Suck it down
May 18, 2005 9:44 PM   Subscribe

Two great tastes that taste great together. Are you a scat fan? Well, Congress will soon vote on a bipartisan measure that would block the EPA from allowing sewage blending. Scientists & environmentalists gave BushCo some flak on this, but notice how bipartisan the bill is: it's sponsored by Bart Stupak (D-MI) as well as Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) The whitehouse site yielded inconclusive results (searched for sewage blending) This issue first caught my attention on another site (rhymes with 'bark') and I discovered it matters, at least to me, because people crap in my drinking water all the time and apparently the municipal waste treatment systems aren't handling it.
posted by Smedleyman (11 comments total)
hate to post and run, but I gotta doss.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:46 PM on May 18, 2005

Shit post.
posted by mazola at 10:11 PM on May 18, 2005

What got me is the report said About 60 billion gallons of waste flowed through Milwaukee's treatment system last year. I had to figure that out. That is equivalent to a cube of sewage measuring 2,000 ft to a side. And that's just Milwaukee.

You could fill Brewers Stadium with sewage once every week and still have some left over.
posted by rolypolyman at 10:33 PM on May 18, 2005

You could fill Brewers Stadium with sewage once every week and still have some left over.

I'm not a baseball fan, but I think that's called a "doubleheader".
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:42 PM on May 18, 2005

Rolypolyman, it may be the whiskey, but that is awesome.
posted by Mr_Zero at 12:24 AM on May 19, 2005

Blending that would cause the discharge of pollutants not in compliance with the terms of the NPDES permit is and would remain illegal

I don't know a lot about sewer technology, but it seems like a legit problem that storm-drains overflow the sewers when it rains in run-down sewer districts. This isn't a new problem, seems like the natural solution to allow limited discharge instead of f'ng up the whole system and creating a larger untreated discharge.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:49 AM on May 19, 2005

The problem of combined storm and sewer systems is a large one -- and there isn't an easy answer. Chicago's is TARP -- a extensive system built deep under the city to hold overflow until it can be treated.

It works. But it is huge -- Mainstream, the first large tunnel bored, is 35' in diameter, 240 to 350 feet underground, and alone can hold over a billion gallons of wastewater. Total system capacity is over 15 billion gallons.

But the costs! Started in 1970, they only finished the tunnels last year, and they are still working on it.

Can't argue with the results. The Chicago River isn't a sewer anymore. Water that was used to dilute sewage is now going to surrounding counties, who also use TARP as overflow storage. Environmentally, it is a big win, but give the budget issues invovled, it is going to be difficult to recreate TARP under all the large cities in the Great Lakes watershed.

Chicago's geology is another factor -- it is an ideal area for deep tunneling (but a lousy one for shallow tunnels, which is why Chicago has the El, and only build subways late, when the water control issue was solved. Well, somewhat solved, keeping the State St. and Dearborn St. Subways dry is an ongoing fight.

(Uker's: Subway = Tube. In Chicago, Pedway = Subway, but that's a local usage. There's no general equivalent term.)
posted by eriko at 5:01 AM on May 19, 2005

Great post.
posted by NickDouglas at 6:30 AM on May 19, 2005

The tunnel thing is fascinating. Between New York's new water-delivery tunnels, Chicago's sewage-storage tunnels, etc, I'm really starting to wonder just how many super-sized tunnels there are, where they're built, and how big they are.

If what we know publically of tunnels is anything like what we know publically of satellite cameras, the leading edge is a lot, lot further on than we expect.

F'rinstance, maybe it's true the Denver airport has a massive tunnel system miles below. Maybe it's true the ICBM silo system is all interconnected below. Maybe there is a hole dug all the way to China...
posted by five fresh fish at 10:20 AM on May 19, 2005

Well, shit.
posted by cortex at 10:22 AM on May 19, 2005

Some towns in the Chi Burbs want to keep their wells. Maybe they're not the misguided rustics they appear to be.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:40 PM on May 19, 2005

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