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“Hi, I’m Michael Mobbs. I’m going to read from the second edition of my book Sustainable House, which was published in 2010 and tells the truth about what worked and didn’t work in a sustainable house in Chippendale and hopefully gives a guide to people who want to do something with their own house in their own life.
This is about my biggest tragedy, my sewage disaster.
The sewerage system was badly designed and poorly built. It failed and its designer company and installer went broke, and we were left alone to find solutions.
About two and a half years after it was installed, when the system had a heart attack, the water went foul, dark and smelly. As the designer and installer had gone out of business, there I was, high, smelly and not dry, with urgent unmet needs to manage the house’s daily sewage. Upon opening the tank I discovered the design and building faults. It was clear that:
• the system was not aerobic because there was no air inlet device
• the different filter beds had collapsed upon each other and congealed into an anerobic, vile and useless mess;
• there had been a build up of sludge
This was a moment offering broad opportunities for personal growth and, mostly, I took them. I apologise to those who were involved where I did not. It is, however, my experience that it’s healthy to express my anger so I did, loudly, in the shower, walking down the street, on the phone and anywhere I could, given that the authors of my growth opportunity were not there to share this journey. Still, I have a deep confidence now about what works and what doesn’t when treating sewage, and I have become even more curious about sewage, and even more ‘at home’ with it. Otherwise, I’m normal.”
ABOUT MICHAEL MOBBS:
“I did law for 19 years, or it did me; I then made my house in Chippendale sustainable, cut off from mains water and sewer. Four people can live in my house for less than $300 a year for energy and water bills. Anyone can do this as the house is really simple to build and use, but ‘tho the house saves 100,000 litres of water a year my little tummy needs over 1 million litres of water to make the food for it, so now I’m gardening for my life, and writing about it.
I wrote the second edition of Sustainable House at Varuna and have written most of my next book about food there. Found some peace and confidence there, too, which is not bad.” Michael Mobbs
Sustainable House (First and Second editions)
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