Oh, Dear God, hand me that ice pick. I’m going to stab it in my eyes for 12 hours.
If you want to know how we got into the mess in Iraq and why we’re STILL there, waist deep in the big Muddy and the old fool says push on, tune in channel 20 and watch the Regional Water Quality Control Board’s April 28th CDO hearing.
If you want to watch a 10-hour film titled,”The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Meets The Bataaan Death March in Slo Mo,” tune in channel 20 and watch the Regional Water Quality Control Board’s April 28th CDO hearing.
If you want to understand how a scientifically challenged STAFF of a government agency can paralyze then destroy a whole community with a scheme so ill-thought out, so scientifically unsound and so poorly planned – logistically speaking -- that their Board has to spend fifteen minutes deciding how best to deal with public comment slips, and you have to wonder how, if it takes that long to figure out that simple a procedure, how in living hell they’re going to be able to process and hear from 5,000 people at 15 minutes each, plus cross examination and you do the math in your head or on a little scrap of paper and it comes out to something like 6,250 10-hour days and you say Sweet Jesus didn’t RWQCB CEO Roger Briggs think about all this when he cooked up this insane scheme and figure he’ll realize somewhere in along 9:30 p.m. that he’s screwed up major big time and will tell his Board he’s decided to recommend they postpone this insane scheme so he can rethink it all and when he’s asked if he intends to continue processing the whole town of Los Osos his lips go all thin and his eyes squint down and he says Yes he intends to continue onward thereby proving he is incapable of dealing with either reality checks or informational feed-back loops and so you pray his Board will have more sense, but they sit there yawning, or deer-in-headlights, blank-faced wondering how in hell they ever got themselves into this ridiculous situation, and you’re hoping even one of them would burst out laughing, but they don’t and none of them has the sense God gave a goose to jump up and say THIS IS INSANE, STOP IT RIGHT NOW, WHO THOUGHT UP THIS LOONEY TUNE ANYWAY? but nobody does so they sit there, Prisoners of Folly while the clock ticks on and on and on, then tune in Channel 20 and watch the Regional Water Quality Control Board’s April 28th CDO hearing.
Tune in to see the RWQCB’s own Mr. Staff Science Guy tells the Board that pumping septic tanks 6 x a year won’t cause a problem, but under cross examination has to fess up that he’s had very little college training in on-site technologies. Amaze yourself to hear how poorly Mr. Science Guy understands the aquifer systems in Los Osos and how clear it is he has no clue as to where the drinking water of Los Osos, a community he’s working on destroying, comes from. His remarks make it clear he thinks we’re all rolling around out here with pigs, like Moonbeam McShine, while swilling down nitrate-laden water. When asked if Los Osos water violates any drinking water standards, he’s has no idea. (I’m not mentioning his name because he’s a nice young man and his bad preparation, (lazy, really. He wanted to know what kind of leach systems are in Los Osos so apparently he called ONE GUY and asked for his “guestimate.”) clear lack of training and experience (certainly compared to the credentials of Dr. Wickham, (see below) for example), shaky grasp on facts were cringe-making and I kept wondering if he were being used as a Scott McClellan-like stooge or fall guy – you know, Let’s let Mr. Science Guy stand up there and look the perfect fool so everybody can blame HIM for this mad scheme and allow us to skulk away from this train wreck saying, No, Nope, not me, I don’t know nothing about any of that, No, No, it’s all Mr. Science Guy’s doing. You know, take one for the team?)
Watch in amazement when RWQCB’s CEO Roger Briggs is asked if he has any direct, empirical evidence from the individual Los Osos 45 that their homes are actually polluting the aquifers and he has to fess up that no, he has no actual evidence. Seems that the staff and Board have been acting for years on “presumption” and “common knowledge,” as in, there’s a presumption that wastewater gets to groundwater and the common knowledge that no denitrification takes place in the soil and, as Mr. Science Guy had it, that nitrates just go straight down the soil column to groundwater with no denitrification taking place & etc. (Incorrect, by the way. Denitrification takes place in the soil. The trick is to have enough depth to groundwater to do it sufficiently.)
Then, just when you think it can’t get any more hideous, pay particular attention when Dr. Wickham, Bs, MS, PhD, owner of ABG Wastewater Solutions, the outfit that’s developed the Prana System of bio-remediation (his device has been installed at the Firehouse and is being tested now via lysimeters to see what kind of nitrate reduction is occurring in the leach field) and blam-blam-blam, the Board and audience gets a non-stop, detailed and informative lecture on How Septic Systems Function and learns, among other things that pumping tanks 6 times a year ends up destroying the mature biological colonies that make the system work properly, that pumping tanks 6 times a year will end up in discharges that are worse, that pumping tanks 6 times a year will result, in Dr. Wickham’s expert opinion, with leach field failures occurring within 2 years of such a regimen and that NOT pumping would result in less pollution than pumping.
When asked if there were cost effective measure for onsite mitigation, his reply was, yes, there are many and they’re in use all over the country. He also noted that in his expert opinion, there are other sources of nitrates in Los Osos and the only way to be sure what amount were coming from septics is to do a isotope tracking test. (It’s a relatively a simple test, fundable by grants, eagerly run by university PhD candidates, a test that drops isotopes down a toilet and tracks the discharge plume to see where it goes. That test has never been done, though residents have asked the county and RWQCB and old CSD to do exactly that. The isotope study is an important test because, as Dr. Wickham noted, it’s possible to spend $200 million dollars on a wastewater system and STILL end up with high nitrates in the water. This test was never done because “common knowledge” and “presumptions” trumped science.)
Well, of course common knowledge and presumptions would trump science. This is the RWQCB we’re talking about here. The same folks who apparently plan on spending 17.12 years prosecuting hapless citizens in The Great Nitrate Trial of the Century. Call Clarence Darrow and bring on the dancing monkeys.
The next installment of this Regulatory Gong Show will start again on May 11 & 12 sometime, with the beleaguered Los Osos 45 getting their 15 minutes of playing Perry Mason squeezed in among other Board Business.
Meantime, please watch this 10 hour proceeding and be afraid. Be very afraid.