Kind of Gross

Discussion in 'Living in Cancun' started by RiverGirl, Jun 11, 2008.

  1. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

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    Don't say I didn't warn you...

    I'm wondering if anyone here can prove to me that Cancun's sewage treatment plants cannot handle toilet paper?

    I know there are signs in every public bathroom saying don't flush paper.

    I know that most big hotels here put up signs encouraging people to flush TP. And many hotels have their own sewage treatment (which may or may not flush into the lagoon).

    I've studied Cancun's sewage treatment a bit (because I have no life). I've learned that there are a number of sewage treatment plants in the city. And the building of a new one was announced in May of this year (Chetumal and Playa del Carmen will be getting new ones as well).

    I'm not at all sure that all of Cancun's sewage is treated, but when it is treated I've learned that Cancun's sewage treatment is a dual process that separates liquids from solids. Liquids are purified and are injected 120 meters underground into the groundwater (better hope they are really purified).

    Pause: Remind again why anyone would go into a cenote on purpose?

    Solids are processed and made into compost. I'm not sure where this compost is used. (How many farms are there around here?)

    A dual process that separates liquids and solids is a pretty normal model for sewage treatment (from what I've read). What is done with the stuff at the end varies place to place, but what Cancun is doing is pretty normal.

    Another thing I've learned is that the U.S. Government's Agency for International Development has aided (or is still aiding) this area in making sure that it's sewage treatment is adequate for all the demand here.

    Here's my problem. Toilet paper is designed to dissolve quickly in water. I owned a house with a septic system and in 11 years of living there never once needed to pump it, the paper dissolved before it built up.

    And according to my research of all the things that people flush down toilets TP is truly the most minor of culprits. People flush feminine hygiene products and condoms and dead (hopefully small) pets and that's just the beginning. Sewage treatment facilities HAVE to be ready for the bad stuff. I honestly don't think that TP is the culprit that all these signs imply it to be.

    My Mexican husband says that not flushing TP is cultural. In fact his exact words were "it's a redneck thing." It goes back to before there were any norms about plumbing for sewer. If people's experience is that paper makes the toilet overflow then they won't put it in there and they will put up a sign not to put paper in there. But if they then become indoctrinated to the idea that you can't flush paper they will carry this attitude onward to all the properly working toilets they meet.

    If the sewer pipes in your house are properly installed (without right-angle corners and with proper slopes, and your toilet is a normal one that is properly installed the paper won't come back up.

    My husband is a licensed architect (even though you all know he does not work in his field). In college he actually studied Cancun's sewage treatment plants because at that time (back in the stone age) they were the BEST in the country!!

    Now if a home is not connected to public sewer, if they have a fosa septica (private septic system) and they want to avoid needing to pump their tank then I think it's perfectly fine for them to ask users not to flush TP.

    But here in the city, where every bathroom I've ever had the good (or often bad) fortune to visit, is connected to public sewer I simply do not believe that there is any reason NOT to flush TP.

    I want someone to PROVE to me that there is any reality behind the signs we all see in every public restroom.

    My working theory right now is that all of this is a bunch of B.S. and that people are basically sheep who will believe what they are told. I think that if your particular home's installations are set up correctly that there is no reason whatsoever not to flush TP.

    Please prove me wrong.

    And if you don't I've got a great bridge for sale...it's big and I'll sell it really cheap!
     
  2. Steve

    Steve Administrator Owner

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    Bathroom wastebins are for empty tooth paste tubes, used razorblades and toilet roll tubes imho. No matter how many times I tell my in laws that it's perfectly fine to flush the paper, every time they come to our house our bathroom bin ends up with things I'd rather not be there. Now, even my daughter does the same having been told that's the way it should be at school!

    I do think that having to inject sewage residues 120 metres deep kind of proves that it hasn't been treated well enough.
     
  3. Ana

    Ana Guest

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    Is not so easy; it you attend school or gym as a kinrgarden or a elementary and been instructed to not put TP into flush for 9 or 10 years it became arole model and you do not want to know how many times I have fight about this issue with my kids. I hate it and try to enforce basic tuels but is is difficult fighting against the sysstem.-
     
  4. NormsKid

    NormsKid Guest

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    I've been flushing the toilet paper down the toilets in Cancun ever since my very first visit over 15 years ago!

    Thus far, no overflows.....

    Michelle
     
  5. jenleib

    jenleib Addict Registered Member

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    I won't say nor prove you are wrong, Kim, I too find that disgusting, it stinks, it draws bugs, and I always flush my paper. Now, the paper dissolves instantly, as you say much more easily than many other things they put in it.

    Whan you go to Plaza las Americas, new and supposedly modern building, you see that sign... :roll: I even know some "educated" (and non Mexican) people doing that in their luxurious condo!

    Once a so-called architect :lol: told me they ask for it because Cancun is a flat country. Really??? What about Mexico-city for one hand, and what about the Netherlands on the other.

    All that is crap, it goes 200 years back, but like for all the rest, it will be very hard to change the mentality.
     
  6. matkirk

    matkirk Guru Registered Member

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    I dread having to use the toilet at work, sitting there looking at a bin full of other peoples crusty leftovers - uuugghhhh - they don't even have a lid on the bin....It also appears that people (at least at my work) have an aiming problem and I don't mean for number 1's..... :shock:
     
  7. lambert13

    lambert13 Guest

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    As a person that designs septic systems, sewer systems and other wastewater systems for a living, I can offer the following.......

    1. If a house/hotel/building is on the public sewer system in Cancun and the plumbing was installed properly, there is no reason at all not to flush TP. None. If the plumbing is not installed properly (nah that wouldn't happen there) you have another set of problems.

    2. If a house/hotel/building in the Yucatan is on it's own private septic system, not flushing Tp or using degradable TP could be a necessity. In most areas down there, there is not enough suitable soil depth or separation to the groundwater to install a proper septic system. But, they do it anyway and the effluent ends up in the underground water system and onto beaches, cenotes, water supply, etc. TP could very easily clog the lines in a septic system in those conditions. Further proof is that I have read on signs that TP ends up clogging the underground pathways (where the nasty stuff should not be) and causing sewage 'eruptions' in areas far away from the system to blame.
     
  8. jenleib

    jenleib Addict Registered Member

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    Thanks, Jason, that's interesting.

    And here is the Muslim custom, which is very clever: they wash themselves instead of using TP. My experience from Africa. Could we import it?
     
  9. GONZO

    GONZO Guru Registered Member

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    I forget is it right hand eat, left hand wipe or was it left hand eat, right hand wipe.:shock:

    I like the TP :lol:
     
  10. jimelko

    jimelko Enthusiast Registered Member

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    i find it interesting and funny that this topic brings the number of replies in such a short span of time, we know what is important to all of us lol
     
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