While treated wastewater has a fifty year history of use for irrigation and industrial uses, its use for tap water is spreading, albeit slowly. Through the lens of San Diego's successes with the practice, "where only 12 years ago the City Council recoiled from the toilet-to-tap concept," Barringer examines whether improved technology and education can overcome the "yuck factor" associated with drinking treated wastewater.
Concerns with scarcity and the results of effective educational and outreach campaigns conspired to change opinions in San Diego.
"The change of heart found voice on the editorial page of The San Diego Union-Tribune, a onetime opponent, in an editorial titled 'The Yuck Factor: Get Over It.' That sentiment was echoed in a cartoon on a California public radio blog depicting a dog with its nose in a toilet.
The caption? 'Ten million dogs can't be wrong.'"