Low-Flush Toilets: The San Francisco Treat?
Nicolas Loris /
San Francisco’s environmentally friendly low-flush toilets are doing what they’re supposed to do: save water. The toilets reduced the city’s annual water use by 20 million gallons, but they have had the unintended consequence of causing sewage problems. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
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.