Poop Tour

August 23, 2010

My friend Jacki organized a field trip to the wastewater treatment plant in Redwood Shores last week.

I thought you might be interested in some highlights from our stinky adventure. First of all, let me just tell you, once is enough. I feel no need to go back. That being said, I’m so glad that I went. And, I’m glad that my kids got to see it.

Above, the kids look down into the settling tank. This is where the solid and liquid waste is separated.

These signs were posted throughout the facility. None of us were tempted.

The tank above is where the liquid waste was aerated and mixed.

Our guide told us about all the tests which are run on the waste water before it is released back into San Francisco Bay.

Below are some take-aways for me:

– Treating waste water is very resource intensive. Lots of people, chemicals and energy are involved.

– The release of heavy metals into the Bay is regulated. Pharmaceuticals are not regulated. For me, this was very disturbing.

– Solid waste goes to the landfill. I’m not sure where I thought that it went, but indeed it does go into the landfill.

– The right way to dispose of unused pharmaceuticals is to grind them up and put them in the trash.

I’ll be organizing a tour of Ox Mountain, which is our landfill in Half Moon Bay soon. Will let you know how it goes.

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4 Responses to “Poop Tour”

  1. Diane Says:

    “Do Not Drink This Water.”

    Heh. Great advice. There was a mountain lion spotted recently in the city where I live, and residents were offered the following helpful advice:

    “Do Not Attempt to Pet the Mountain Lion.”

  2. Denise Says:

    Hi Robin,

    Yes, it’s true that pharmaceuticals should not be flushed. In San Mateo County pharmaceuticals are collected for disposal. Here’s the link to a listing of disposal drop off sites.
    http://www.co.sanmateo.ca.us/portal/site/health/menuitem.f44138fe5f6ec63d74452b31d17332a0/?vgnextoid=8c635069590a0210VgnVCM1000001d37230aRCRD&cpsextcurrchannel=1
    I don’t know how they are disposed of but I’m hoping for the best. I have a call in to the County and I’ll leave a comment when I hear back.

  3. Denise Says:

    Pharms dropped at county drop boxes are incinerated. Now, that’s a whole other can of worms! I’m interested in your POV about that, if you have one.


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