Sunday, June 03, 2007

Crappy Gowanus Issue: Not Enough Innovation in Sewage Treatment

Gowanus Dirty

The author of Poop Culture, whose publication we noted last month, emailed us to note that his current blog entry might be of interest in terms of our Gowanus coverage. After all, he writes, "I'm a Gowanus-based writer and we all know the Gowanus' sewage issues." The Gowanus' sewage issues, in case you haven't been keeping track, are the crap flows directly into the canal when it rain because sewage and storm water runoff share the same system. In any case, the Poop Culture Blog writes about some of the reasons we continue to drown in crap--well, at least, to allow crap to pollute our waterways:
By the time World War I rolled around, most American cities could boast tremendous sewer networks. Sewage treatment, however, wasn’t part of the picture — most sewers simply outflowed into the nearest waterway. And you can imagine how America’s waterways stank. Congress began seriously funding sewage treatment research in the fifties, but it wasn’t until the seventies when the government finally decided that a civilized society is one that manages its waste.

Since then, America has invested $250 billion into its sewage infrastructure, typically building on centralized plants based around primary and secondary treatments. And while this 1950s and 60s-era process does an adequate job of separating waste from water (and more recent tertiary treatment helps further cleanse it), this process is expensive, land-intensive, energy-hungry, and glisteningly ripe for innovation.

But there hasn’t been any incentive to innovate...estimated 80-100 gallons of water, two quarts of urine, and half pound of poop flowing inexorably from every single person in their district every single day...The public only cares that its poop disappears. Once that toilet flushes, no one wants to think of it ever again — and woe betide the person who forces them to do so.

So, read the full blog entry and, if you're anywhere remotely near the Gowanus, don't flush your toilet during the forecast tropical rains this evening and tomorrow. If you do, it's going into the Big G.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

hummm.....well then by all emans let the Manhattan Wall Steet / Madiscn Ave Yuppies buy shiney new expesnive condos next to a canal of POOP....humm now they can live next to shit not just make it or talk it.....lovely ..a grand idea

10:30 AM  

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