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L Tecolote

It might have scandalized the officials enforcing the Rheinheitsgebot, but in point of fact, all the water on the planet is “recycled,” being thoroughly mixed with droplets that have passed through the digestive and urinary tracts of millions of critters, fornicated in by fish, flowing slowly through stagnant ponds, then (relatively) “purified” by natural exposure to sunlight and oxygen, as it flows downstream, where it eventually soaks through many layers of soil, sand, porous rock, to percolate up through your very own pristine spring.

What? You don’t have a pristine spring to drink from? Your brewer of choice doesn’t have one either? Perhaps you and the brewer get your water from a municipal supply system. In which case, it almost certainly has been chemically treated, to annihilate (most of) the natural microbes you don’t want. Some such systems are lucky enough to draw from wells, some from rivers or lakes, but they all test, and most treat, the water with chemicals to kill off the pathogens that are likely to be in the original source. So, you’re drinking “recycled” water, unless you’re getting it from off planet.

The prejudice of the “eww” factor carries over intact from the playground to the “adult” world. Back in the early ’60s, I lived in L.A. county, and worked for a municipal engineering department. The subject of water purity came up in conversation, one day. My boss said that his older brother worked for the City of Los Angeles at the Hyperion sewage treatment plant. The effluent was treated, not in two steps, as was the usual municipal practice, but in three stages of purification. By all of the industrial testing methods then used for assessing water purity, the water, thus treated, was biologically cleaner than the municipal water supply Los Angeles was purchasing from the Colorado River. But such was the prejudice against water that had once been sewage (eww!) that the City was obliged to pump that water seven miles out into the Pacific Ocean, at a lo$$, and purchase dirtier water, lacking the stigma.

Cry, "Treason!"