Over 40,000 Scouts, staff, volunteers, and visitors in one giant camp? Of course, someone had to think about the poop possibilities. For an organization that promotes the three R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle) and is setting up camp for tens of thousands of people in a place with many natural resources that are both enjoyable and in need of preservation, this is something that needed to be done with a lot of thought, planning and creativity. Somebody had to consider how to deal with poop, showering water, tap water, flush water…
Anyway, let’s go with the flow and talk about how Summit Bechtel resolved their pooblem…ahem, I mean problem. The New River that runs in that area needed to be protected from direct waste flow, so a system was designed to have the “ambient temperature” water (which apparently translates to ‘freezing cold’ according to Jambo participants I talked to) from sinks and low-flow showers reclaimed, treated and reused to flush nearby toilets. After the first use, the water is known as “greywater,” which is treated onsite and reused in toilets. After the flushing part of the process, it’s called “blackwater.” The “blackwater” goes to a centralized treatment plant, the Cochell Wastewater Treatment Plant, to be filtered and disinfected before it is ultimately sprayed in forested areas that are (thankfully) far away from camp areas. I get that it’s been treated, but still, the thought is a little ‘ew’.
This “greywater“/”blackwater” treatment process saves both water and land that would be used for sewage disposal, maintaining BSA’s mission of sustainability for future Jamborees. For more inspiration on how you can work towards sustainability, check out Jamboree’s Sustainability Tree House.
Oh, but while we’re on the topic of poop, you can find BSA promoting the three R’s even in the trading post with a few singular items like repurposed elephant poo. Paper made from elephant poo. That’s right. Nuff said.