In Frisco, Revenge of the Low-Flow Toilet

by Greg Pollowitz

The law of unintended consequences strikes San Francisco:

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.

Pouring bleach into the bay sounds kind of dangerous to me. Maybe somebody should sue the city and demand say a ten-year environmental-impact study on the effects of adding that much bleach to the environment. I’m sure all those Nancy Pelosi voters prefer the smell to this bleach plan, which might kill a fish or something.