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HRSD pilot program may hold answer to future water shortages

Drinking wastewater might not seem like the smart thing to do, but if properly treated, it quenches the thirst as readily as rain. Recently, this reporter visited the Hampton Roads Sanitation District facility in Seaford and quaffed a glass of recycled wastewater. It was clear and clean. It had no unpleasant odor or taste. And it just might be the answer to future water shortages.

Hampton Roads Sanitation District is in the pilot phase of a project aimed at eventually producing purified water from wastewater at nine of its 13 sewage treatment facilities. Once treated, the water would be pumped back into the underground aquifer that supplies most of Eastern Virginia and used for drinking and other purposes. 

One small corner of one building at the Yorktown sewage treatment plant currently houses the pilot project, known as SWIFT (Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow), but if fully implemented, the process will require a facility 2,000 times larger, said HRSD general manager ...

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