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    Sewage salvation


    Employees of PAWS, Inc., have created a lovely office-side
    retreat: fish-filled ponds with bulrushes and tropical flowers. And
    they keep it alive every time they flush. Jim Davis, the boss and
    creator of Garfield, the cartoon cat, ordained this sewage disposal
    system after finding conventional systems ecologically unacceptable
    for his rural Indiana Garfield HQ, reports Harrowsmith Country
    Life
    . Inspired by the pioneering work of John Todd and others
    at the New Alchemy Institute, the solar-aquatic filtration system
    uses snails, water hyacinths, and bacteria to digest wastes and
    transform 8,500 gallons of wastewater into wetlands fuel every
    week.

    Davis isn’t alone. Individual homeowners, neighborhoods, and
    large municipalities are adopting the technique. In Arcata,
    California, sewage is treated through a wetlands system that
    doubles as a public park and salmon hatchery. This chemical-free
    approach is also considerably cheaper to build and maintain than
    traditional systems.

    Perhaps these enticing economics will divert sewage from another
    controversial conventional treatment. Many municipalities sell
    sewage sludge??or ‘biosolids’??as fertilizer without warning buyers
    that they probably contain hazardous chemicals, heavy metals, and
    human pathogens, notes In These Times. Abby Rockefeller and
    others advocate nipping sludge in the bud with options like
    composting toilets.


    HARROWSMITH COUNTRY LIFE ($18/yr. 6 issues) available from
    Box 52863, Boulder, CO 80322-2863.
    harrowedit@aol.com

    IN THESE TIMES ($36.95/yr. 26 issues) available from Box
    1912, Mt. Morris, IL 61054-9885.
    itt@igc.apc.org


    Published on Oct 9, 2007

    UTNE

    In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.