Future Toilet: Plumbers Hit the Third World
What does the toilet have in common with the cell phone? Most of us at family owned and operated San Diego Plumbing company Perry Plumbing hope the two have as little interaction as possible, but recent developments in toilet technology have made them strange bedfellows.
Do you remember hearing that because of the cell phone, third world countries would be able to skip the landline stage of telephone communication all together? Telephone poles, strand after strand of wires and junction boxes never have to set foot in many countries. The cell phone has made them obsolete.
Similarly, CalTech scientists, along with Kohler faucet manufacturer and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have designed a toilet to enable third world countries to avoid having to create entire sewer systems. Imagine the cost savings!
With hundreds of thousands dying each year as a direct result of due to poor sanitation and 25% of the world’s population without access to adequate sanitation, it is no wonder the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation devoted their dollars to a technological answer to human waste in third world countries.
Building a maintenance-free, off-the-city-sewer-grid toilet challenged the Caltech team, particularly because the Gates Foundation requested it be done for a cost of less than five cents per person per day. Engineers came up with a pay toilet dependent on a solar panel. The solar panel powers an electrochemical reactor that treats the waste. Unlike the American-style concert or construction porta-potty that sends shudders through us all, this toilet breaks down waste into solids in just three to four hours. The solids are removed on a regular basis and used later as fertilizer or stored in fuel cells that actually power the reactor on cloudy days. The entire unit is enclosed for privacy.
Called the Mahatma Gandhi toilet, this high tech sanitation device is being tested throughout India. Some are being tested by 10 families in an area (and we thought one family sharing two bathrooms in a home could get crowded!) Astoundingly, more people in India have cell phones than toilets.
One issue is maintenance, which adds to the cost. Sophisticated machinery means sophisticated repair, and technicians would need to be trained in each area where the toilet appears. One idea is to have remote monitoring and repair, but no algorithm can re-engineer moving parts and blocked pipes.
Impact on the American Porta-Potty?
A Invention Whose Demise Has Come
Understandably, the Gates Foundation’s goal is to improve sanitation conditions in areas where disease is rampant. Still, CalTech researchers and Kohler both see applications in the United States. Who does not welcome in the end of the porta-potty, and chemically treated waste visible for all to see, especially when the future toilet is self-cleaning. Beyond use at concert and construction site application, some see these toilets being used in drought areas in the United States. Just one solar powered, electro-chemical unit per household could cut down significantly on water use.
Perry Plumbing Treating the Toilets of Today with Cutting Edge Techniques
We will let you know when the toilet of the future makes it to San Diego. While its arrival on our shores may seem far off now, we know we were stunned by and even skeptical of the 3-D printer when it first appeared six or seven years ago. Now, we regularly see it in high schools, manufacturing plants and businesses! Until the Future Toilet makes it here, however, trust that Perry Plumbing has the most recent and powerful drain cleaning and plumbing repair techniques available for today’s plumbing systems. These include hydro-jetting, Bio-Clean “green” drain cleaning and more! Contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our screened and thoroughly trained San Diego plumbers. Our plumbing repair discounts help you get a better deal on those plumbing issues you have been putting off for so long. Need a little reassurance? Many of our 5-star Google Plus and Yelp reviews are from your neighbors. See what they say about us today!