Animal Science Blog

Animal Science

The Animal Science Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about scientific and technological topics related to pets, livestock, and other animals. See how cutting-edge advances help - or hinder - species around the world.

Previous in Blog: Managing Deer Populations for Auto Safety   Next in Blog: Are Whalewatch Cruises Bad for the Whales?
Close
Close
Close
11 comments

Toilets and Oysters

Posted October 19, 2016 12:00 AM by joeymac

Oysters were once plentiful in the New York Harbor in the 19th century but by the 20th century, overfishing, pollution and sewage destroyed the oysters and they were gone. Oysters are critical to the health of any water ecosystem. They provide habitat and food for other animals, they stabilize the bottom floor, and filter the water and increase water clarity. Since the oysters in New York Harbor have disappeared the harbor isn’t as clean or productive as it could be.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has come up with a plan to try and re-colonize oysters starting in Jamaica Bay, and this plan calls for using toilets. To create a self-sustaining population, the project will install a floating long line, or oyster nursery. It consists of trays which are filled with 50,000 adult oysters that will eventually spawn. Then the next phase is to construct receiver beds, and this is where the toilets come in. Some 5,000 toilets were broken into small pieces and will be put on the bottom of Jamaica Bay. The broken pieces of toilets will be combined with clam shells and oyster shells. In total, 50 cubic yards of oyster shells, 700 cubic yards of clam shells, and 180 cubic yards of porcelain will be used to create four man made reefs. It turns out that porcelain is the perfect surface for young oyster larvae to attach to and grow on. This will be a three year project to determine how many of the oysters actually attach and grow and their survival rate. As a side note, keep in mind that the oysters will not be safe to eat, now or at any point in the near future.

Resource: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2016/09/07/oysters-recycled-toilets/

Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Guru
United States - Member - New Member Popular Science - Cosmology - New Member Technical Fields - Education - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Albany, NY
Posts: 1194
Good Answers: 24
#1

Re: Toilets and Oysters

10/19/2016 9:33 AM

This approach reminds me of sinking scrapped ships as substrates for coral growth. In this case you keep toilets out of landfills as well as encourage oyster growth. I didn't realize that oysters play a significant role as water filterers.

Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 102
Good Answers: 1
#2
In reply to #1

Re: Toilets and Oysters

10/20/2016 11:19 AM

Oh yeah, oysters act as natures water filters just like wetlands do. What I found interesting was that porcelain acts as the perfect surface for oysters to attach too.

It does have that sinking ship artificial reef mentality. The way I see it, why not get rid of all those extra toilets that would just be in landfills. A win-win if you ask me.

Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Retired Engineers / Mentors - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Brecksville, OH
Posts: 1604
Good Answers: 18
#3
In reply to #2

Re: Toilets and Oysters

10/20/2016 1:55 PM

Several places in the world utilize trash as the basis for forming artificial islands. Perhaps this could be a way to use toilet porcelain as an add-on.

__________________
"Consensus Science got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?" : Rephrase of Will Rogers Comment
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 859
Good Answers: 33
#4

Re: Toilets and Oysters

10/20/2016 2:03 PM

The Marin County, Ca. Uber -environmentalists succeeded in getting the Point Reyes, Drakes Bay oyster farm deemed a Natural Reserve, meaning no agriculture or humans, and shut it down, saying it was a source of noise and pollution. It had been there for many years, and the orignal Indian tribe were also harvesting oysters since the 1800's

Reply
Member

Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 8
Good Answers: 1
#5
In reply to #4

Re: Toilets and Oysters

10/20/2016 4:19 PM

Tsk Tsk. When the new owners purchased the farm several years ago they knew their permit had an expiration date and paid less because of that fact.

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Chicago
Posts: 3989
Good Answers: 144
#6

Re: Toilets and Oysters

10/23/2016 10:41 PM

I've been wanting to start a volunteer run canoe service

at a local pier that would bring old sinks and toilets to a point further

out in the lake creating a reef for marine life..

-Any objections before I move forward?

well ok then-

Bring your (clean) old toilets and sinks to Prat pier at 530AM every third Sunday.

Montrose on the 2nd.

-please feel free to bring a canoe/coffee/etc.

__________________
High Tolerance is Beautiful
Reply
Guru
United States - Member - New Member Popular Science - Cosmology - New Member Technical Fields - Education - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Albany, NY
Posts: 1194
Good Answers: 24
#7
In reply to #6

Re: Toilets and Oysters

10/24/2016 7:40 AM

Please report back and let us know how this turns out. I haven't heard about creating artificial reefs in freshwater lakes.

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Chicago
Posts: 3989
Good Answers: 144
#8
In reply to #7

Re: Toilets and Oysters

10/24/2016 10:19 AM

Neither have I, but I have actually made a small scale version at a property where I did some work.

I redesigned and rebuilt a bridge to the island. The lake is about an acre+. It's deep and well aerated. The lake is has a few large trout and some other great fish. I knew that their young were first on the menu so underneath a portion of the bridge I created a debris reef out of the large amount of cut stone I had from another part of the job. I secluded several cubic yards of of open water that only smaller fish could enter and exit. by mid summer I could see how well it was working.

It was around that time that I started thinking of the freshwater toilet reef.

I think the lakefront would be flush with fish and that's always a good thing.

It would also reduce the landfill loading.

The biggest obstacle is bureaucracy.

__________________
High Tolerance is Beautiful
Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 102
Good Answers: 1
#9
In reply to #7

Re: Toilets and Oysters

10/24/2016 10:29 AM

I agree, I am eager to hear about the results for fresh water reefs, I've heard of fresh water reefs (granted barely) but I'm curious about the results of that experiment.

Reply
Guru
United States - Member - New Member Popular Science - Cosmology - New Member Technical Fields - Education - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Albany, NY
Posts: 1194
Good Answers: 24
#10
In reply to #9

Re: Toilets and Oysters

10/24/2016 10:38 AM

Maybe JE would be interested in writing a blog post about his project as a follow-on to yours, Joeymac.

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Chicago
Posts: 3989
Good Answers: 144
#11

Re: Toilets and Oysters

10/25/2016 11:30 AM

I would certainly contribute all I could if/when I take on such a project.

It's a mere thought at the moment, but never out of the question.

I'll keep teasing the idea around and see what happens.

If I go rouge on this all future entries will be in code.

__________________
High Tolerance is Beautiful
Reply
Reply to Blog Entry 11 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

agua_doc (1); BestInShow (3); C-Mac (1); JE in Chicago (3); joeymac (2); jrileyjim (1)

Previous in Blog: Managing Deer Populations for Auto Safety   Next in Blog: Are Whalewatch Cruises Bad for the Whales?

Advertisement