Several recent articles have caught my attention – one about groundwater in Michigan and the other on water use in modern Western bathrooms.

There are currently two wells on our Beacon Springs property; both have high levels of arsenic. To use that water, we’ll install a system to lower the amount of arsenic in our water to a safe level. We’ll run the water through a water softener as well, to remove other minerals (adding salt to our drinking water in the process).

If we could avail ourselves of harvested rainwater, we’d of course have a purification system – which, according to our rainwater expert, would provide us purer water than what we’d get out of the ground, even after treatment. And we simply want to flush toilets with this water.

And as for composting toilets, the article recounting the history of modern bathrooms, says so much:

Nobody seriously paused to think about the different functions and their needs; they just took the position that if water comes in and water goes out, it is all pretty much the same and should be in the same room. Nobody thought about how the water from a shower or bathtub (greywater) is different from the water from a toilet (blackwater); it all just went down the same drain which connected to the same sewer pipe that gathered the rainwater from the streets, and carried it away to be dumped in the river or lake.

. . . We take millions of gallons of fresh water and contaminate it with toxic chemicals, human waste, antibiotics and birth control hormones in quantities large enough to change the gender of fish.

We mix up all our bodily functions in a machine designed by engineers on the basis of the plumbing system, not human needs. The result is a toxic output of contaminated water, questionable air quality and incredible waste. We just can’t afford to do it this way any more.

Reduce, reuse, recycle . . . that’s been the mantra for some time now. But it’s hard to go against standard practice, to change ingrained habits. What’s needed is people who will take the time to think through how water and waste are currently handled, and look at viable and proven options that are already available to accomplish what we all say we want.

For ourselves, we’d like to restore our 15 acres of used up, depleted, currently useless former farmland to productive health, and to include ourselves and our home in that ecology. And if our example can benefit the wider community – we’d be delighted.

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