While most animals know not to defecate where they eat, that logic seems to elude the human race when it comes to getting rid of its own waste (“City studies turning biosolids into power,” March 28, 2018).
Known as “biosolids” after a carefully calibrated public relations campaign in the 1980s to make sewage sludge more palatable, the waste was dumped off the coast of New Jersey for decades. After creating a dead zone in the ocean, big environmental groups and the Environmental Protection Agency then “legalized” the land application of sewage sludge on cropland.
That hasn’t turned out particularly well - with a range of alleged health impacts, including the death of several children that many experts have attributed to land application. But the more important takeaway is this: The waste stream contains everything that anyone flushes down a toilet or a sink; and all we keep doing is shifting those toxics into different medium. First, into the water, then the soil, and now into the air.
Perhaps it’s time for Spokane to become the first municipality in the nation to detoxify its waste stream by prohibiting the dumping and flushing of toxics into the waste system at their household and industrial sources.