Recycled water systems ripple out in Bay Area

The “whoosh” of the toilet at the new Rite Aid in north San Rafael sounds like any other.

But there’s one big difference. Unlike just about every other commode around California and the United States, it doesn’t use drinking-quality water.

Rather, the water swirling in this basin is recycled – highly treated wastewater from the Marin Municipal Water District’s Las Gallinas plant 2 miles away. Cleaned to what water quality manager Bob Castle calls “swimming pool” standards, the water, instead of flowing into the bay, is carried through separate pipes to restroom stalls in the drugstore – the 22nd “dual-plumbed” building in Marin County, the most in the state behind Irvine.

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