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Recycling sewage into drinking water: a unique tale of Namibia

The Goreangab water treatment plant uses a process that partially mimics nature to turn sewage from Winhoek's 300,000 residents back into potable water. It opened in 1968 and was the first such plant in the world.

Cities around the world are wrestling with whether they should build facilities like this. But here, in the middle of a desert in a remote corner of southern Africa, they’ve been recycling wastewater for almost 50 years.

It’s cutting-edge technology, but it’s based on the humblest of creatures — bacteria.

The recycling process begins with a conventional sewage treatment system. But at the point where processed sewage would normally be discharged into a waterway, the Goreangab plant sends it through additional steps that purify it to drinking water standards.

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