There’s nothing quite like a weekend on a remote island to make one appreciate the magic of a flushing toilet!
No doubt like many of you, we enjoy spending weekends and school holidays roughing it a little bit. We recently stayed at a friend’s house on Moreton Island. We arrived after a big group of people had left, which left the septic system overflowing and, dare I say, not in a very pleasant state. Making a concerted effort to let it mellow when it’s yellow, placing toilet paper in a bin rather than down the drain and doing number two’s at the public toilet down the road, my youngest daughter gave a BIG sigh of relief when we finally made it home and she plonked herself on the toilet. Planning number twos is sometimes harder than you’d think!
Poo is the butt of many a joke in our household but let’s face it, it’s not something you want to spend too much time thinking about. And for those of us living in cities or bigger towns, we don’t really need to as it all just magically disappears with the flush of a button.
It hasn’t always been that way. During the 1920s only a few of Brisbane’s wealthier families had installed septic systems and most homes had a backyard dunny. In 1927 a riverside sanitary depot was built from where barges carried loads of night-soil downstream to dump into Moreton Bay. The sanitary levels of the river during the 1930s were so poor that any recreation around the river would have been impossible.
Even by 1961, night carts still regularly cleared 80% of Brisbane’s suburbs and it wasn’t until the City Council administration of the 1960s and 1970s that Brisbane was finally sewered.
Since then we have – luckily- come a long, long way! The Brisbane River has become a major tourist attraction and the lovely homes and apartments sprouting up along its foreshore are designed to take in its beauty.
That doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels though. For the men and women working in the industry it’s a constant struggle to deal with the myriad of other things that goes down our gurglers! And as we, as a society, go for all the convenient options like disposable baby nappies and wet wipes, the challenges are rising each and every day.
Certain things are just not meant to go down the drain. Putting the wrong things down the toilet can be hard on the hip pocket with expensive plumbing bills to unblock pipes. It can also lead to sewage overflows and problems in other parts of the sewerage network.
Queensland Urban Utilities recently launched “Think at the Sink” – a campaign to educate householders on what to do at the loo. To learn more, visit their website at http://www.urbanutilities.com.au/your_home/Home_maintenance/Prevent_costly_blockages_and_overflows/Household_tips/
And our handiest tip of all: reconnect with nature as often as you can. There’s no better way to learn what’s right and wrong than seeing what works best the natural way…