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June 19, 2020



Basically, it depends where you live and how your wastewater treatment plant is doing - some of them are on the edge, others are fine and don't care about an errant sausage. But ground-up particulate matter takes more oomph to strain out and sterilize

(personally, I think the best uses for a garbage disposal are those things that are too soppy for the garbage and too solid to rinse straight down the sink: soaked-off burned-on rice; oatmeal glop; that sort of thing.)

Jessica Fantastica

I think it depends on the age of your plumbing. I have deteriorating cast iron plumbing. My plumber said to never ever put any food down, just use it to clear out any bits that made it into the drain


KC - that’s a good distinction. ‘How soupy is it?”
Jessica Fantastica - we have pvc pipe everywhere. Still, a house old enough for cast iron plumbing sounds wonderful To me.


Yes, if it can be put in the trash, put it in the trash; if you'd have to dry it out somehow to put it in the trash, then it's garbage disposal time (provided your locality is not one of the "please have mercy on our water treatment plants" places)(also provided you have a garbage disposal. I only had one for two years of my life, I think, which is why the things it is So Useful For and that you miss when you no longer have one are deeply imprinted in my skull.)

Jessica Fantastica - Our cast iron sink central pipe developed a crack [heeey earthquakes and age!] and they'd have to take apart the whole kitchen and bathroom to replace it. So right now it's sealed with silicone caulk and hope. You have my sympathies, basically. :-)


KC - ah! Earthquakes. I wondered what could damage cast iron.


I mean, I'm assuming? But our area has a lot of earthquake damage. When the more-restrictive wastewater-injection rules were put in place what, 5 years ago?, we went from 50-100 earthquakes/week to ~2 dozen, with most of the 2 dozen not being noticeable. But when we first moved here, there was this fascinating type of short, local earthquake - you could hear it coming and then just after you heard it coming it was like someone drove a truck into the side of the house, or like someone walloped an RV you were in - one short, sharp, sideways motion, not enough to knock you off your feet unless you were already precarious, but definitely noticeable. I can't imagine those were kind to rigid fixtures...


KC - was that in Oklahoma?


Yep. The state that was not only doing its own fracking and wastewater injection, but was generously receiving *other state's* fracking wastewater. There were some motions towards making companies liable for damages caused by fracking-induced earthquakes, and some policies got changed. I didn't keep very close track of it all, but there *was* a pretty sharp dropoff in the small flash-bang earthquakes. (like, a couple a month vs. now I can't remember quite how many years it has been since we had one, but somewhere in the 3-5 range.)(we've had a couple of the "rocking" style earthquakes within that time, though.) So when I noticed the dropoff, I looked it up, and hey, new restrictions put into action right about when things settled down! Amazing how all these no-we're-sure-these-have-nothing-to-do-with-fracking earthquakes are really tightly correlated with 1. fracking activity and 2. fracking geography...

Big Dot

I would have said that for once I agreed with Gary , because in-sink disposal units are a bad thing and eco-friendly housing these days doesn't fit them as standard - but then I got to the ziplock bag bit and the world settled back on its axis. NO! Putting food out with the rubbish to go to landfill is bad, and encasing it first in plastic is the absolute pits. I collect all my food waste in a pot by the sink and then take it out to bung it in the compost bin where it eventually, with no obsessive fussing like they tell you, rots down into usable non-smelling black stuff.

Now, I admit that there is no chance here of raccoon interference or even, heaven forbid, bears - the worst that might happen is a bit of rat action - but you should be able to get around that with lid fastenings, surely. Or investigate the bokashi system. Or a worm farm!


KC - I saw the documentary about fracking (the one with the water you could set on fire) but I didn’t know things had improved, good to know.
Big Dot - It really is rare that we don’t eat everything. However, I think I could interest Gary in a worm farm. Gary would probably be more interested in the $360 tower garden / composting bin that was too pricey for me.


I'm not exactly reliable on this - I just noticed earthquakes were down, checked the earthquakes page, that also indicated earthquakes were down, and then looked it up and hey, some regulations were acted on about the same time I'd noticed the earthquakes drop off. The "water contaminated by fracking wastewater" thing is presumably still a problem for whoever it's a problem for, however, and obviously we don't know what long-term damage has been done, and broadly speaking if this state puts an environmental protection in, it is approximately "as little as we could get away with doing without having our pants sued off" so I'm not on the "things are of course properly regulated now!" team. Just, hey, we're getting fewer indoor paint cracks per year than we were, which is at least... better.

(of course, a while after I left the "fewer earthquakes, yay!" comment... there was a 4.2 earthquake near Perry, Oklahoma, that was noticeable for a pretty long distance. No reports of damage, though, which is good. [although earthquake damage isn't all immediately apparent - observe all the cracked-by-earthquakes construction around here - it's nice to at least not have a death toll, yay! Or crumpled buildings!])

I wonder if there are any worm farms that come with webcams so you can watch the worms?


KC - a Tulsa Facebook friend reported the earthquake and I thought, “there goes KC’s theory.” Also, I just assumed worm farms are identical to ant farms.


Yeah, see, Oklahoma didn't really get earthquakes before fracking. And now Oklahoma does. Quite a lot. But *fewer* anyway while regulations are being carried out and less wastewater is being injected... I'm honestly a bit unclear on why we don't get the slamming-of-the-side-of-the-house earthquakes anymore - maybe they specifically closed down something really close to us?

Anyway! This chart is... illuminating. And also indicates that yes, quite a lot fewer earthquakes now:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Oklahoma_3.0_earthquake_bar_graph_since_1978.pdf is pretty useful?
(the "slam" earthquakes were always lower than 3.0, though, when their recordings showed up online; generally speaking, the longer the earthquake, the higher the magnitude, so if you get a 10-minute-long low-rocking earthquake, pray hard for the people wherever that one hit and hope it was just really really deep and that the locality it hit doesn't have many tall buildings...)


KC - I know what you mean about “slam” earthquakes where you feel like the building just got hip checked. We had an aftershock after our big earthquake in 2008.


I had only been in "regular" earthquakes before we moved here, so it was really quite odd for me to have all these not-wobbly earthquakes - but I kept checking online the next day for an earthquake at that exact time, and yep, it was an earthquake.

But yes! Like the building just got hip checked! Not the rocking back and forth, sloshing a glass of water thing, but just a single jolt. Presumably not *as* bad for structurally rigid things as the bigger-movement earthquakes, but still not good for cast iron pipes, sheetrock joins [so.many.paint.cracks], driveways, etc.


I personally put sbout 10 uneaten green beans in our disposal last night. I never put too much or anything too big, but I’ve never had a problem with small amounts of food. If you haven’t had a problem yet you probably won’t. 😁


KC - and there’s no fault line they could blame for the earthquakes? Like the New Madrid fault?
Lisa - I agree - but Gary’s point is that the sanitation workers have a problem with it. Or, as someone noted, perhaps not. I think any sludge or sausages get diverted directly in the Missouri River: that’s where our water waste plant is.

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