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Posts Tagged ‘infrastructure’

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“That’s not a water tower,” you say. You’re right. On the north side of Highlands Park in Kirkland, Washington are five curious monuments on top of a hill. They are the footings of an old metal water tower that had been removed by the mid-1980s.

X marks the spot where the legs used to stand. There are four such blocks, each of which has weathered differently. You can see where large metal bolts were sheared off on either side of the X.

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Block two…

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Block three…

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Block four.

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The center block lacks the distinctive markings but has a different shape.

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This is what the tower used to look like, courtesy of the Seattle Times, who was recently asked to find this photo by a local resident. Thank you to Kari Page at the City of Kirkland for sharing it.

Highlands Water Tower Seattle Times.jpg

Further north, on the lush green hillside of Holmes Point, resides an old wooden tank on the south side of the northern leg of Holmes Point Drive. Confused? That’s okay. I’ve hesitated to mention this for years because of the damage people could do to it. Nature has already taken a heavy toll.

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Last I knew, King County owns this property because someone stopped paying taxes on it and it didn’t sell at auction because… you can’t build on it. It was the headquarters of the Inglewood Park Water District.

The Inglewood Park Water District served 40 homes in the Holmes Point area for a while and was operational in 1972 according to a local resident I spoke with who bought her home nearby. She was the secretary-treasurer for the association and still has many of its records.

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This wonderful lady said the water came down the hill from the St. Edward Seminary to that lot—the seminary is the centerpiece of the St. Edward State Park. The shed is a pump house and the taller structure was the water tank.

The Inglewood Park Water District paid a neighbor’s two teenage sons to put chlorine in the tank every month and called it “blessed water” because it came from the seminary.

In time people started hooking up to “city” water (presumably the Northshore Utility District’s, which provides water in that area today), so their water district disbanded. Evidently there was $6000 in Inglewood Park’s account at that time and it went to someone’s mother’s estate.

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Now time is eating away at these delightful old structures as they are gradually absorbed into the surrounding environment. The most excitement they see nowadays is the daredevil skateboarders who cruise down Holmes Point Drive at breakneck speeds.

One went by as I was taking these photos and did some sort of disco/flag semaphore signal move as if to say, “look at me!” I expected him to veer off the road and take out a tree, but his curiously contrasting skinny body and oversized helmet whizzed off around the corner like a space alien rushing to get to their battlestation.

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For many of us, clean water is so plentiful and readily available that we rarely, if ever, pause to consider what life would be like without it. -Marcus Samuelsson

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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King County No Flush

On September 9th, Dr. Oz featured the truth about “flushable” wipes on his program.

Dr. Oz – Wipes Part 1

Dr. Oz – Wipes Part 2

Some of you will recall my post on this topic from last year, Those Wascally Wipes, in which I discussed how most wipes don’t break apart like toilet paper does. This is why wastewater treatment agencies across the globe are telling people that only the three Ps should go down the toilet– pee, poop, and (toilet) paper.

Two days prior to Dr. Oz’s show, Bloomberg featured an excellent piece on this topic called Flush-Defying Wipes Bedevil Cities as Sewers Surrender by Henry Goldman. It begins:

The ancient Greeks used clay and stone; the Romans, sponges and salt water. Americans made do with rags, newspapers or mail-order catalogs until 1890 when the Scott brothers popularized toilet paper on a roll.

Only in the past decade have grownups seized upon moist “flushable” wipes similar to those that clean baby bottoms, a product that has become a prized asset in a flat market. Accelerating sales are demonstrated inside the world’s sewers, where tons clog equipment. From New York to London, the hygiene fad costs governments millions of dollars a year.

Since visiting a sewer treatment plant in this episode, Dr. Oz now recommends moistening toilet paper rather than using wipes to clean up after doing your business. Even so, there’s a statement and links to videos from one of the major wipes manufacturers, Kimberly-Clark, on his website. While Kimberly-Clark says that only some of their wipes are flushable, unfortunately people who’ve seen Dr. Oz’s show are trumpeting online, “don’t flush wipes– except for Kimberly-Clark’s.”

The wise thing to do is not flush any wipes at all whether or not they claim to be flushable on the package. They’re not going to break apart as well as toilet paper regardless of the brand. Many contain plastic. They might be flushable in the sense that they make it past your toilet, but then they can clog up pipes and the treatment plant. To protect our aging infrastructure and the environment, we shouldn’t flush wipes. Wipes can and have contributed to major sewer overflows– and all that unsanitary waste and garbage can go right into storm drains and then straight to ponds, streams, and lakes.

Besides the resources mentioned in my other post, JWC Environmental tracks some of the damage wipes do on their No More Wipes page. It’s worth a look.

The bottom line is that if you choose to use wipes, please make the simple decision not to flush them. They can go into the garbage just like everything else that doesn’t belong in the toilet. If we can’t stop putting things into our sewer system and septic tanks that don’t belong, we’ll soon need little WALL-E robots to follow us around and clean up after us. Then WALL-Es might evolve into Cylons and as Cylons they’ll invent Skynet… flushing wipes just doesn’t lead to a good outcome any way you look at it.

I, for one, will feel very stupid if, a thousand years from now, archaeologists find that our society perished in a catastrophic sewer overflow triggered by our swanky hygiene habits. Yeah. D’oh.

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If you are in a spaceship that is traveling at the speed of light, and you turn on the headlights, does anything happen? –Steven Wright

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©2014 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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World Toilet Day

Thank you to intrepid WordPress blogger T.V. Raj for reminding me that November 19th is World Toilet Day.

This is not a joke nor is it meant to be crude. Sanitation is a monumental issue for billions of people. See CNN’s piece on World Toilet Day and World Toilet Day.org for more information. (more…)

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From United Utilities, UK

From United Utilities, UK

This is a song that every toddler should learn along with Twinkle Twinkle, The Wheels on the Bus, and Mah Na Mah Na:

Our infrastructure might depend on it. (more…)

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