Friday, October 21, 2005

Deer Island: More than just a bunch of giant eggs

Continuing in my theme of human waste (and my fascination thereof):

I'm taking an environmental earth science class (12.102) this semester, so my mind has been bobbing and churning around a myriad of resource conservation issues as of late. My professor, the notorious Sam Bowring, claims that although everyone is worried about looming fossil fuel shortage, the potentially more disastrous issue is water. Water is deceiving because living in certain parts of the country (everywhere I've lived: the Pacific Northwest, the Northeast) it is easy to be fooled by the impression that the supply of fresh water is unlimited. Obviously, it isn't unlimited and water is a non-renewable resource (which is why I'm talking about this in the first place).

But, bringing things back to human fecal matter:

Another reason I never really gave water conservation a second thought is because I assumed that water treatment facilities were good enough that we can basically purify any water we use. Well, this is true. Sewage treatment facilities (like Deer Island in the Boston Harbor) can produce amazingly clean water. But that treated water is just dumped into the ocean because of social taboos. (I.e., people don't want to drink water that came from sewage, even if it is cleaner than water we get out of aquifers.)

So I just wanted to say: I would drink the water. Just like I'd drink the water from the magic (ok, so it's not really magic) urine purification machine I saw at Glenn this summer. The water on our planet is all part of a water cycle, so even the "clean" water we get from ground sources wasn't always clean. Sheesh.

Ok, so maybe this post wasn't that revolutionary. I just...don't get why we would go through all the trouble of purifying water just to, essentially, through it away. (It takes a lot of energy to purify salt water into drinkable water.)

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