Sewer department crafts compost jingle

Want to hear something gross and potentially memorable?

“When it comes to your toilet: Remember 3 Ps – Poop, Paper and Pee – Give it to Me!”

That’s the jingle that The City’s sewer department recently developed in an effort to prevent contaminants from infiltrating the wastewater treatment system.

The agency published on its website a list of alternative disposal options for condoms, diapers, cotton swabs and other items typically flushed down toilets.

“Instead of listing to folks all the things they should not put in the toilets,” San Francisco Public Utilities Commission spokesman Charles Sheehan said, “we wanted to make it a little more simple and say, ‘These are the only three things that you should be putting down the toilet.’”

The jingle was developed in the wake of a controversy over the agency’s sewage-based biosolid compost, which contains low levels of dangerous industrial and agricultural chemicals.

Food safety activists have held protests over the SFPUC’s free giveaways of the compost for San Francisco residents, saying they are unsafe.

The contamination is found in the compost, which is also used widely on farms, because it enters municipal sewerage systems and combines with carbon-rich effluent.

Earlier this year, in response to the controversy, the giveaways were suspended and SFPUC General Manager Ed Harrington told the Examiner that the agency might launch a campaign to keep dangerous materials out of sewers.

Much of the contamination, however, washes off streets into sewer systems and will be more difficult to exclude from treatment systems.

Some of the compost is derived from sewage produced by other counties.

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