California Water Conservation Causing A Sewer & Plumbing Pipe Crisis

“Shorter showers, more efficient toilets and other reductions in indoor water usage have meant less wastewater flowing through sewer pipes, [California] sanitation officials say. With less flow to flush the solids down the system, those solids are collecting and can eventually damage pipes.”

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.expresssewer.com

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Less Water Flow Means Greater Pipe Degradation

As home and business owners throughout California use various methods to cut water consumption both in and out of their properties, less water is then available to cycle through sewer systems. Lower sewer flow then makes it difficult for waste materials, oils water and other contaminants to cycle through. Best case scenario, this can result in minor sewer buildup or blockage; worst case, it can cause severe clogging, corrosion and pipe breakage at weak joints.

With corrosion comes increased pipe repair and replacement costs. Otherwise healthy sewer pipes will fail prematurely as clogs and chemicals remain stagnant within pipes.

Decreased water flow due to conservation is a particularly troubling problem in Sacramento, where the municipal sewer system is relatively flat compared to other cities in the state. With a flat sewer system, it is already difficult for water and materials to flow at a normal rate; when this rate is lowered, and gravity cannot help waste and waste water along, there is little to push solid materials along.

The people of Sacramento, in this case, are stuck between a rock and a hard place: water has to be conserved in light of the unrelenting draught, and doing so creates hazards for the entire city sewer system.

Dealing With the Issues

One way Sacramento residents can help reduce the likelihood of sewer clogging during low water flow periods is by changing the way they use their plumbing systems – overall reducing the amount of non-fluid materials that enter sewer systems.

This includes knowing what kinds of things you should not flush or dispose of through the sink, such as:

Baby wipes or other kinds of “flushable” wipes – they’re not really flushable, and actually cause millions of dollars in sewer damage annuallyStarchy food products or peelsAny plastic materials, including wrapping or casesPaper towels

Beyond better flushing practices, also steer clear from using chemicals or commercial drain cleaning products, as these products can eat away at sewer pipes from within, causing extra difficulties for pipes with low-flow or stagnant water. […]”<

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Water Waste, Leaking Pipes and Infrastructure Maintenance

Imagine Manhattan under 300 feet of water, not from a flood or rising sea level, but from the 2.1 trillion gallons of water lost from leaky pipes every year. That is nearly 6 billion gallons a day! The majority of leaks are a result of old infrastructure, pressure changes in the water mains, and small household leaks.

Source: theenergycollective.com

>”[…] Infrastructure leaks

About 14-18% of water treated in the United States is wasted through aging and damaged infrastructure, as well as faulty meters. The American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave the US a “D” grade for water infrastructure. Let’s take a look at a few cities around the US.

Chicago wastes about 22 billion gallons of treated water a year, enough to serve 700,000 individual needs for a whole year.The state of California loses about 228 billion gallons a year, which is more than the city of LA uses in a year. On average the state loses 49 gallons a day for every service connection, and Sacramento loses a whopping 135 gallons per connection.In 2013 San Francisco experienced over 100 water main breaks and New York averages over 400 a year.Houston lost 22 billion gallons of water in 2013, 15% of its total water supplyAccording to the EPA we lose about 34 billion gallons of drinking water a day in the United States, about 1/6 of public water systems supply.

Household water waste

Average household leaks can add up to over 10,000 gallons of water a year, enough water to wash 270 loads of laundry. Nationally, household water waste totals over a trillion gallons – or the equivalent of 11 million households’ yearly usage. The most common types of leaks at the household level are worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and leaky showerheads. 10% of US homes waste over 90 gallons a day just from these small fixtures. Here are some quick facts:

  • Faucets: 1 drip/second adds up to over 3,000 gallons a year (you can take 180 showers with that water!)
  • a showerhead leaking at 10 drips/minute wastes over 500 gallons a year (that’s 60 loads of dishes)
  • Old inefficient toilets can water up to 13,000 gallons a year
  • Irrigation leaks just the size of a dime will waste nearly 6,300 gallons a month

[…] Fixing easy leaks can save about 10% on your monthly water bill. Replacing that old toilet with a new efficient toilet could save you upwards of $2,400 over the toilet’s lifetime. […]”<

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