From flush to flowers: Human waste turned into compost


IT IS GETTING RECYCLED AND COULD END UP RIGHT BACK AT YOUR HOUSE. WHEN T ESTABROOK IS GARDENING, HE IS NOT THINKING ABOUT WHAT IS IN THE SOIL.>>I DO NOT WORRY ABOUT IT. DAVI PART OF WHAT IS HELPING HIS FLOWERS GROW IS WHAT HE AND EVERY OTHER HUMAN BEING MAY HAVE LEFT BEHIND. IT ALL STARTS HERE. WHEN PEOPLE FLUSH THE TOILET, THEY THINK IT IS GONE. DAVI IT COMES TO STEVE SLO , CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER AT THE EA END TREATMENT PLANT.>>IT PROTECTS CASCO BAY. DAVID: THEY GET MILLIONS OF GALLONS OF WASTEWATER EA DAY, AND VOLUME CHANGES DEPENDING ON PORTLAND’S DAILY POPULATION. MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY, WE HAVE MORE. DAVI IT IS A BIG JOB TREATING ALL THAT WATER AND MAKING SOLID SAFE ENOUGH TO RETURN TO THE ENVIRONMENT.>>THERE IS LABOR INVOLVED. DAVI THE SOLIDS ARE TAKEN THROUGH A THREE-DAY PROCESS. BACTERIA EATS UP HARMFUL MATTER.>>WE JUST GIVE THEM TIME TO DO THEIR JOB. DAVID: IT EVENTUALLY GIVES US THIS. THIS IS WHAT WE ARE GENERATING. DAVID: THE MATERIAL IS LOADED INTO TRUCKS, TWO TRUCKLOADS A DAY, TAKING I TO BE MIXED WITH SAWDUST AND COMPOST I UNITY. THE MIX ENDS IN THESE TUNNELS, WHERE THEY SIT FOR A WEEK COOKING. THEY GENERATE HEAT. A LOT OF HEAT. DAVI THE PRODUCT COOLS IN HUGE PILES. ABOUT THREE DOZEN TREATMENT PLANTS DROP OFF SOLIDS HERE. YOU CAN SEE WHAT HAS BECOME OF THEM.>>IT IS A LONG PROCES , TAKING IT FROM THE POINT WHERE YOU FLUSH THE TOILET TO THE COMPOSTING PROCESS AND BACK TO THE YEAR. DAVI AND BACK TO ESTABROOK. NOT ONLY DO THEY GARDEN WITH IT, THEY SELL IT.>>YOU CAN SEE T STEAM AND MICROBES ACTIVATING. DAVID: THE FINAL PRODUCT CONTAINS 5% OF THE MIXTURE FROM THE TREATMENT PLANT. IT IS THAT INGREDIENT THAT HELPS THE PLANTS THRIVE.>>IF WE CAN A MICROBES AND ALL THESE THINGS THAT ACTIVATES OIL, WHAT ENDS UP HAPPENING IS MOTHER NATURE TAKES OVER. DAVI THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION — WHAT DOES IT SMELL LIKE? YOU GET THAT SMELL OF SPRING, THAT RELEASE OF EARTH. DAVI CASELL ORGANICS MAKES ENOUGH COMPOST TO FILL 800 WHEELBARROWS A YEAR. IF IT WE NOT RECYCLED, THE

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