5.5 million pounds of Sh!t / day – Los Angeles

5.5 million pounds of Sh!t / day – Los Angeles
I have a friend that told me once you can tell a lot about people by their bathroom.  He began to explain that the bathroom is a filthy place.  Most people hate to clean this part of their home, yet ironically it is the part we bath ourselves in. He said, ‘if a person has a clean bathroom then the rest of their house is set to a high standard of living.’  The reasoning being, if they understand the necessity of keeping this section extremely clean then the other parts are maintained equally.  This implies a high standard of living by the occupants.

The Los Angeles River

Looking around my hometown of Los Angeles I see many oportunites to improve the waste removal systems.  Here in Los Angeles we are fortunate to have first world water treatment plants.  If not could you imagine the amount of sewage floating around?  The average human fecal sample weighs in at 8.8oz.  The current census for Los Angeles in 2010 is 9,818,605 people.  This means that approximately 5.5 millions pounds of human waste are produced each day through Los Angeles sewers.  In our 21st century world, most of us give no thought to the details of dealing with this huge issue.  Even though we have very good treatment plants, there are still reports that raw sewage has spilled into the Pacific Ocean of Southern California.  A secondary system deals with water runoff from the city.  The Los Angeles river is the main drain of runoff water to the ocean.  That means when it rains all the dirt, animal waste, and oil are washed directly into the ocean.  As a logical action then, the city of Los Angeles should install policies to every business owner and citizen to what waste is allowable to release into the environment.  This is the only way to control what pollutints are released.

Around the world there are many people that die, mostly children, due to raw sewage mixing  in the local water.  This is not an unsolvable riddle for us anymore, sanitary water conditions save lives; so why does unsanitary water still exist in the world?

CSO Sewer

In our own country, an old type of sewer called a combined sewer, channels raw sewage and run off water down the same pipe.  At a certain point, the run off is released into a river, lake, or ocean, and the raw sewage is routed to a POTW ( Public Owned Treatment Works).  The problems arise during large overflows between dry and wet seasons.  This becomes a big health risk for raw sewage is spilled into rivers and oceans untreated.  About 772 communities use a combined sewer system in the United States which severs about 40 million people.

As a 21st century nation, the thinking must start form the bottom up.  The society must recognize the impact of having such a large population on the planet, starting with how it deals with its own waste.  Regardless of how filthy or embarising  the issue may be, it is something that can cause huge effects to the people and environment.  If there are better ways to deal with our own waste we should act, regardless of the price.  If we as a nation are going to step into the next tier of evolution we must look at how we deal with waste.  As a species we have grown to levels that cannot be balanced by nature alone.  As a highly evolved animal I would like to believe that people set a very high standard of living for themselves.  This standard is taken from the minimum level to preserve a healthy safe society.  A culture that manages the removal of its own waste with little to no impact to the environment, while maintaining a high level of health for its inhabitents is an enlightened culture .  The inner working of ecosystems and preservation to the integrity to all systems of the planet are the new axioms of such a world.

Written by Erik Niel

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