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June 14, 2009 at 6:59 am #1129
the last i read on this topic, you could only take two minute showers twice a week. with the new station, has potable water become more plentifulʔ or are you still living under those restrictionsʔthanksǃangieJune 14, 2009 at 6:59 am #9593
hi angie… iʹm a newbie and have never been on the ice, but i have been reading a whole lot lately. my understanding of the 2min shower line was that 1) it applies to south pole station only, and 2) itʹs only during the summer season when the population goes up. someone please correct me if iʹm grossly mistaken.June 14, 2009 at 6:59 am #9594
youʹre right. itʹs a south pole station restriction only. two minute showers, twice a week.the other stations have more water and usually donʹt have usage restrictions.gJune 14, 2009 at 6:59 am #9595
ok, thanks. iʹm sorry about it, poliesǃ <ǃ-- s:d --><ǃ-- s:d --> i think thatʹs one restriction that would really make me nuts.angieJune 14, 2009 at 6:59 am #9596
angie,if limited showers would drive you nuts i hope you are not considering working in the program. due to the nature of the location there are many restrictions. some folks donʹt understand the basic reason for the restrictions is to ensure the workforce is safe, both due work hours and equally important, due off time.been thereJune 14, 2009 at 6:59 am #9597
chiming in again. while iʹve got no experience on the ice, i am an engineer with some experience in water desalination, so i can tell you thatʹs not a simple or cheap way to make potable water. the process is really cost prohibitive in all but the driest of areas on this planet. if you think oil is a valuable commodity – you should see the security around some of the desal facilities in the middle eastǃ anyway – the problem with these membrane based processes is that when you need twice as much water… you generally need twice as much membrane (therefore twice as big of a facilityǃ).iʹm not sure what the exact design of facilities at either mcmurdo or the pole are, but i would imagine that thereʹs even more energy expenditure in getting water (from ice) and/or maintaining it at the proper temperature for the desalination process.i guess my viewpoint is: let us not forget that we are talking about living on the ends of the earthǃ the fact that theyʹve built a viable infrastructure there at all amazes me.June 14, 2009 at 6:59 am #9598
@been there wrote:
angie,if limited showers would drive you nuts i hope you are not considering working in the program. due to the nature of the location there are many restrictions. some folks donʹt understand the basic reason for the restrictions is to ensure the workforce is safe, both due work hours and equally important, due off time.been there
hi, been and everybody, i am a retired desert ecologist, and in my time iʹve learned more than i ever wanted to know about how difficult it can be to acquire potable water. pole, after all, is located in a desert. <ǃ-- s:d --><ǃ-- s:d -->iʹm about 40 years past being eligible to work in “the program,” and age has turned me into a devout comfort freak. but i am very interested in what you are doing, and sympathetic towards you with your necessary privations.angieJune 14, 2009 at 6:59 am #9599
let me throw in my 2 cents worth. iʹm an american who wintered over at scott base in ʹ59. we had two snow melters on the base, one in each of two of the buildings. the melters were not very sophisticated, just tanks through which exhaust pipes from the diesel engines ran. there were always diesel engines running to provide electrical power for the base. there were trap doors in the outside walls adjacent to the melters. every day we would go outside, cut up blocks of snow and throw them through the trap doors into the melters and the heat from the exhaust pipes would melt the snow. we had no shortage of water.June 14, 2009 at 6:59 am #9600
ok, here are ze facts …mcmurdo: desal plant produces a lot of water. conservation is encouraged. but you can take a shower when you need to. lots of hot water most of the time.pole: the problem isnʹt water, after all weʹre on a glacier several kilometers thick. we have all the water the world will ever need. the problem is itʹs frozen. hard frozen. so it takes energy to convert the ice to usable liquid water, plus energy to heat it to comfortable drinking and bathing temperatures. while we have an endless supply of water, we have zero energy available, especially in winter. all energy is then supplied by generators running 24/7 on aviation fuel. if purchased in the usa at an airport, this fuel would be reasonably priced but still expensive. by the time it is transported to antarctica via vessel, then to south pole by airplane, it costs as much as a nice mercedes per tank. we have a lot of tanks. even then we donʹt have unlimited capacity and we have a long time between refueling trips (february to november). so, conservation is not only encouraged, it is mandatory. in the summer it is 100-percent vital that people stick with the 2-minute/2 per week rule. in the winter, thereʹs a bit more leniency when somebody gets dirty on the job or if thereʹs a good reason to take an extra one. but people who abuse it are quickly scorned. taking extra showers at pole can theoretically put other people at risk. fuel and water usage are monitored daily so most likely if there was widespread abuse it would be discovered and corrected quickly, but nobody wants to be “that guy.” then thereʹs this. you donʹt need to take a shower every day unless your job demands it or you donʹt take care of yourself. daily showers are a modern luxury. in mcmurdo, youʹll likely regress to one every other day. at pole, by the end of winter, we are used to one a week … four minutes long of course <ǃ-- s:) --><ǃ-- s:) --> hope this helps.June 14, 2009 at 6:59 am #9601
ah yes, those four minute showers once a week during my second pole winter in 2005…every sunday morning.during my first winter at pole (1977) we had a snow melter. we could make enough water for the 21 of us but we really didnʹt use that much water. after all, there were just 21 of us <ǃ-- s:) --><ǃ-- s:) -->palmer and mcmurdo back then relied on flash desalinization units–basically boiling water and distllling it. the heat for the mcm plant originally was waste heat from the nuclear plant, the heat for the palmer units came from waste heat from the generators.before global warming melted the glacier, in the 80s during the summer there used to be a melt pond at palmer that provided lots and lots of water during the summer months.nowadays both mcm and palmer use reverse osmosis units. and pole has a well, as it were. here are more details than you ever wanted to know…http://www.southpolestation.com/trivia/rodwell/rodwell.html
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