Monday, December 17, 2007
New Zealand toilet inventor flushes out worm worries
2 days ago
WELLINGTON (AFP) — The New Zealand inventor of a worm-driven composting toilet has flushed away concerns from bureaucrats that the system traumatised the wriggly creatures, local media reported Sunday.
Coll Bell, who built the "wormorator" as an alternative to septic tanks, was asked to get an expert's report on its mental impact on the tiger worms after an official became concerned during a site visit, the Sunday Star Times said.
"She felt that the worms were being unfairly treated, being expected to deal with human faeces, and that it could affect them in a psychological way," Bell told the newspaper.
"I said, 'Well, what do I do about that?' and she said, 'You have to have someone with the necessary qualifications to say the worms are happy'."
In Bell's invention, a colony of worms filters solids from the toilet waste and the leftover water is filtered into underground trenches.
The Auckland Regional Council's concerns went down the pan after vermiculture consultant Patricia Naidu found the worms in excellent health and breeding happily.
A council spokeswoman told the newspaper the worm worries were justified because the system was going to be used at a campground, where sewage flowed heavily for two weeks each year, with little during the rest of the year.
This reminds me of a story.
W.C. Fields was being interviewed in his home, and the interviewer said that he wanted his readers to have a real sense of who Fields was. "Do you have any hobbies?" he asked.
"Why yes, yes I do, young man. I find beekeeping very relaxing."
"Really?" said the interviewer.
"Oh yes," Fields replied. "At any given moment, I estimate that I have twenty to thirty thousand of the wee creatures here on the estate."
"Well, you just took me on a tour of the grounds, and I didn't see any hives..."
"Oh, I don't keep them in hives. I keep them in a cigar box."
"In a cigar box?"
"Yes, in a cigar box."
"How do they survive in a cigar box?"
"Well, my dear boy, the brief answer is, 'not well'."
"No, not at all well."
Fields paused, then said, "Yeah. Fuck 'em; it's only a hobby."