Confehr: Tomatoes, wastewater treatment and this and that

Friday, August 27, 2010

Apparently there was a fellow here at the paper years ago who loved homegrown vegetables.

Well, last week one of our readers brought tomatoes and a news tip that resulted in Wednesday's front-page story searching for leaky sewers.

But there's more.

Years ago my uncle in Marietta, Ga., got de-scented sludge from a wastewater plant to fertilize his seeded front lawn. Grass grew. So did tomatoes. Humans don't digest tomato seeds. Nor did the wastewater plant.

Since Wednesday's edition there have been poor puns about smoking pipes and smoking grass when the city looks for sewer leaks by forcing smoke into the system. Now, we might explain how they do it.

Food grade mineral oil is pumped into the muffler of a 5-1/2 horsepower lawnmower motor to make smoke. The motor runs a pump to force the smoke into the sewer and it comes out of broken pipes.

They do other things to sewers. Utilities have used a power blast of water to clear clogged sewers.

It's a reason to have a backflow protector. The required device can prevent big stinks like those suffered years ago here and elsewhere. Think volumes of brown liquid going the wrong way in the lavatory.

Somewhere here in town, one sewer tap was at an angle that presumably allowed a freer flow away and down hill, instead of a 90-degree connection. When the stuff was forced backwards by the water blaster, the velocity was not slowed.

Oh, the horror of it all.

It's one thing to be afraid that your house is on fire when smoke comes in the house from those pipes. It's another when bathroom tile needs a team of Mr. Clean.

OK, enough of the potty jokes. We have other things to clear.

* During the Lewisburg Beer Board meeting one week ago today, an applicant and city officials indicated their awareness that it's OK to sell beer from a golf cart on the greens, fairways and elsewhere on a golf course that has a permit to sell beer for "on premises" consumption. Several years ago, the city council decided that the "premises" of a golf course clubhouse pub and grill includes the whole nine or 18 holes.

The council was just being considerate of golfers -- apparently when there was a tennis player at the helm. So goes the explanation, but it's more than a fishing story.

* Tuesday in Nashville, a Marshall County commissioner-elect expressed dismay at the imperfect nature of this newspaper. For the record, during his election campaign, the county mayor was not discussing Cedar Ridge Landfill with the commissioner of Tennessee's Department of Environment and Conservation at Henry Horton State Park as erroneously implied here a few days later. The mayor left the room to look for a state lawmaker. That's been previously addressed and now it has again.

The commissioner-elect said he had seen newspapers being nothing but the absolute truth like the Bible. That's a high calling. Newspapers have been called the first draft of history. The imperfections are not intentional.

These views are the author's and not necessarily reflective of the Tribune's views.