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shannonsurfs14 karma

I am currently a PhD candidate at UCLA and I study carcinogenic disinfection byproducts created during drinking water treatment. Although recycled water is now being used to recharge drinking water aquifers in Southern California, we need to be wary of using it for direct potable use. It is not just about a yuck factor. There are small chemicals like pharmaceuticals in waste water that are not removed even with the very advanced treatment used in recycled water plants. These pharmaceuticals and other chemicals can create very carcinogenic byproducts during oxidation in the disinfection process. Until we can better remove these chemicals, this is a huge problem. In fact, in Los Angeles' largest recycled water plant they had to add a very expensive final stage of treatment just to remove these carcinogenic chemicals created during disinfection. This option is not feasible for most plants as it is extremely expensive.

shannonsurfs5 karma

Yes, it would be the same problem. However, in a river with treated discharges there is still a lot of river water to dilute the discharges. Whereas direct potable use does not have the help from dilution.

To your second point, that may end up being the case. However if bottled water becomes the standard for drinking water, we will have to increase regulation of bottled water. It is not even close to as regulated as tap water in terms of quality. In addition, we will be dealing with a big recycling/trash burden if bottled water is used as the primary drinking water source. This would be a huge problem unless we can use reusable containers that don't have the potentially toxic plasticizers that bottled water containers may have.

shannonsurfs1 karma

Hi, Dr. Kelsky,

I tried one round of applications for a tenure track position last year, but I did not have any luck (I had not officially finished or gotten my papers out and I have to stay in a certain geographic area.) Due to my geographic constraints, I know it is unlikely that I will find an academic job. So, my plan is to work outside of academia and hope I can make the transition at some point if something opens up in my area. Is there anything that I can do, career wise (at a job outside of academia), that will help my prospects to make the transition back to academia down the road? Thanks!