Monday, November 03, 2003

Fast moving poop
I cannot figure this one out:
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration is shifting policy so cities and towns can skip a required treatment procedure for sewage they pump into rivers, lakes and coastal waters during high rains.

All I can figure is it must be the speed; when water is at high flood and moving fast, it’s okay to put poop in it, but when water is moving slow it’s not okay to put poop in it.

The rationale of the EPA seems to be that utilities shouldn’t have to bear the cost of treating extra water during storms. It might make some sense if they were allowing the treatment plants separate storm drain water and actual raw sewage. Treating poop is more important than treating runoff. If the runoff threatens to overwhelm the sewage treatment, then it would make sense to vent some of the runoff and keep treating all of the poop. That’s not what the new guidelines say. The new guide lines allow water treatment utilities to just start skipping treatment steps at peak times and dump diluted poop into rivers.

But perhaps they’ve overlooked something here. When rivers flood during storms they not only go faster, they rise and break free of where we would rather their banks were. This means poop filled water gets in yards, basements, cars, offices, and wells. I know the only science this administration cares about is bookkeeping, but I think it might be in all of our interests if someone explained to them where cholera comes from. And as long as they are in an explaining mood they might mention what the “P” in EPA stands for.

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