BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.


Accessibility help
Text only
BBC Homepage
BBC Radio
BBC Radio 4 - 92 to 94 FM and 198 Long WaveListen to Digital Radio, Digital TV and OnlineListen on Digital Radio, Digital TV and Online

PROGRAMME FINDER:
Programmes
Podcasts
Schedule
Presenters
PROGRAMME GENRES:
News
Drama
Comedy
Science
Religion|Ethics
History
Factual
Messageboards
Radio 4 Tickets
Radio 4 Help

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

 

Science
CONNECT - Down the Pan 
MISSED A PROGRAMME?
Go to the Listen Again page
Quentin Cooper looks at the latest in sanitation technology.
Wednesday 30 July 2003 9.00-9.30pm

We don’t like to think too hard about what goes down our toilets, but with increasing pressure on water resources and with landfill sites over-flowing, it could be time to re-assess our whole approach to sewage. 

Toilet
Listen again Listen again to the programme

Many water scientists argue that our attitude towards the age old problem of dealing with human waste is under-developed. We take “dark water” out of homes to centralised treatment works which only partly deal with the problem. Conventional sewage treatment systems empty vast amounts of water back into the sea and leave behind sedimented sludge which still needs to be disposed of.

But now, developments in water technology are enabling engineers to think about more sustainable systems of sewage treatment. Advanced membranes can filter dark water from the sewer to produce drinking water in under two hours. With a treatment procedure this efficient, the option of re-cycling the water that goes down our sewers becomes feasible, saving vast amounts of water for reservoirs and rivers. Sludge, which goes onto farmers fields, or into landfill, is now being turned into everything from bricks to fertiliser for golf courses. More radical is the approach that suggests we should treat our own sewage in our own homes. Advanced methods of composting could revolutionise the toilet as we know it. But all this depends on the British public changing its “out of sight, out of mind” attitude to human faeces.
Listen Live
Audio Help
DON'T MISS
Leading Edge
PREVIOUS PROGRAMMES
Magnetic power
Sea power
Groundwater
Up, up and away
Dust to Dust
A Noise to Annoy
Down the Pan
Fire, Fire
Metals
Footsore Britain
Every Breath You Take
Pastures New
Wearable Monitoring
The House on the Rock
The Healing Power of Light
Food Preservation
Libraries
Robots
The Glass Ceiling
Walking
Latest Programme
Science, Nature & Environment Programmes
Current Programmes
Archived Programmes

News & Current Affairs | Arts & Drama | Comedy & Quizzes | Science | Religion & Ethics | History | Factual

Back to top



About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy