The Colorado Water Quality Control Commission just voted unanimously to allow water treatment plants to clean up sewage water and make it drinkable. Tyson Ingels of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says it’s a regulation that’s been years in the making

But what is potable water? Kurt Carson grand junction wastewater services manager explains, “When you turn on your tap and you get water, that would be potable water.” That drinkable water we use every day is the end goal.  But getting from wastewater to drinkable is quite a process.

“Under current regulations, wastewater treatment plants discharge treated water back into the environment.” To make it drinkable some changes are needed. Extra layers upon the regulations already in place. Carson told us, “What this new regulation does is it puts a framework in place for a different more advanced sophisticated filtration and disinfection.

The decision to implement a system like this is local though and according to Kurt Carson, Mesa County doesn’t plan to implement it any time soon. During a drought though, every drop of water saved counts. This regulation provides alternative water supply sources for communities and so if they’re in a situation where they don’t have enough water it just gives them another option. Colorado is one of the first to approve making treated wastewater potable.  But if other states follow, it may eventually help lessen the draw on Colorado water reservoirs and supplies. First on the western slope.