There is a day for everything, and March 11 is World Plumbing Day. This year it is important to remember that the word plumber comes from the Latin Plumbum, or lead, which is what plumbers worked with for years and has come back to haunt us with the Flint water crisis, which, interestingly, they do not even mention on their website. However The World Plumbing Council does remind us that "Every 15 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease, At any given time, half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from water-related diseases."
Water supplies and sewerage have defined the way we live, the way our communities grow. Here's a roundup of our serious (and sometimes silly) posts about plumbing.
World Plumbing Day is different from World Toilet Day, a much bigger even that happens in November. It's worth recognition on its own since the toilet is really just a device that connects to the end of a pipe. Read how it all developed in the modern age in our eight part series on the history of the bathroom.: More: The History of the Bathroom, revisited
In North America we live in a flush and forget world, using potable drinking water in our toilets and wasting grey water that could be used for many other purposes. Here is a look at ways you can use grey water, no plumbers needed. More: How to reuse grey water in the home and yard and here is whey we should change our plumbing codes: Big Steps in Building: Install Gray Water Recovery Everywhere
This is a story about complexity (and ugly tile)- designing a plumber's dream: "A toilet that uses a solar panel to power an electrochemical reactor, which breaks down waste into solids that can be used as fertilizer and hydrogen that can be stored in fuel cells to power the reactor when it's cloudy outside. " You will need one on standby full time.
We need plumbing that is simple and easy to manage. I wrote: "We do need to reinvent the toilet. But it is not just a white porcelain thing that sits in a room, it is part of a system that is part of a larger societal picture." More:How to make a dumb idea for a toilet even worse? Put it in a dumb bathroom.
Don't get me wrong, I love plumbers, but sometimes it seems that our bathrooms are designed for their convenience and not for ours, and the health of the nation might be better served if we built them differently. Here is what I did in my own house and why. More: Why am I building such a weird bathroom?
This post starts with a Steven M. Johnson classic but is a bit of a roundup of toilet fixture designs. More:Steven M. Johnson invents the Sinkolet
But the biggest change the plumbers have to make is to take the poop out of the plumbing. Our entire plumbing system is based on water flushing everything away in one big pipe, when we have three useful components: grey water, which we can use for irrigation, pee, which we can use to get phosphorus, and poop, which we can use for fertilizer. The current system is so wasteful and expensive. That's why It's time to bring composting toilets home.
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