A non-partisan, neutral perspective supporting diversity in the color of water

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Australians Invent New Color of Water

Leave it to the clever Australians to come up with a new color of water! This article titled "Study Establishes Methods To Assess Recycled Aquifer Water" published in the November /December 2010 issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality describes government-funded research "...At the Parafield Aquifer Storage, Transfer and Recovery research project in South Australia, the team of scientists harvested storm water from an urban environment, treated it in a constructed wetland, stored it in an aquifer, and then recovered the treated water via a well".

"The storm water exceeded the Australian drinking water guidelines prior to treatment. Small amounts of fecal bacteria, elevated concentrations of iron, and other contaminates were found in the water. After undergoing treatment, however, the water collected from the aquifer had dramatically lower levels of all hazards. Further supplemental treatment was needed to remove some hazards, though the process shows potential if improvements are made". 

I first heard about the Australian approach from David Pyne, ASR guru, at a conference that the Institute for Water & Watersheds at Oregon State University sponsored titled "Aquifer Storage and Recovery and Artificial Recharge in Oregon: Overcoming Technical, Regulatory, and Social Challenges" held February 28, 2008 in Corvallis, Oregon (warning -  don't try searching the IWW website for the presentations or videos as IWW no longer does this type of outreach due to budget cuts and subsequently removed it from their site). This concept was also pitched by the water team that I participate in as a means to provide water to the Oregon Sustainability Center to meet the *net-zero* goals, but the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality could not even consider it when the water team mentioned it (I guess too risky of an approach in an urban environment where the groundwater is not used because all of the water is supplied by the Portland Water Bureau - no reason was provided by DEQ, the consummate sippers of goldwater).

So the recycled water is a combination of *green*, *blue*, and *purple* water. Using an online mixing program yields this color, which is kind of close to what Corvallis was attempting to develop with their treated wastewater for use at a nearby golf course as described here. The color comes close to those incredibly beautiful and unique Australian blue sapphires, where the most commercial-grade blue sapphires have been mined anywhere in the world.

Behold, sapphirewater - recycled aquifer water. Designed just in time for those folks worried about water sustainability and climate change.

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