Recycling sewage into drinking water is no big deal. They’ve been doing it in Namibia for 50 years. WUNC, December 15, 2016.
On the outskirts of Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, there’s a huge, churning vat of nasty brown liquid. It’s so stinky that my guide, the man who runs Windhoek’s water department, tells me I might want to stay in the car.
But this is what I came to see — raw sewage, on its way to being turned back into drinking water.
The Goreangab waste treatment plant is where most of the wastewater from Windhoek’s 300,000 residents ends up. But it’s not your run-of-the-mill sewage plant. It’s the first stop in the city’s pioneering water recycling system.
Cities around the world are wrestling with whether they should build facilities like this. But here, in the middle of a desert in a remote corner of southern Africa, they’ve been recycling wastewater for almost 50 years.
It’s cutting-edge technology, but it’s based on the humblest of creatures — bacteria.
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