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Readers React: The problem with toilet to tap: We still don’t know how to filter out drug residue

The Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant in El Segundo.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The “genius” of toilet-to-tap water extolled by Robert Glennon is actually the old capitalist shell game where you take common resources — contaminated sewage water, in this case — and transform them, as if by magic, into expensive and desirable commodities: safe, potable water, costing only $8 billion.

But the reverse-osmosis filtration process that Glennon says will render this toxic sludge drinkable does not filter out all the pharmaceutical residues in sewage. Since millions of people use Oxycontin, Prozac, statins and other pharmaceuticals, and then deposit in their toilets the unmetabolized portions of these ingested drugs, the filtration system must filter out all these toxins, and it can’t.

The disquieting fact is that we don’t know the long-term deleterious effects of these poisons on people and the environment. Glennon overlooks this inconvenient truth.

Leigh Clark, Granada Hills

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To the editor: The plan to upgrade the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant in El Segundo and reuse its treated output is an appropriate step toward our sustainable water future.

Additionally, the abandoned residential area west of Los Angeles International Airport appears to be a good location for a desalination plant, and its output piping could potentially piggyback onto the routing of the planned Hyperion piping.

Who said nothing ever happens in El Segundo?

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Ed Salisbury, Santa Monica

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