It isn’t easy being Green

As Kermit the frog used to sing, it isn’t easy being green. In a short article from the San Francisco Chronicle it seems the city’s push to have low flow toilets installed has caused some unintended consequences.

San_Francisco’s big push for low-flow toilets has turned into a multimillion-dollar plumbing stink. Skimping on toilet water has resulted in more sludge backing up inside the sewer pipes, said Tyrone Jue, spokesman for the city Public Utilities Commission. That has created a rotten-egg stench near AT&T Park and elsewhere, especially during the dry summer months.

The city has already spent $100 million over the past five years to upgrade its sewer system and sewage plants, in part to combat the odor problem.

Now officials are stocking up on a $14 million, three-year supply of highly concentrated sodium hypochlorite – better known as bleach – to act as an odor eater and to disinfect the city’s treated water before it’s dumped into the bay. It will also be used to sanitize drinking water.

That translates into 8.5 million pounds of bleach either being poured down city drains or into the drinking water supply every year.

Not everybody thinks it’s a good idea.

A “Don’t Bleach Our Bay” alert has just gone out from eco-blogger Adam Lowry who argues the city would be much better off using a disinfectant like hydrogen peroxide – or better yet, a solution that would naturally break down the bacteria.

As for whether the supposedly environmentally friendly, low-flow toilets are worth the trouble? Well, according to Jue, they have helped trim San Francisco’s annual water consumption by about 20 million gallons.

I’m guessing that the 20 million gallons of water they saved was worth less than the $100 Million that was spent upgrading the sewer system!  This is typical of what happens when the politicians push through an agenda without out understanding the engineering behind the what they are trying to accomplish.  Save water, sure.  Low flow toilets, a good way to save water.  But when they mandate that everyone install low flow toilets and now your sewer system doesn’t work…..oh well, just spend some tax dollars and fix it!  What do you think?

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