Getting Minds Out of the Sewer

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Science  10 Aug 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6095, pp. 679-680
DOI: 10.1126/science.337.6095.679

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Technologically speaking, it's no huge feat to turn water contaminated with human waste into a usable resource. A report earlier this year by the National Research Council of the U.S. National Academies found that wastewater reuse could provide up to 27% of the public water supply in coastal communities in the United States. But getting communities to accept such projects often isn't easy. That's because—whatever the science says—winning people over involves the delicate work of overcoming deep-seated psychological barriers and cultural taboos surrounding human waste.