10.13.11Alan Harris


Pristine WaterCrystal blue, clear water. What could be more beautiful?

Long before the Internet and eBay, the selling and reselling of used goods has been a popular way to recycle what we no longer wanted or needed.  The prices of used goods are driven by how much someone else would pay for your discarded items.  Sometimes, in the case of junk we have to pay people to haul it away and dispose of it.

So I pose the question, “How much will you pay for a used item you need?” What about if it was used more than once, twice or three times?  Eventually if items are around long enough they can become an antique and can become even more valuable.  So how much would you pay for something that has been around for a really, really, really long time and has changed hands countless times?

Of course the condition and handling of said item may affect the price.  Say for instance the item had been stored in a septic tank or at the bottom of the sea, the price and certainly the condition might reflect in the price.  Or say it tumbled down a mountain in free fall for a hundred feet or even fell from the sky for tens of thousands of feet, how much would you pay?

Unlike petroleum, of which we have a limited supply and can only be used once, water is a constant supply and is used over and over and over again.  While the price of water is relatively cheap (compared to gas, milk and other liquids we purchase) when you consider how many times the same drop of water potentially has been sold and resold over the centuries it could be considered priceless.

“Why this curious blog”, you ask?  I am cheap and don’t want to pay for what one day will be perfectly fine water to be hauled away.  So if there are any interested buyers my septic tank needs to be pumped …or would that be classified as junk?

No worries, I am sure someone out there, some day, some where will eventually end up buying and drinking the water pumped from my septic tank.  Maybe it will end up in a bottle of Dasani or Aquafina.

If you liked this post, please share it with a friend, leave a comment, check out my previous posts and follow me on Twitter @h20Matters.


P.S. Since I wrote this post there has been an update from @SmartPlanet (for Tweeps) about how sewage can be used to fuel our cars. This could come in handy on long trips and who knows maybe my septic sludge will end up in a Bentley.

P.P.S. Charles Fishman calls this the Yuck factor in “The Big Thirst”. Professor Haddad at the University of California, Santa Cruz goes into more detail on NPR.

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Alan Harris

Alan Harris is a water management pioneer. With roots in landscape architecture, Alan has worked with irrigation throughout his career experimenting with hydrozones and a variety of high efficiency irrigation systems. Now, over thirty years in the landscape industry, Alan continues to stay apprised of the latest technology even in a sales leadership capacity as our National Sales Operations Support Manager and Regional Sales Leader for our landscape maintenance division.



  1. Thursday, 11:31 Martha Golea

    Now THAT’S a different way of looking at things! I love it.
    Ironically, my husband- who doesn’t like the taste of Phoenix tap water (it is pretty nasty, I’ll admit)- is completely supportive of the toilet-to-tap concept and would rather pay for recycled wastewater than drink the tap water that comes to us from various lakes and canals. He knows that recycled water gets treated to an even cleaner state than “original” water and figures it will taste better. The yuck factor is lost on him!

  2. Friday, 10:34 Alan Harris

    @Martha your husband passed the first test in order to be a resident on the space station where all their water is “certified pre-owned”

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