Matier & Ross report on a frightening and malodorous problem caused by San Francisco's low-flow toilets, and it's costing the city millions of dollars. Behold:
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.
In addition to remodeling the city's sewer plants and sewer system, which cost around $100 million, officials are now turning to the awesome (and environmentally unsound?) cleaning power of bleach to help combat the stench.
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.
This raises the question, are low-flow toilets worth the trouble? Probably. Matier & Ross go on to point out that the troublesome toilets "have helped trim San Francisco's annual water consumption by about 20 million gallons."