Monday, February 28, 2011

Ignoring The Flow of Information

San Francisco is always bragging about how it's in the vanguard of social change, whether for gay marriage, banning Happy Meal toys, or what have you. One of local environmentalists' crowning glories has been their successful effort to force everyone to convert (or die, I assume) to low-flow toilets years before the rest of the country did. Now, we are learning the horrific consequences of being so hip.

San Francisco's big push for low-flow toilets has turned into a multimillion-dollar plumbing stink.

Skimping on toilet water has resulted in more sludge backing up inside the sewer pipes, said Tyrone Jue, spokesman for the city Public Utilities Commission. That has created a rotten-egg stench near AT&T Park and elsewhere, especially during the dry summer months.

The city has already spent $100 million over the past five years to upgrade its sewer system and sewage plants, in part to combat the odor problem.

Now officials are stocking up on a $14 million, three-year supply of highly concentrated sodium hypochlorite - better known as bleach - to act as an odor eater and to disinfect the city's treated water before it's dumped into the bay. It will also be used to sanitize drinking water.

That translates into 8.5 million pounds of bleach either being poured down city drains or into the drinking water supply every year.

I swear. While conservatives in other parts of the country can go to Tea Party rallies, and even vote for a solid candidate like Rand Paul or Jim DeMint, San Francisco conservatives have to content ourselves with running out into the streets, arms waving madly, yelling "Stop! Stop! For, God's sake, just STOP for five minutes!" The City says 20 million gallons of water have been "saved" by this, which must not account for the fact that the men's room toilets at my office require at least two flushes to, uh, complete the circle of life. If you know what I mean.

You'd think this would cause red-faced local Greens to reconsider their endless efforts to tinker with the environment as being the cause of more trouble than whatever good comes from their pitiful little schemes. But, no, they're gearing up to object to the use of bleach to cover up the smell.
A Don't Bleach Our Bay alert has just gone out from eco-blogger Adam Lowry who argues the city would be much better off using a disinfectant like hydrogen peroxide - or better yet, a solution that would naturally break down the bacteria.
That's how it goes when you seek perfection. When your plans fail, you'll have a lifetime sinecure in tinkering.

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