Chinese delegation visits purification center for inspiration

A province of China is looking to win over public perception for recycled water use and recently sent more than a dozen engineers on a nearly 7,000-mile journey to the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center.

Their goal: To understand how their American counterparts are mastering the science of purification and securing people’s confidence in a product heralded as a future reliable drinking water source.

During a Dec. 14 tour of northern California’s largest water purification facility, more than a dozen delegates from the Water Resources Engineering Construction Bureau of the Jiangsu Province jotted notes and pointed quizzically at the intake pumps and storage tanks.

“We face the same challenges home as you do here, even more,” the bureau’s Deputy Director-General Liu Shengsong said through a translator as he passed along intake pumps, storage tanks and decarbonation towers. “We have limited water resources, even as we continue to grow. Recycled water is at a very early stage in China, but the public remains very concerned about purified water. People don’t trust it.”

Responsible for water administration in the coastal province north of Shanghai, the bureau implements national and provincial laws, regulations, policies and guidelines related to water management. Familiar with the water district’s foray into recycled water, Shengsong said he looks forward to a learning partnership with the water district and for ways to build community confidence in the safe use of recycled water.

Miguel Silva, a water district associate engineer, acknowledged the concern and touted an approach the district is promoting, one that entails an abundance of conversation.

“Public education helps a lot,” he said during the tour. “What needs to be done is to get people engaged and show the evidence that this is pure, clean water.”

You can see, feel, touch and eventually we’re going to be able to have people taste the water.

Through advanced technologies such as microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet disinfection, the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center purifies partially treated wastewater to produce highly purified water that meets, and in some cases exceeds, all state primary and secondary drinking water standards.

“We are very interested in how this works,” said Shensong in looking ahead to a partnership with the water district. “It is clear that there is very advanced technology here and very smart management.”

The water district routinely provides free tours of its purification center in its bid to promote highly purified recycled water as a reliable water supply source. If you or your group is interested in touring the facility, just click here.


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