VIDEO: Phoenix Plans to Recycle Wastewater for Drinking

By Camaron Stevenson

August 28, 2023

Phoenix is working on an out-of-the-box solution to the water crisis: drinking sewage.

Specifically, the city is building a purification facility that will recycle wasewater to the point where it’s actually cleaner than the water we get from the tap.

It looks like a normal glass of water. It’s clear, cold, tasteless. And the process is fast—in just a few hours, raw sewage can be recycled and ready to drink.

People are okay using recycled water to water their lawns, refill toilets, or even washing clothes and dishes. But drinking it? That’s another story.

As first reported by Alex Hager of KUNC, other cities experimenting with drinkable recycled wastewater, like Colorado Springs, have employed water education specialists to educate residents about the process, and help people feel more comfortable.

And so far, it’s been working: 85 percent of Colorado Springs residents who attended one of these information sessions were drinking recycled wastewater by the end of the demonstration.

Expanding the uses of recycled wastewater is seen as a really effective way to address the impact climate change is having on our water supply.

The Central Arizona Project is investing $6 million dollars to build purification facilities, and the Biden Administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes roughly $310 million for water recycling development nationwide.


  • Camaron Stevenson

    Camaron is the Founding Editor and Chief Political Correspondent for The Copper Courier, and has worked as a journalist in Phoenix for over a decade. He also teaches multimedia journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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