Sewers Re-Visited

The way we handle sewage will seem quaint in the future. Right now, all of the toilets in a city are interconnected by a vast sewage system. We ship shit miles. It is a crazy crap circuit. The subway of shit is ridiculously expensive. The sultan of smell is the foundation of our cities. We build large infrastructure to handle enormous amounts of excreta. The underbelly of our cities are full of arteries of crap. Nothing has changed since the ancient Romans invented this system.

The current sewage system does not work very well. Although a lot of the bacteria is gone from treated sewage when it is returned to the water system of rivers and lakes, there is still a lot of pollutants. Treated water from sewage has a whole pharmaceutical cornucopia of prescription drugs that pass through our bodies and into our lakes.

With so many people taking birth control pills, estrogen level in lakes is increasing, affecting the reproductive ability of fish. Phosphates from soaps fertilize lakes and turn them into algae cesspools. And there are thousands of other compounds that are concentrated by sewage systems and released into the ecosystem. Solid matter from sewage treatment plants used as fertilizers is so laden with chemicals, that it actually kills earthworms in the soil. There has got to be a better way. And there is.

Technology will come to the rescue. Each dwelling, be it house or apartment or public building with have its own sewage treatment system. Solid waste will get the methane taken out and shunted to a fuel cell to produce energy. That energy will be used to recover the water through reverse osmosis making it completely pure.

The left over solids and chemical compounds will use some of the energy created from the methane recovery to denature organic compounds like pharmaceuticals to render them harmless. The solids then will be treated for chemical recovery and recycling and the truly organic matter left over will be composted with a cocktail of genetically modified bacteria to digest it and make it safe.

The technology for a better, less expensive sewage system is already in place, but large corporations would rather do research on creating a better Viagra than by solving everyday problems. There is more money in sex than there is in crap.

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