Did California approve Bill Gates' plan to make residents drink their own feces? No, that's not true: A headline by The People's Voice grossly misrepresents the regulations that were approved by California's State Water Board on December 19, 2023. The recycled wastewater would meet or exceed current drinking water standards, and the regulations have nothing to do with billionaire Gates.
California lawmakers have approved a new Bill Gates scheme to force residents to drink their own feces by dumping sewage back into the drinking water supply.'The California State Water Resources Control Board voted to approve regulations that would streamline "direct potable reuse" (DPR) -- a method by which purified wastewater is released right into a public water system or just upstream from a treatment plant,' The Hill reports.
This is how the article appeared at the time of writing:
The California regulations for the water recycling process known as direct potable reuse is an entirely different thing than the Janicki Omni Processor, a waste treatment system designed for use in the developing world that grabbed headlines in 2015 with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The photo of Bill Gates drinking from a cup of water that appears at the top of The People's Voice article is from a video appearing in a January 5, 2015, blogpost in GatesNotes about the Janicki Omni Processor. That specific waste treatment system was designed for the needs of developing countries. The incineration of sewage sludge produces steam, which generates electricity and is also reclaimed as clean water -- but it is incorrect to conflate this system with direct potable reuse (DPR), which is the subject of California's newly approved regulations for wastewater treatment protocols.
A December 19, 2023, media release (.PDF here) from the California Water Boards announced that regulations were approved for wastewater treatment protocols that include the process of direct potable reuse. Another process already deployed in the state, indirect potable reuse (IPR), uses recycled wastewater to replenish either surface reservoirs or groundwater basins. The media release announced:
The board's unanimous vote gives California the most advanced standards in the nation for treating wastewater to such an extent that the finished product meets or exceeds current drinking water standards. Known as direct potable reuse, the process will enable water systems throughout the state to generate a climate-resilient water source while reducing the amount of wastewater discharged to rivers and the ocean. In fact, recycling water allows water systems to add millions of gallons of additional drinking water to their supplies over time while avoiding costlier and more energy intensive water supplies.
The People's Voice claims California would be "dumping sewage back into the drinking water supply." This is not true. The recycled wastewater has already been through the water treatment process. Lead Stories reached out by email to the California State Water Resources Control Board for further clarification and received a reply on December 20, 2023, from Public Information Officer Blair Robertson. He explained:
The treated water would meet or exceed the current standards for drinking water in California and, with these new regulations, it could go directly into the drinking water supply. Some water systems may choose to put the treated water into a raw water supply, but it would not be necessary.
The People's Voice has a lengthy record of publishing false stories in the past. It describes itself as a resource "comprised of various web pages operated by Fact Checked Limited," but it has nothing to do with fact checking.
As of this writing, its website contained a liability disclaimer, saying:
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Additional Lead Stories fact checks debunking false claims from The People's Voice can be found here.