Researchers at Oregon State University have helped develop an automated method of sampling municipal sewers for drugs.
According to an Aug. 21 OSU press release, "The method could provide a drug surveillance tool to help public health and law enforcement officials identify patterns of drug abuse across municipalities of all sizes."
Will having Big Brother in the bathroom give people the willies?
The technique is controversial. The OSU researchers refused to say which
municipal sewers they'd tested for fear the treatment plants would deny
the researchers future access, according to a USA Today story. That's what happened when elected officials in San Diego learned that White House drug researchers wanted to test their sewage plant, according to a Science magazine story.
The monitoring raises a buch of questions:
Did the OSU researchers check Eugene's pipes and if so how do we compare?
Maybe monitoring the half-time flush tidal wave will finally show just how much beer Duck fans consume?
Could the same techniques be used to check an individual house's outflow?
Will the Supreme Court have to rule on the legality of warrantless crapper tappers?