Wednesday, March 2, 2011

San Fransisco Smells

I was amused to read about the problem San Fransisco is having with its sewage system. Several years, ago the tree huggers there started giving rebates to anyone who would install a low flow toilet - one that uses less water to flush. Evidently the program was a huge success. The program "saved" 20 million gallons of water.

The program had unfortunate consequences, however. With less water flowing in the sewers, the transport of fecal material was impaired. Lower water volume means lower water velocity in the pipes which means less turbulence and that allows solid particles to drop out of the flow stream. The "stuff" builds up in the pipes and just sits there instead of going to the neighborhood sewage treatment plant.

And the citizens are beginning to smell the consequences of their environmental efforts. Now the city is going to spend $100 million to upgrade treatment plants and another $14 million on bleach to disinfect the pipes.

Good job, San Fransisco. Too bad you really didn't know your "stuff"!

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