Sunday, 23 April 2006

Graffiti and Pollution Rant

Graffiti art adorning the South Western Sydney Ocean Outfall Sewer aqueduct.

Yes, Sydney still pumps its sewerage into the ocean at various points. This lot, the effluent of 1.69 million people, goes to the treatment centre at Malabar before being discharged via the deep ocean outfall, 3.6 kilometres offshore. Out of sight, out of mind.

It is treated to a certain extent - called "high rate primary". Sydney Water tells us that primary treatment takes out solid matter such as paper, cotton tips and plastic. Heavy particles like sand sink to the bottom and are removed. The sewage then flows into the primary sedimentation tanks. Here human waste, called sludge, settles to the bottom and oils and grease float to the top where they are collected.

High-rate primary treatment occurs at high flow rates and removes fewer solids.

Sydney and NSW politicians have shown a distinct reluctance to consider proper recycling of effluent. The previous Minister responsible for water, Frank Sartor inflamed matters by saying that Sydneysiders were not prepared to drink recycled sewage, even if it was treated to drinking water standard and safe. You can read more of his wisdom here. Plenty of Sydney-siders reckon otherwise.

This despite the fact that Sydney is in the grip of drought.

So, which is the greater crime - some graffiti tags and a couple of abandoned spray cans, or the continued use of the Pacific Ocean as a sewer? You decide.

1 comment:

  1. Good post! Good idea to compare the graffiti with pollution. Brings in the teenager vs the council and whose voice is heard.