when people are in dire need of drinking water they get over that (“yuck factor”) pretty fast,” Matty said. “The whole concept of toilet-to-tap is something you might imagine that some people have a hard time with,” Ebie Holst, CEO of Splashlink, said. “But even our own utility-based municipal tap water is reused water. It just happens to pass through a body of water like Lake Erie first.” Water is Mother Nature’s most precious gift to us but it is not endless past a certain point. We need to use it wisely or find ways to better manage what we do have. Perhaps our own waste is the answer.
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