Revenge of the low-flow toilets
Hydrogen peroxide, that common chemical used in your home to disinfect cuts and scrapes or put to work when you add ‘oxy’ powder to your laundry to whiten whites, is equally effective and produces none of the downstream issues of chlorine bleach. It is being used cost effectively today to treat sewage odor in many places in the United States, such as Boston and Miami, as well as internationally in Germany and France.An even better choice would to use a pro-biotic solution, that is, enzymes or bacteria that would simply ‘eat’ the smell then degrade harmlessly. Used correctly, they could even be used to prevent the problem from occurring again by restoring the healthy balance of microbes in our sewer system.Using sodium hypochlorite, commonly known as bleach, is the equivalent of using a sledgehammer to crack an egg; it's the wrong tool, and it will cause irreversible collateral damage.
Officials claim that the stink has been made worse by the increase in the number of installed low-flow toilets, which reduce the amount of water in the sewage system that otherwise would dilute the smell. It is a tragic irony that the city's plan to address a nuisance created by positive conservation efforts is to pollute our water system with toxic chemicals.Such a toxic shock to our system would render our sewage eternally dependent on chemicals to treat this problem, not to mention damage our system by corroding our sewage pipes. A redesign of our system is needed.Why are we using 19th century chemistry to combat a 21st century problem? Is San Francisco not in the cradle of clean tech innovation? Other cities are already using better solutions today, and they are simple and cost effective.
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