Chemistry of the Great Big Blue: Sewage

"Warning! Stormwater discharge area may be contaminated by discharge from pipe. Swimming is not recommended within 200 feet of this sign during active discharge"

You live on a rural island. You poop. You flush. Does your island have a sewage treatment plant? Is your plant large enough to deal with the influx of tourists that increases the population of your island by an order of magnitude in the summer? Ever stop to look at the metal pipes on your island’s beach to see what was coming out? More than likely, there’s an ocean outfall involved in your island’s wastewater treatment plan. It may only be for overflow, but it’s an option.

What does “ocean outfall” really mean? Well, often it means raw sewage is dumped into the coastal environment that we all love to swim in. Continue reading