Save up to $100K through this Eco-lifestyle Adjustment
Slums constitute the living arrangement for one-fourth of today's world population. In the least developed countries, those living in slums exceed three-fourths of the population. Any urban area can descend quickly into slumdom when water and sewerage stop functioning. This can happen in any urban environment where the electric supply is lost for a week or where general mayhem prevails. Take Yemen, for instance. Facing a crisis of war, famine, and social collapse, 14 million people there lack access to safe drinking water or sanitation. The conditions are ripe for outbreaks of disease, which is currently appearing in the form of the most massive cholera epidemic this century.
Cholera is spread by ingestion of Vibrio cholerae, which lives in the water where infected people have released sewage. If not quickly and properly treated, it can cause death in 50 to 60% of those infected. Currently, the number of cases in Yemen is 200,000 carriers of the bacteria. In the 2008 - 2009 Zimbabwe epidemic, the average infected individual transmitted the disease to 1.1 - 2.7 others. Those statistics are the reproduction rate (R0) of the disease. Predictions of 300,000 new cases in Yemen by August must use the lower of these rates.
It is conceivable that conditions in the U.S. could deteriorate to bring about local outbreaks of cholera or one of the other many diseases associated with lack of clean water and sanitation. Sewer systems are susceptible, but a heavy septic system load in a concentrated area could also become a major source. My own neighborhood is reputed to have 70% of its septic systems in a failed condition (my own included) with a 2000% overload to the watershed due to the concentration of homes.
If you are one of the approximately one-third of homeowners in the U.S. with a septic system, it would behoove you financially to limit your inputs. The typical septic system fails after 15 to 30 years of service. Replacing it might cost up to $20,000 (not to mention the effect of heavy machinery on areas of your property you never planned for). Extending the life of a septic system by using biodegradable soaps and having the tank pumped every three to five years helps, but an unconventional measure that could allow your system to last a lifetime is to not use it for sewage, period. This simple lifestyle adjustment could save you $100,000 over a lifetime.
|Loveable Loo - well worth the $400. Detailed instructions included. (An $18 economy unit also works fine.)|
Instead of using your drinking water to flush away sewage, take up meticulous composting with your bodily byproducts. Joseph Jenkins tells you all about it in The Humanure Handbook. In the process, do everything necessary to avoid spreading of pathogens to your environment. Don't let your septic system get to the point that mine is, where it is a major health hazard. Humanure composting, even done half well, is better than this.
Fortunately, when I found out that my septic system had failed, I was already well along with my humanure collection and composting program. With a little luck, I can restore my drain lines to the point that they will drain "greywater" for several more years and all of our sewage will go into the humanure toilets for composting with the biochar, coffee grounds, and small wood chips that I generously smother it with. If you think that sounds slummy, just wait until your community's water or electricity stops flowing.