Why do we poo in our fresh drinking water?

With the scarcity of clean drinking water in the world, why do we still poo in our fresh drinking water? Modern sanitation has wiped out diseases and stuff, and it’s convenient to poo in a toilet, flush, and have a stream of water wisk our load away  quickly out of sight.  But this system was developed when clean water was an endless resource, and times have changed.

Here’s a few things for thought leaders to mull about.

1. We could use gray water instead of fresh water exclusively for toilet flushing. We’d need some system to divert shower, laundry, or sink water to our toilet storage tank(s).  How about some capable problem solvers who’d take this thought and turn it into a frugal possibility for the average homeowner?

2.  We could install a composting toilet for a second bathroom.  We’re a one bathroom home, which lends itself occasionally to 4 people crammed together trying to shower, poo, brush teeth, and shave at the same time (the toothbrusher inevitably moves to the kitchen sink).  It would be a convenience to have a second bathroom, but the expense and not knowing where to put it has always been a bain to action.  However, I’ve seen composting toilets available that look like they might work, as long as the users follow the directions so the composting part works.  I also like the idea of internal fans to dry things out quickly so there’s no smell (or no more smell than happens in a traditional bathroom – where matches come to the rescue.) We’d of course have to figure out how to provide privacy, because setting a composting toilet in the middle of our basement office/laundry room won’t  cut it.

In fact, composting waste is traditionally a more sound way of processing waste than combing waste with fresh drinking water:

a. Composting allows natural enzyme processes, worms, or whatever to decompose waste, turning it into food for plants.

b. Adding waste to fresh drinking water means you have to send the waste through all this infrustructure to some plant, which then has to separate the waste from the water, and treat the water with chemicals, and who knows what happens to the solid waste at that point.  It’s a lot more steps, a lot more cost, a lot more energy used in our current system.  I think we can do better.

I ‘m not an engineer.  My musings above are soley for thought leaders to ponder the question “Why do we poo in our fresh drinking water?”  to get the question into the discussion stream so we can think of, and then implement, a better way.

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