Toilet Talk

Host Jim Jordan and I at The Island School

Flush only when necessary

When I go to the bathroom, I think of the Bahamas. Visiting the lovely Island School on Eleuthera a few years ago, I was instructed to conserve water by flushing only feces. The urine could stay put. When I got home from that trip, I started doing the same thing, and by now I have saved thousands of flushes! You can, too.

Instead of a small island, think of the continental islands we live on and your 7 billion neighbors who do their “business” every day. Even if they only flush once, that’s 7 billion flushes a day. Not everyone has a toilet, of course, but you start to get the picture that sewage is serious.

Eventually everything ends up in the ocean. Excess fertilizer, the oil that drips from our cars, and every flush of the toilet goes downstream, so to speak. Some of the U.S.’s sewage gets dumped directly into the ocean, and these massive pipes are called outfalls. California has had major problems with them, and South Florida alone had six operating until a coalition (Reef Rescue) got one in Palm Beach County shut down in 2009. A 2008 state law says that all of them must go by 2025. Resistance can be expected.

Happy flushing, or not. And check this out:

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