Wastewater Professionals Need to Practice What They Preach

Observations from WEFTEC 2014, where education, technology and a little garbage collide.

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Note: Luke Laggis, editor of MSW magazine, is blogging from WEFTEC in New Orleans this week. If you're at the show and would like to meet him, stop at Booth 2253. Otherwise, you can always email editor@mswmag.com.

There’s a Nestle Crunch in the urinal. It’s sort of ironic, since I’m here at WEFTEC.

There’s so much talk about (non) flushable wipes and keeping things out of sewers that don’t belong there, yet right here, in the middle of an exposition and conference dedicated to water and wastewater, there’s a crumpled up candy bar wrapper in the urinal.

There’s no danger of it slipping through the strainer and making its way into the drain, and even if it did, one bite-sized wrapper isn’t going to do any damage. But still, it struck me. This should be the last place to see that sort of thing. With all the technology, all the forward thinking and progressive initiatives, there’s garbage in the toilet.

I doubt anyone else who saw it put this much thought into it, but I think it really speaks to the importance of outreach and education when even the people in our own industry aren’t always opposed to throwing their trash in the toilet for the sake of convenience.

We need to set an example, and we need to help people understand that garbage doesn’t magically disappear once that surge of water pushes it down the drain. It’s not gone; it’s just someone else’s problem at that point. Make sure you’re part of the solution, not the problem.


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