It rained hard last night and it continues to drizzle. As I drink my morning coffee and ready for the day, I’m listening to the news which just announced that the sewers have overflowed into the Willamette River. Portland has an (outdated) combined sewer system, which combines surface water (roads, etc.) with sewer water (toilets, etc.). When it rains hard the surface water overwhelms the sewer system, which then overflows into the Willamette carrying all it’s fun contents with it. This event is called a combined sewer overflow or CSO; CSOs happen every time there is a heavy rain in Portland. The radio also mentioned there was a warning to stay out of the river for the next 48 hours. Here at the commons, we’ve opted to install a composting toilet, not only does it save clean water (which saves energy, through saved conveyance and treatment), but it also reduces the load (ahem) on the sewer system and ultimately the water and environment.

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