Our theme for November is 'Sanitation'
World Toilet Day is this month, on Sunday 19th, so we have chosen as our theme for November: SANITATION.
Modern municipal sewage systems waste large amounts of water. According to Water Wise, "there are around 45 million toilets in UK homes, using an estimated two billion litres of fresh water every day".
Here at the Pump House Environment Centre, we have a large tank that collects rain water that is used to flush the downstairs toilets. During dry spells, the tank is topped up from the mains water supply. We also have water-saving devices on taps throughout the building. These regulate the flow of water, to reduce water loss. They are also drip-free, and they turn off automatically. And all our toilets (you'll find them on the ground floor) are fitted with low-volume flushes. They use 4 litres per flush, compared to the 8 litres used by most toilets.
Our water harvesting tank is just one of the environmentally friendly technologies we have here at the Pump House. For more information, follow this link.
In addition to wasting water, flushing toilets remove the protein, energy and other resources from the food chain, encouraging the use of artificial fertilisers, and utilising huge resources in waste treatment. These problems can be overcome, without risking waterborne infections, by using composting toilet systems. The simplest and most popular version involves adding sawdust or some other dry organic matter on top of the human waste in a bucket or tank, to absorb moisture and mask the smell. But more sophisticated composting toilets can be built into houses or public buildings, and have a storage and treatment tank under the floor.
Images courtesy of Wikipedia.
What not to flush!
Much of what finds its way into our sewage system should not be there. Wet wipes and cooking oils are the best examples, but increasingly, plastics are finding their way in, too. Check out this page for more information and why it is a problem.
This remarkable video features the modern sewage system of New York city, and is a real eye opener. It is 23 minutes long, so grab a cup of your favourite beverage and a snack and sit back and marvel at the scale of human sanitation in a large, modern city.