Lemons into Lemonade

paul-rose by Paul Rose

lemons-into-lemonadeLos Osos  is a leader. It is the first city in California, and the second city in the entire country to implement the water saving, resource conserving program of saving its septic tanks! As part of the conservation direction from the California Coastal Commission the County of San Luis Obispo gave a grant to Central Coast Green Building Council (previously known as  SLO Green Build) to develop a system to save water, develop codes, and a program to promote the re-purposing of septic tanks into water saving cisterns.

LO Sewer 1

You may ask how is this done. Well, when a whole community is building a new sewer system and almost all of the population is going to hook up to the new sewer within a year there can be (in this case), over 4000 septic tanks averaging 1000 gallons each, that were to be crushed or filled with gravel.

LO Sewer2


By simply pressure washing the tank while it is being pumped, and sanitizing it with less than a gallon of bleach, the possibility of this waste can be turned into a community plus.

Once the sanitizing is accomplished, residents can use this resource to re-charge the water zone that used to carry nitrates into the bay with fresh water.

LO Sewer 3

If a resident wants to do more, they can use the stored water for landscape irrigation, or even create legal systems to pipe water back into the residence for toilet flushing.

Currently, Los Osos is still in the process of transferring their home septic systems over onto the municipal sewer system, and over 25% of the residents have chosen to save their tanks. This is just another example of what a group of dedicated individuals can do.

It’s time to get out there and participate!