Really, one day is not enough to explore the wonderful world of turds. I think today is ALSO Poop Day. To keep in touch with the *ahem* movement, please note the brand new Poop Power tag.
Mark Powell of blogfish pointed me towards the cutest anthropomorphized poop of all time – Mr. Floatie of Victora, BC. Mr. Floatie is the spokespoop for POOP (People Opposed to Outfall Pollution). Apparently the sewage of lovely Victoria only goes through a 6 mm screen before being dumped directly into the ocean, and Mr. Floatie is tired of his comrades being so cruelly drowned before their time. He wants loving, snuggly, warm treatment for all his poop brethren.
Perhaps Mr. Floatie should visit San Diego. We are the only city in California to treat our sewage to the primary level. This means that the chunks are removed, the fats (like cooking grease) are skimmed off, and the solid bits (like coffee grounds) are allowed to settle out, but there is no treatment of the biological content of the sewage. So all the bacteria and organic matter get dumped directly into the ocean via the Point Loma outfall, which is three miles and 350 feet of water out to sea.
Several SIO scientists have found no widespread ecological ramifications of this outfall, in either the plankton or the kelp forest. Southern California is fortunate enough to have a naturally very high-nutrient environment, so we don’t have the eutrophication problems of the East Coast. (Eutrophication is when nutrients cause massive algae blooms, which die, sink to the bottom, and rot. The respiration of the bacteria doing the rotting sucks all the oxygen out of the water, killing everything that can’t swim away.)
I don’t think it’s necessary that San Diego institute a billion dollar upgrade right away, but they really ought to have a plan to upgrade. This is just embarrassing. And that 21st century sewage plan MUST include water reclamation. We import our freshwater from thousands of miles away, use it, then throw it into the ocean. That is ridiculous, especially considering that the water we get has already been pooped in (and treated) by every upstream city, and we don’t mind that. Why should we mind one more round of treatment?
San Diego’s population is estimated to increase 30% by 2020 – what are these people going to drink? Are we going to drain the Colorado and line the coast with desalination plants? And how much more people’s poo (and detergent, and personal care products) can the ocean absorb? Clearly, this is a job that calls for Mr. Floatie. Maybe he has some kind of Batman-style beacon that we can beam from Point Loma.