San Francisco's big push for low-flow toilets has turned into a multimillion-dollar plumbing stink.
Skimping on toilet water has resulted in more sludge backing up inside the sewer pipes, said Tyrone Jue, spokesman for the city Public Utilities Commission.
Any competent plumber knows - and understands why - sewer lines are built to exacting specifications.
For example: Sewer lines underneath and exiting from from homes are built to a specific diameter and slope. These two criteria are determined by the predicted amount of solid waste injected into the sewer pipes and the amount of water that will be used to flush it away.
The diameter of a residential sewer pipe is determined by the expected load it is to carry, and the downward slope of the sewer pipe is designed to be such that the flushing water will evacuate the pipe. It's not a haphazard thing, you cannot just dig a ditch and just toss in the pipe. A system built that way will have endless problems.
Change either the amount of solid waste or water and the pipe no longer can function as designed. Put less water into the system and guess what? The pipe plugs up.
Most citizens have no clue about any of this. That includes the politicians that passed the laws requiring water-saving toilets. Ignorant politicians that have no clue whatever about the design requirements for a properly working sewer system inject their ignorant views into someplace they have no business being, and things like this are the inevitable result.
The fix? You can do what San Fransisco has been doing... Spend hundreds of millions redesigning and rebuilding their sewer system, tearing up streets and yards in the process, OR... You can just go back to toilets designed to provide sufficient flow the flush out the system.
Homeowners will find out - even after the city spends all those hundreds of millions - That they will have to hire plumbers to excavate under their homes and replace their own sewer pipes which have been installed at the wrong slope angle for water-saving toilets. The proper slope angle starts not at the street or their foundation, but at the base of each toilet.
Toilet manufacturers knew/know all this, but the idea of a law requiring new water-saving toilets be installed everywhere insured they would never educate the politicians and miss out on an opportunity to billions in additional sales.
And wouldn't you know it... almost everybody has to double flush nowadays... just to get the stuff get flushed down.
And of course the irony of it all is that these new toilets save no water whatever, what with all that double flushing.
Politicians = stupid.
Manufacturers = greedy
Citizens = ignorant
A great formula for waste and fraud.