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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Start Yer Engines!

At the Los Osos Town Hall meeting of 7/7 (attended by about 80 – 100 people out of a community of 15,000??? what’s THAT all about?) Ripley Pacific gave a preliminary presentation of their project update report and shared a little of their thinking and approach to the Hideous Los Osos Sewer Project.

Happily, their focus on the matter is all about WATERWATERWATERWATER and SUSTAINIBILITY. That is, how to minimize energy costs per gallon of “product,” in this case, WATERWATERWATERWATER while minimizing an unwanted, expensive byproduct, SLUDGESLUDGESLUDGE.

Which means, their plans are the exact opposite of the Tri-W plant, which focused on sewage treatment and denitrification (a very expensive process) and deferred the water and sludge issues for later (even more expense to be added.) A question I raised to the Ripley team was How it is even possible that two engineering firms could come up with 180’ proposals, both supposedly using “science and engineering” criteria, and the answer was: “Engineering bias,” no doubt a nice word for “Different Focus.” (Sort of like the story of the blind men examining an elephant and describing entirely different critters depending on just what part of its body they were feeling.)

The final update report will be due July 28, and will evaluate various options on collection systems and sites and so forth, but what Ripley will be recommending will be a STEP system which will involve:

Replacing all septic tanks that aren’t watertight. The tanks will be owned and operated by the CSD/County/Septic Management Department with easements just like we have for telephone, power lines, etc. coming into our homes. If the thing “breaks,” call the Sewer Guys! The check valves and access points for maintenance can be located at the lot lines for ease of operation.

The initial high cost of replacing tanks will be offset by the overall lower cost of the collection system (smaller pipes, microtunneling methods, no huge open trenches etc. the collection system is more like a water pipe delivery system than the traditional gravity sewer piping.) (Traditional gravity collection systems have always been the lion’s share of costs. Change that component and the costs go down, no matter what kind of treatment plant is used.)

Since the septic tanks will be doing the bulk of the work “digesting” the solids and pre-treating the wastewater, that will reduce overall costs of treating the water at the plant. And, having solids pre-digested saves on the problem of sludge disposal, a growing, expensive problem. Homeowners will have to make a choice with this system: Do they want a huge gravity “dump it and forget it” system for X $ with ongoing and growing energy costs and sludge disposal costs? Or do they want to take a modest responsibility for their own waste onsite and pay Y$, with greatly reduced OM&R costs. The Voters will have that decision to make when the time comes.

In addition, water conservation is a key component in keeping costs down as well, which means the community must install low-flow everything, if they haven’t already done so. In addition, and interesting to me, is the possibility of also using a tiered billing system for the waste water project since the focus of this project is WATER – the more you use, the more you’re increasing the overall treatment costs, then the more you should pay – exactly like our presently tiered water rates. Tiered rates encourage the thrifty, and make sure the wasteful pay their fair share. After all, the cheapest way to clean water is not to get it dirty in the first place.

Tanks in high ground water areas can be anchored so as to not float away. Long term pump-out for sludge/solids is a recommended pump out once every 12 – 20 years (depending on the occupancy numbers & etc.)

Alarm systems will operate via a wireless Web Base system to alert the plant operator if there are any problems and if so, exactly which house or junction.

The system will be phased in, hitting the hottest areas (highest in nitrates) then adding on the lowest nitrate areas. Also being discussed with the RWQCB is the use of onsite systems (i.e. something like the Piranha system now in use at the firehouse) where it could be used.

Ag exchange is a key component of this project. Instead of spending gazillions to get nitrates OUT of the water, the nitrates in the upper aquifer and the treated wastewater (treated to Title 22 tertiary, suitable for all uses, including food crops) are viewed as a valuable resource to the farmers on the outskirts of town. (Instead of buying nitrate fertilizer, the nitrates will arrive in the water in useable form and in the right amount for “free.”) The exchange involves the farmers using the treated nitrate-laden water instead of pumping and using deep aquifer potable (nitrate-free) water, thereby leaving that water for Los Ososians to drink. This exchange should also help slow the salt water intrusion to the west of Los Osos.

The treatment sites being looked at shouldn’t be visible from any public road and the preferred site has only one neighbor far away.

That’s some of what was presented at the Town Hall Meeting. The meeting was taped and I hope the community will have a chance to watch the proceedings. A final presentation will be on July 28, when the report is due.

So, now, Los Osos. Start your engines. It’s a race to the cliff in a truck filled with an apparently asleep at the switch majority while in the front cab grabbing for the steering wheel are a gaggle of warring factions, all armed with hidden agendas, teeth-grinding grudges, Medean blood in their eyes, Jihadi folks with bombs strapped to their chests, True Believers wielding long knives, all Hell-bent on murder/revenge/and/or suicide – Kill the CSD! TRI-W Forever! Hang Sam Blakeslee! Up the British! Die!Die!Whoever! Programs! Get Yer Programs! Can’t Tell The Players Without No Programs!

In other words, just another typical day in Sewerville. So, stay tuned. And have a nice day.

66 comments:

Mike Green said...

I went
I saw
I'm sold.
The Ripley project is elegant
100% reuse of the water.
I hope it sees the light of day!

There are going to be a few hard hurdles to clear first

The CSD must not become insolvent,
My guess is that between, the County, the CSD and Sam's good offices a temporary crutch will happen, possibly with the two million already ponied up by the County, It would be smart money for the county, because if BBP can get done, they won't get stuck holding the whole bag, liabilitys and everything.

As for the said and done costs,
that is someting that will be better tackled later.

Anonymous said...

Churadogs said:

"At the Los Osos Town Hall meeting of 7/7 (attended by about 80 – 100 people out of a community of 15,000??? what’s THAT all about?) "

I watched it all on TV, so make that 81-101. I'm sure others did also. We're not all asleep at the wheel - some of us are paying attention.

The Ripley proposal looks very promising and thorough. I look forward to its implementation. It seems to be the right solution for the community.

PublicWorks said...

Mike,

And most important, I'm banking on getting a free dozen at Carlocks. Some things are worth the wait.

Mike said, "My guess is that between, the County, the CSD and Sam's good offices a temporary crutch will happen,"

You left out perhaps the most important temporary crutch, a new TSO from our buddies over at the RWQCB - will the wink and a nod they are giving to the BPP turn into reality.

Reminiscent of the old Saturday Night Live skits from what's-her-name ending her rambling sketch with 'Never Mind'.

Mike Green said...

That will be the best lost bet I ever made!

Anonymous said...

Hi Ann,

Regarding the Ripley proposal presented at the July 7 townhall meeting;

Please remember that to determining the cost of this new plan, you start with the new project construction price in 2006 dollars (let's say $110,000,000 for arguments sake, not including loan financing & interest costs over 20 years), then you must ADD in the following:

1. The costs to the property owners for abandoning the Tri-W project (+$47,000,000).

2. The costs for redesign, permitting, site acquisition costs, step system easements, permit processing, and lawsuits (+$14,000,000, assuming $6,000,000 in from sale of Tri-W and Broderson)).

3. The legal/filing fees costs to create 5000 easements on private property (+$5,000,000) for the holding tanks.

4. About 5 years of construction cost inflation @ 8%/yearuntil construction commencement due to delays to perform redesign, permitting and the inevitable lawsuits. (+$30,000,000).

SO, the HARD costs are:
($110,000,000)+($47,000,000)+($14,000,000)+($5,000,000)+($30,000,000) =

$206,000,000 (Two hundred six million dollars)

NOW, let’s determine the SOFT costs.

“A.” The LOCSD needs to borrow $140,000,000 to construct a project ($110,000,000 in 2006 dollars + #4 costs above). Let us be optimistic and say we get a new SRF loan @ 2.5% interest with a maturity of 20 years. $140,000,000 @ 2.5% over 20 years results in total interest paid of $38,000,000.
If a SRF loan is not obtainable, using terms as per “B” below, that means $140,000,000@ 10% over 30 years results in interest paid of $302,000,000

“B.” The LOCSD needs to borrow $19,000,000 to pay for #1 and #2 above ($14,000,000 + $5,000,000). The LOCSD has a CCC credit rating. On the markets, that means a junk bond at 10% interest with a maturity of 30 years. $19,000,000 @ 10% over 30 years results in total interest paid of $41,000,000.

“C.” Los Osos property owners need to pay off the $47,000,000 cost of abandoning the Tri-W project. They decide that the LOCSD would float a bond assessment to pay off the debt. With terms as per “B” above, that means $47,000,000 @ 10% over 30 years results in total interest paid of $101,000,000.

SO, the SOFT coasts are ($38,000,000)+(41,000,000)+($101,000,000) with SRF loan or
($302,000,000)+(41,000,000)+(101,000,000) without SRF loan

$180,000,000 (One hundred seventy-three million dollars) with SRF loan or
$444,000,000 (four hundred forty-four million dollars) without SRF loan

TOTAL PROJECT COST over 30 years would ($206,000,000)+($180,000,000) =
$386,000,000 (Three hundred fifty-four million dollars) with SRF loan……………………….OR

($206,000,000)+(444,000,000) = $650,000,000 (Six hundred fifty million dollars) without SRF loan.

The $386,000,000 cost spread over 5000 property owners is $77,200 per property owner.
The $650,000,000 cost spread over 5000 property owners is $130,000 per property owner.

NOW, let’s determine the monthly payment of a typical property owner (assume annual OM&R of $600,000/year, or $50,000/month LOCSD cost, or $10/month per property owner).

The monthly payment would be OM&R + SRF loan “A” + Bond “B” + Bond “C” for year 1 to year 20.
The monthly payment would be OM&R + Bond “B” + Bond “C” for year 21 to year 30.

NEW PROJECT WITH SRF LOAN:
Monthly payment year 1 to year 20 is ($10)+($148)*+($34)**+($82)*** = $274/month per property owner.
Monthly payment year 21 to year 30 is ($10)+($34)+($82) = $126/month per property owner.
After year 30, property owners pay OM&R costs only

NEW PROJECT WITHOUT SRF LOAN:
Monthly payment year 1 to year 20 is ($10)+($361)****+($34)**+($82)*** = $485/month per property owner.
Monthly payment year 21 to year 30 is ($10)+($34)+($82) = $126/month per property owner.
After year 30, property owners pay OM&R costs only


THE MONTHLY COSTS OF THE SUSPENDED TRI-W PROJECT
Monthly payment year 1 to year 20 would have been $178/month per property owner.
Monthly payment year 21 to year 30 would have been $85/month per property owner.

Notes:
* ((( $178,000,000 / 20 years) / (12 months/year ) / (5000 prop. owners))) = $148/month

** ((($60,000,000 / 30 years) / (12 months/year) / (5000 prop. owners))) = $34/month

*** ((($148,000,000 / 30 years) / (12 months/year) / (5000 prop. owners))) = $82/month

**** ((($650,000,000 / 30 years) / (12 months/year) / (5000 prop. owners))) = $361/month

I hope you find this information useful.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Spectator said...

Ann:

At last some absolutely accurate reporting. I was there, sat next to you, and saw that you were taking copious notes. The system makes sense, the idea is valid. Ripley and company were asked hard questions and answered them.

I would assume since the tank would be owned by the LOCSD, on an easement, the district would be paying for not only the tank and monitoring equipment but the construction required. I also assume that the district would be paying any costs of pumping, should such be needed. If so, I would gladly GIVE them easement.

According to the chart presented, an average cost of each tank and installation would be aproximately $10,000 in today's dollars. With 4700 septic tanks that would come to 47 million dollars just to start, for septic tanks and equipment in the easement. When one considers the existing permitted system, a gravity system, the property OWNER would be picking up the costs of septic tank crushing and running sewer lines to the street. So there is a switching of costs and responsibility, which in my estimation is a good thing. Of course we will pay regardless in the long run. However, there was great uncertainty as to Califirnia law and acquiring the easement on private property. We actually own our water and gas lines, there is no easement involved. I am sure sense will prevail, but maybe not. What would happen if property owners wanted to be paid for the easement, or did not want to grant easement, or were contemplating home expansion, garage, or driveway construction over an easement? Will the county grant easement in their street right of way so the tanks can be put next to the street? More court cases for years? Sewer lines are easily moved, easements are mostly forever. Hope this can be worked out.

Ripley wants to build a large resevoir to hold nitrate rich water in reserve for farmers who will use it dry seasons. 120 days of effluent capacity. This, by necessity, will have to be a lined resevoir to prevent seepage into ground water. At times of the year, when the farmers are not using the water, there will be substantial algae bloom, which will strip oxygen from the water. The resevoir will have to be aerated or the algae will die and produce terrific stink. Of course there is algaecide. Excess algae, in dry and wet seasons, will have to be collected and composted, and filtered out before the water will be able to be used by farmers, if not, it will clog their sprinklers and drip emmiters. Of course there are solutions other solutions that have been used in the past. The resevoir can be covered in addition to lined. Can the farmers use all the effluent? Most use drip systems, and closely monitor and regulate the amount of fertilizer from their anhydrous ammonia tanks. I have not seen a fertilizer truck spreading dry fertilizer for quite a while, while it was common in the past.

We will be building this system proposed by an admittedly biased STEP engineering company who would like the contract.

Many sites were considered, some impossible to build upon such as Andre 1 where easements make it impossible, and moving the powerlines rediculously expensive.

Andre 2 is too small. In my estimation their rating system was a dog and pony show with visual and intellectual pollution. So I am skeptical. Why rate sites that are impossible? Andre 1 was rated above Tri-W, which of course is too small for their system.

I await an honest comparison between TRI-W and their system, with full cost analysis, complete energy consumption reports, permit costs, etc. There are also questions of time frame. Although this seems like a logical system with many benefits, and a system that I would prefer to the Tri-W system, I learned a long time ago that a "bird in the hand is better than ten in a bush".

Especially when regulating boards are saying "Stop NOW". I also fully realise that inflation is upon us, costs will continue to rise, and it is VERY uncertain that the LOCSD will be able to continue, do to it's finantial situation.

To Mike Green: Do not be sold too quickly. It will take far more than the 2 million to save the LOCSD. Besides, they cannot make a gift of taxpayers funds. They would be severely taken to task in even loaning it to a CCC rated entity.

Mike Green said...

Mr. LeGros, Thank you for the input,
Am I wrong in pointing out that the OM&R costs are probably where the new project could very well outperform TriW?
Did you listen to Ripley's dissertation about total energy costs of water/wastewater systems?

Sustainability and expandability were key parts of the new plan.

Again, I say let's concider costs and affordability at a later date,

We need to be solidly on the track to construction before we start complaining about money.
I know this sounds stupid and counterintuitive, but I think it's the most politicaly prudent thing to do concidering how our backwards government seems to work.
Always easier to react to a problem rather that prevent one.

Mike Green said...

Jon, great to see you and Ann last night.
I'm happy that you were impressed with the report, I was too, obviously,
As far as being sold on something "too quickly" I say "not soon enough"
The hard part is going to be getting the political will and firepower needed to accomplish this.
I see the BBP as the best road foreward, and there aint many scientists on that road, not may accountants either, nope, its politicians. Politics is paramount here, we need to concentrate on aruments that are a win-win to the broadest spectrum.

Like I said before,

Even shipwrecked pirates will pull together. untill they reach the shore!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,

Money is the issue. Always has been.

If the Ripley project costs are near these estimates, the project will not be acceptable to the propety owners.

I am happy to see that I am reacting to what you state as a "problem" (Riply project); and I am trying to prevent a problem (cost of Ripley project)

As for the OM&R costs, I am assuming that Ripley project OM&R costs will be lower than Tri-W....but OM&R are not the driving force in project costs.

Since when did "expandabilty" become a driving force on this project. I would suggest that large developers relish the thought of "expandibility".

As for "sustainabilty", the Tri-W project had water recharge benefits, as well as lowering draw on the lower auqifer over time (read in reversing salt water intrusion).

In short; the Ripley project is not "faster" than Tri-W, it is NOT cheaper than Tri-W, nor is it better than Tri-W; just different.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Spectator said...

To Mike Green:

Well the costs from Ripley will come at a later date, but Ripley said last night that they would be not complete because of the scope of their contract (or such). They will be looking to the LOCSD for more money and will not be able to find it. Hell, it is uncertain if the LOCSD can continue its cases due to lack of funds.

PRO BONO anyone? ANYONE? REAL pro bono?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (R. LeGros) said,

"In short; the Ripley project is not "faster" than Tri-W, it is NOT cheaper than Tri-W, nor is it better than Tri-W; just different."

It's better because it's not in the middle of town, period!
And I believe it's going to be cheaper in the long run.

By the way, how can abandoning Tri-W cost 47 million?
I haven't paid a dime yet.

Mike Green said...

Mr. LeGros, If supporting the TriW project is the best solution in your opinion, then great, I have no problem with that. I think the county will pick the best thing, my opinion is the new plan is better. where we might agree and work together may be in supporting the BBP as the best vehicle to realise the project.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon above.

Yes, you have paid a "dime". What do you think those bond assessments of $256/year are on your property tax role are?

That payment you will have to pay for another 28 years unless the LOCSD defaults on the payments Sepemebr 1. If they default, yu will have to pay back to the bonding company the $3800 you borowed from them.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,

I do not see your optimism. There are numerous unknowns in the Ripley proposal.

I have ony stated cost estimates. Sorry you do not like them. Raining on your parade is not my intent.....just providing a little sunshine of reality.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Mike Green said...

Mr. LeGross, To "rain on my parade" has been tried by people WAY more caustic than you.
It's not that I like or dislike your costs estimates, I don't dispute them at all, In fact, I thanked you for them.
I don't see your pessimism (sp? sorry)

Why not take a chance at sucsess?

Would you be offended if I just refer to you as Richard or Rick? I hate typing.

Mike Green said...

publickworks,
Reminiscent of the old Saturday Night Live skits from what's-her-name ending her rambling sketch with 'Never Mind'.
Lilli Tomlin?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (R LeGros) said:

"Yes, you have paid a "dime". What do you think those bond assessments of $256/year are on your property tax role are?

That payment you will have to pay for another 28 years unless the LOCSD defaults on the payments Sepemebr 1. If they default, yu will have to pay back to the bonding company the $3800 you borowed from them."

I asked about why defaulting on TriW will cost 47 million. Yes, the bond assessment is being paid each year at the rate of $21/month. The total bond assessment is 3800 x 5000 = 19 million. Has all that money been spent?

Where does the extra 28 million come from? If that is amount from construction related lawsuit from Barnard, it is way way overstated. Any actual settlement will be for a fraction of that amount as we all know.

Anonymous said...

LeGross.
If I were you i'd Delete the words cheaper better faster from my vocabulary

Anonymous said...

All the Bonds HAVE been spent. And were long before the new board came into being. Even the prepaid assessments were spent, so add another $2.5 million to the $17.9 million, all spent before breaking ground, which btw yesterday was the anniversary of Lisa and Julie's shovel tossing, and Joey's false arrest tree climb.
the contractor's actually have about $6 million coming to them, the LOCSD's response to LAFCO last week (that omitted the 04-05 audit -- oops Bleskey, sending sweet Julie Tacker into the wolves. I bet she chewed you a new one! Which you deserve.) shows very well what the LOCSD owes them. Nowhere near the $28 million figure bantied about by the press and others (LeGros). Get over it LeGros, don't give those rapest contractors at 46% over engineers bid estimate any credit for their lousy 3,000 feet of pipe in the ground and 11 acre destruction of ESHA. Monterey Mechanical is the worst of them for providing the grading bond when Bruce's own house couldn't be used for collateral. Barnard nearly as bad, frontloading their operation, and just now getting their crap out of town, what an eyesore. Mid-State Properties owns the old Walker Ranch, near the middle school, and f'd up when they scraped the land before the permit was valid, I hope USFWS comes down on them hard.

Anonymous said...

Out of town is way BETTER. I, too, watched on Channel 20 (makes 82). Ripley's plan was amazingly 21st century...low energy, water reuse, takin' care of our own business! If we can get this to happen we can drop the label "sewer saga" and become the "water model". I for one would really enjoy that. We have an opportunity to get it right this time. BTW, where is Inlet today? Does he/she actually have a life/ (unlike the rest of us)

Mike Green said...

Dear anon "of us"

I asked Sam what "we" as Los Osoans could do to help this process along,
I think he was tired and a little travel weary but I suggested writing the appropriations commitee. He said that would be a great idea.

One suggestion would be to include your name.

(That was a snarkey comment in honor of spectator)

Anonymous said...

Hi various Anons above,

Just to clarify the $47,000,000 which we will spend to terminate the Tri-W project.

+$19,700,000 in spent bond money +$6,500,000 SRF fines
+$6,400,000 SRF loan replayment
+$14,400,000 to pay contrators*
-------------
$47,000,000 TOTAL OWED

Note:
* Contactors owed for project work performed. 90 days project suspention costs, mob and demob, return of materials, loss of profit, legal fees. I do not believe that the contractors are owed $28,000,000. $14,400,000 is more realistic.

Just a suggestion. There is no need for bloggers to be nasty towards me. I am just offereing some cost estimates. I really do not have any preference regarding one plan or the other. In fact, Ripley's plan is very interesting. So let's just be civil.


Regards, Richard LeGros

Mike Green said...

Richard, (if I may be so bold)
Please grow a blogger skin!
The very fact that you sign your name is important!
Anons can't hurt you-- realy
I'm living proof!

Anonymous said...

Hi Richard and thank you for your interesting posts. Do you think there is any chance that the SRF loan money and SRF fines could be "forgiven?" I know this sounds stupid but I have the impression that Blakeslee may be able to get us some help here. I would think the fines might have a good chance of being cancelled because unlike the loan we don't literally owe it "back" they are a punishment. But if we get a project going and are cooperating...

Anonymous said...

Yes everyone please be civil. Let's not end up like the discussion group over at the Tibune. Have you looked at that discussion? It is a waste of time in my opinion. These discussions are much better. We have posters here who really have good information and seem to care about what happens, regardless of the "side" they are on.

Mike Green said...

Thank you Anons!

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

Sad that Joe beat me to the punch ... but ...

You claimed that STEP would save us more than enough money to make up for the expensive septic replacement. That claim is full of crap. At face value, that's 4800 septics at $10k each or $48M. Comparing that to the TriW gravity collection system that was priced at $70M you've only got $22M left to spend on the pipes. Even Al Barrow who says that STEP is 1/3 the cost of gravity would have to calculate the cost of STEP here as 1/3 of $70M which is $23M.

This is before we include inflation from the delay.

Nope, you are dead wrong.

Like before, might I suggest you get a friend who is good at numbers to proofread your stuff before you put it out there on the blog? Joe would probably be willing. Why not ask? It can't hurt to work with others to gain common understanding!

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon, two above.

Will the RWQCB forgive the fines? Maybe some $ but not all. But can Los Osos really say that we "co-operating" when we just stopped a viable project for political reasons?

Will the State SWRCB forgive the SRF money. No; they are not about to make a gift of public (taxpayer) money to Los Osos. However, they might work the $6,400,000 into a new SRF loan under certain circumstances.

Will the $19,700,000 in Bond assessment owed go away. Never.

Will the Contractors be paid? Yes; but the dollar amount is in question.

But let us have some fun and assume that the fines will be reduced to, say, $1,500,000. And let's asume that the contractors will gladly settle for $4,000,000. And lets assume that the old SRF loan spent is given as a gift to Los Osos by our golden State.......

All said, the community would still pay $26,700,000 to abandon Tri-W. Of course, these costs would have to added on top of the cost of a new project.

So pick a cost to abandon the Tri-W project. We can all see that those cost are not going to disappear; nor is Los Osos going to avoid paying them.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Anonymous said...

Shark Inlet said,

"That claim is full of crap. At face value, that's 4800 septics at $10k each or $48M."

Where do you get the 10K per septic tank replacement? Remember that economies of scale come into play here.
Replacing 4800 tanks is different than replacing 1. An entire area can be done with all equipment in proximity.
An enterprising contractor could come in and do several jobs at roughly the same location for much less than doing a single replacement. This is what happens when folks come around with offers to recoat asphalt driveways.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon above,

Let us assume that an economy of scale can reduce the cost to replace the tanks by 15%. That means that tank replace per home would be $8,500 average.

4,800 homes @ $8,500 each is $40,800,000. Still a large hung of change. The point that sharkinlet was making that these are initial costs that the property owner would make out of pocket; and that those costs do not make STEP/STAG waaay cheaper as others have stated. In short, please give sharkinlet his due to question dubious cost claims.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Anonymous said...

To Shark or Anon (RLG):

My question is:

Where did the 10K/septic replacement figure come from?

Then on July 28, we'll see how this speculation compares to Ripley's proposal since he is assuming in his total cost analysis a septic replacement rate of 95%.

Shark Inlet said...

Um ... the $10k was from the chart presentd at the Ripley meeting. Spectator noted that above. Even at $5k each (assuming a huge "bulk discount" rate), five years of inflation would eat up any discount that we would get from STEP over gravity.

The key point here isn't that STEP is bad, but that delay is bad. Delay because STEP will save us money (interestingly enough, STEP would require the use of more electricity than a gravity collection system ... I guess we won't get any sort of SRF loan to cover the collection system if SRF loans really require "sustainability") will actually raise the costs.

The "cheapest" solution, if delayed even a few years, will be more expensive than the "most expensive" solution today.

If $200-250/month sounds expensive, just wait until we find out what the actual bill will be. My guess is that it will be higher (unless some grants come in to cover a HUGE amount).

The folks at CalTrans should know this all too well because they are in the business of building public works projects and the inflation in labor, diesel, concrete and steel are pretty much the reason delay has been costing the LOCSD.

Anonymous said...

I said this before but I'll say it again. Who knows maybe this time someone will listen.

Send your wastewater to the City of SLO, yes we will mark up the cost- let's say 20% and the City will do all the treatment.

Now you may ask why would the City of SLO want your wastewater--well actually the City doesn't want your crap but the City can use the treated wastewater in their greywater system that has been built.

Now your going to say, "but how do we recharge our groundwater?". Well you don't you get your water from the City of SLO. See the City oversubscibed by about 2000 acre feet for Nacimiento. Don't worry about why they did that, let's just say there is water available to sell to you folks. Yes, for a little markup you have all the water you need.

See it's a win/win for everyone.

Anonymous said...

It's kind of funny, I was thinking of taking bets on when Richard LeGros would return to this blog site after claiming he wouldn't post again. I had 5 or 6 days. So I would have been in the running for the money. Another elected official whose word you cannot trust. Well, in this case, a Recalled official.

Ron said...

An Anon said:

"It's better because it's not in the middle of town, period!"

Good point.

MG said:

"publickworks,
Reminiscent of the old Saturday Night Live skits from what's-her-name ending her rambling sketch with 'Never Mind'.
Lilli Tomlin?"


Emily Latilla (Gilda Radner). Ann's brought her up a couple of times.

An Anon said:

"LeGross.
If I were you i'd Delete the words cheaper better faster from my vocabulary"


Funny. (It's good to have you back, though, Richard. I give you much more room than Pandora, Stan, or Gordon, because your name doesn't show up in the part of the Solution Group's newsletter that says, "Solution Group members include:")

MG said:

"Richard, (if I may be so bold)... Please grow a blogger skin!"

That's well put. For God's sake, look at what's been thrown at me and Ann, and we keep blogging away. (By the way, Richard, do you have the draft version of your letter to the SWRQCB's Division of Financial Assistance supporting the new SRF loan ready? That would be a big help in solving all of this come early August.)

LOCSD to Coastal Commission: "May we please build our new treatment facility away from..."

Coastal Commission: YES! (STAMP! APPROVED!)

Imma thinkin' contractors back by October, huh?

Write that letter, Richard, and get Stan and Gordon to sign it, too (and be sure to give Ann and me a copy).

Anonymous said...

Ron,

A letter signed by me, Stan and Gordon would not mean a thing to the RWQCB or the SWRCB; nor would it help the LOCSD acquire a new SRF loan. The ability to get a new SRF loan is entirely in the hands of the current CSD Board.

As long as the current board refuses to build a perfectly viable and permitted waste water project political reasons, I doubt the Stae will approve another SRF loan.

Of course, I am sure others will state that the project was flawed for this or that reason; but such comments are meaningless for the State found the project perfectly viable; and bring Los Osos into compliance with the law.

Regards, Richard LeGros

PS: I was never a member iof the Solution Group. I fought them for they were wrong to thhnk their project would be (ahem) "Cheaper, Faster and Better". By the way, the "new" project supporters are wrong for the same reasons as the Solution Group...the new project will not be cheaper, nor faster, nor better...just different.

Spectator said...

On the eve of destruction:

Some people in this community feel that a sewer system will not be built for another 30 years, and are in complete denial of the necessity and the power of government to force it upon us. There are others who see any project as unaffordable and realise they will HAVE to move to avoid payments. Others realise they may be dead or in a rest home before this happens. Others feel Government will take care of us. Then there are others who simply feel "What? Me worry?". Then there are renters, who will never assume any obligations, and if their rents are raised can move out of state, etc. Others who feel "Well, I will wait and see what happens, if it happens". There are people who participate.

All of the above have the right to vote. Some vote, some don't. With the exception of the renters, there will be two votes by ONLY property owners required within the next two years.

The first vote will be to bail out the LOCSD from debt and give it operating money. They will have to determine if self rule is worth increased taxes (assessment) or not. The second vote will be to assess themselves for any sewer system.

Both of these votes will be on top of the previous assessment vote which passed, and the property owners are now paying. If the LOCSD defaults on the loan payment this September, the loan will go into default, and will be due and payable by each property owner in the PZ for their share.

When one logically considers the fact that there have been 3000+ property owners signing a petition to dissolve the LOCSD, I seriously doubt the first vote will pass. These are not apathetic voters!

The second vote will only pass if the consequences ($) of voting no, or not voting, are greater than the lesser consequences ($) of voting yes. If the CCRWQCB decides to fine individual property owners $500 a month for a sewer system costing $300+/-, but less than $500 a month, the vote will be yes. There is another consideration: fines are not tax deductable. Assessment payments added to property taxes are tax deductable.

The CCRWQCB holds all the cards and so does LAFCO. Will the courts overrule the decisions of either?

This is Democracy in action. But Democracy in action through the years has now put us into a terrible position of LOCSD insolvency, and delayed a sewer system to the point of total unaffordability for many in our community.

I was roundly booed for speaking out last Thursday night at the Board meeting. I told the board that I was ashamed of them, that they could have done better. They sat wide eyed and never replied. They understand. Later, after some lady took them on about transparancy, Lisa spoke for a long period about community trust, and that she could not bear being not trusted. This also is Democracy in action. Democracy is hard work, finances take hard decisions. There are always tough decisions.

It is far easier to sit back and pick any decision to death based upon belief and feelings. But finances are based upon reality, hence budgets and projections are required. There are always large unforseen consequences for the ignorant. Only the wise and knowledgeble have a chance of foresight.
Hope should not be a component, nor fate, "what if" should prevail.

We really need to figure out how each property owner is going to pay for ANY sewer system, before we pick ANY system. We need to make hard decisions.

I guess "the voters have decided". How about the apathetic? Ain't democracy great? However there is no better way, in my opinion.

Ann is correct concerning voter participation, and is right to shame those who do not participate.

And I shame those who were elected to represent a whole community, and did not consider the financial welfare of all, including the apathetic. We are a Representitive Democracy, and we hold our representitives accountable.

In Los Osos, our little district is on it's eve of destruction.

Anonymous said...

Very well said, Jon. It summarizes the entire situation...the eve of destruction!

Mike Green said...

Bravo Jon, well put.

We DO live in interesting times.

Mike Green said...

Hmmm, anyone see anything in the Trivial about this?

Churadogs said...

Mr. Le Gros sez"Just a suggestion. There is no need for bloggers to be nasty towards me. I am just offereing some cost estimates. I really do not have any preference regarding one plan or the other. In fact, Ripley's plan is very interesting. So let's just be civil.


Regards, Richard LeGros "
If you had no preference regarding one plan or the other, then why did you vote to pound millions into the ground weeks before a recall election that was all about getting a fair hearing for a different (out of town)plan? Seems to me, moving qickly to pound millions into the ground to start the Tri-W plan when you didn't have to, indicates a STRONG preference.

Mike sez:"publickworks,
Reminiscent of the old Saturday Night Live skits from what's-her-name ending her rambling sketch with 'Never Mind'.
Lilli Tomlin? "

It was the late -- great -- Gilda Radner playing Emily Latella.

Mr. LeGros sez"Anonymous said...
Ron,

A letter signed by me, Stan and Gordon would not mean a thing to the RWQCB or the SWRCB; nor would it help the LOCSD acquire a new SRF loan. The ability to get a new SRF loan is entirely in the hands of the current CSD Board."

This is where I think you're dead wrong. Consider what might had happened IF certain people had not emailed Roger Briggs to beg for fire and brimstone to be rained down on their town, what might have happened if the Dreamers & and Old Recalled Board Members had written to the SWB & RWQCB supporting publicly the "October Compromise," for example, or had formally signed on as "Interested Parties" in the CDOs and formally gave public comment at the CDO hearings or even the ACL hearings, had formally written and emailed the RWQCB members to state that the community, once divided, was now rowing together with your help and to invite their help as well, what would have happened had Shirley Bianchi NOT written to SWB Baggtett basically underminding the new CSD and portraying them as a bunch of no-nothings and implying that she could do an end run around them if he so wished. Perception is reality. Is anyone surprised that people outside Los Osos believe us to be a bunch of Anti-Sewer morons? Silence can be a deadly a weapon. You cannot credibly claim helpless "innocence" in any of this.

Spectator sez"When one logically considers the fact that there have been 3000+ property owners signing a petition to dissolve the LOCSD, I seriously doubt the first vote will pass. These are not apathetic voters!"

Please keep in mind that many people signed the petition because the dissolution literature falsely conflated dissolution with being protected or saved from CDOs. Fear doesn't allow people to make wise decisions. And fear-mongering for political or personal reasons never helps any situation.

Spectator also sez:"But Democracy in action through the years has now put us into a terrible position of LOCSD insolvency, and delayed a sewer system to the point of total unaffordability for many in our community."

It was not "democracy" that pushed Tri-W forward with it's nonexistent "strongly held community values," or "bait and switch" or refusal to do the CC's in-town-out-of-town side by side comparisons, or allow a vote on the two choices or stand down for the recall vote before pounding money into the ground. That was NOT "democracy" at work.

spectator also sez:"We really need to figure out how each property owner is going to pay for ANY sewer system, before we pick ANY system. We need to make hard decisions."

Hasn't that been the problem from day one? No scientifically defensible basin plan, no isotope nitrate studies, no serious flexibility or overall plan, to date, still no affordability study which would dictate what type of system/plan can be used, etc.etc. Instead, the cart was firmly jammed before the horse and both lashed into a furious race off the cliff. There were many hands wielding that whip, all of whom now claim, "Uh, not me, I didn't have the power to do anything, Nuh-huh, wasn't me." Ah, so many little fingerprints and zero suspects in the dock.

Well, That may well be the epitaph of Los Osos: "Things Simply Happen Backwards Here For No Known Reason, Gosh Darn, Not MY Responsibility, Nuh, Huh, Don't Look At Me, Nope, Dunno, Oh, LIke, WhatEVER" and as our town seal, the grinning face of Mad Magazine's Alfred "What Me Worry?" E. Newman.

Anonymous said...

"Please keep in mind that many people signed the petition because the dissolution literature falsely conflated dissolution with being protected or saved from CDOs. Fear doesn't allow people to make wise decisions. And fear-mongering for political or personal reasons never helps any situation."

Wow...it's deja vu all over again. Sound familiar? "Measure B protects us. We won't get fined. We won't lose the SRF loan. We've got a plan. It's ready to go." Not sure fear is any worse than false hope based on out and out lies.

Shark Inlet said...

Ann, that's so much spinning that I'm surprised you didn't throw up afterwords.

Blow-by-blow ... Richard has already explained the reasoning for his votes here several times. Your question presumes there were other choices. Richard has explained how those other choices were (in his opinion) far worse.

You also presume Roger Briggs would have acted differently had he received no encouragement from Los Osos residents to fine Los Osos residents. Pretty clearly before the election he indicated that voting in a new board and voting for Measure B would have no impact on the time schedule order. A lack of progress (as defined by the waterboards) toward the goal would result in action. Just because you believe that people named "Pandora" have magic powers over folks charged to protect the environment of the state and to enforce state laws doesn't make it so. In fact, if you recall it was only in January that individual CDOs were requested ... and it was the RWQCB ... the board itself, not staff who requested them. Why? In part I believe the reason was because the LOCSD lawyer told the RWQCB at the ACL hearing that fines for the district were not permissible but this same lawyer told the RWQCB that individual enforcement actions like CDOs was permissible. In short, you are asking us to believe that individual e-mails to staffers have more of an impact than statements of the LOCSD advocate during a formal hearing with the board.

As to your claim about a Bianchi letter to Baggett (which I've not heard of before ... where can I find information about such a letter and it's contents?) portraying the LOCSD board as know-nothings ... it seems that the way the district has been run into bankruptcy shows them to be pretty much ... um ... know nothings. Frankly had they not hired Ripley to do a study with their last $500k they would have been able to keep the lights on far longer.

You missed the point of Spectator's comment about the votes. The first vote he was refering to would be a vote to raise money to keep the CSD from going bankrupt, not to avoid CDOs and fines and the like. Simply put, the current CSD board has not acted in ways that would cause property owners to trust them at all. They've made choices that property owners disagree with strongly. Property owners won't agree to pay for more poor decisions. They would rather the CSD be dissolved or a receiver appointed to make wiser choices than the current board. Frankly, if the cost of water and garbage were to go up instead of a property tax it would spread the burden a bit more fairly onto renters as well as homeowners.

In your reply to your second quote from Spectator you attempt to justify crappy decisions by the current CSD board by saying that the solutions group made some crappy decisions and because theirs were first, the current board shouldn't be blamed. Stupid!

Even if TriW wasn't the best choice at the time (and I've not seen any evidence that it wasn't) doesn't mean that stopping TriW is a good idea. Simply put, once 2002 came and went, the cost of moving from developing at TriW to developing somewhere else has continued to grow. If the recall campaign had been "we'll get it out of town but it will cost you 50% more every month" it would have been more honest and the recall would have failed. Making choices (such as this board has) to increase our costs without asking us whether we want to trade higher bills for moving the site is just as bad as the actions you are complaining about from our previous board. Do you not see this?

As for your comment about taking responsibility ... it would seem to fit our current board very well. Rather than say something like "we knew we would be fined but the fines are worth it becuase we have a better project in mind" they complain about how hard they are working and how the mean people at the waterboard are just trying to punish Los Osos.

What many people here seem to forget is that every day in Los Osos there are about one million gallons of illegal discharge which is causing our groundwater to be polluted.

How is it environmentally sound to stop a project that would at least partially solve this problem? If we now have an extra five years before we have a working sewer it will be 1.8 Billion (with a B) gallons of pollution. That would cover all of Los Osos (including outside the PZ) to a depth of more than a foot. Think about it ... our choice to delay the WWTF is the equivalent of having a foot of sewage covering every square inch of town.

Finally taking responsibility for our pollution is exactly what the LOCSD was doing between 2001 and 2005.

Anonymous said...

Shark inlet,

As an analyst, I appreciate your methodical point by point answering of Churadog's drumming mantra of:

"strongly held community values," or "bait and switch" or "pounding money into the ground", etc.

I've often wanted to take one of her posts, remove all excess modifiers and see what is left!

For example, this diatribe toward Richard could have been reduced to:

"I think Richard caused the water boards to fine and CDO the community and thus this 'eve of distruction' is all his responsibility, period"

No points of law, or regulations, or rulings of a court are needed to reach this conclusion, because it reduces down Churadog's opinion.

PublicWorks said...

LeGros did not support the formation of the CSD, while Ann was duped.

So then, who has better judgement?

One of those fingerprints on this disaster wouldn't happen to be Ann's, now would it?

This is my favorite:

"Fear doesn't allow people to make wise decisions."

Fear of failure can be a very good motivation. Let's see, if I don't go to work tomorrow, I may be fired, so is it a wise decision to go to work tomorrow?

Very confusing, Ann.

Ron said...

Shark said:

"Frankly had they not hired Ripley to do a study with their last $500k they would have been able to keep the lights on far longer."

If that is indeed their last $500k, I can't think of a better way to spend it -- hire a reputable wastewater engineering firm and have them show exactly why Tri-Dub was the second worst location to build a sewer plant in Los Osos (Sweet Springs Nature Preserve would be the worst). Now they can shove that document in everyone's face... best damn $500k LO has ever spent. Worth every penny!

An Anon said:

"As an analyst, I appreciate your methodical point by point answering of Churadog's drumming mantra of: "strongly held community values," or "bait and switch" or ", etc"

HEY! Let's get something straight: "Strongly held community values", and "bait and switchy" are my drumming mantras!

"Pounding money into the ground," is Ann's... and it's a great one. Richard had a choice, Shark. He could have sided with Julie and Lisa (and about 100 other people that spoke at that meeting that selected the recall election date) and moved the recall election date up a month. If he would have done that -- and that is all he had to do -- Tri-W goes untouched. But, as anyone that attended that faithful meeting, like I did, will tell you, the CSD-3 selected the second to the latest possible date so the community could get "more informed."

That argument from the same group of people with the drumming mantra of "this has been going on for 30 years."

Nice logic, guys. (Nice ditch, too... funded by California taxpayers).

Spectator said...

Ann, come on please.

You reply to Richard LeGros:

"If you had no preference regarding one plan or the other, then why did you vote to pound millions into the ground weeks before a recall election that was all about getting a fair hearing for a different (out of town)plan? Seems to me, moving qickly to pound millions into the ground to start the Tri-W plan when you didn't have to, indicates a STRONG preference."


Absolutely correct: Strong preference, you betcha! Time counts. Especially when being confronted by the CCRWQCB to get the job done with a fully permitted and financed system that had been previously contracted for. No other plan existed and still does not exist, despite Ripley.

"when you didn't have to". NO MAM. Had to in order to comply with the law. To do otherwise would have probably come out with the same results. While hindsight is 20/20, to assume the voters who voted to assess themselves to build the TRI-W system, or any system, would bail out and violate the law through a recall to stop the sewer, would take a real crystal ball. The election was VERY close. Whatsamatta you?

"Please keep in mind that many people signed the petition because the dissolution literature falsely conflated dissolution with being protected or saved from CDOs. Fear doesn't allow people to make wise decisions. And fear-mongering for political or personal reasons never helps any situation."

Not so! The dissolution movement started slightly after we lost the low interest loan and the funds dispersed were demanded back. Many of us saw the effects of this on property owners, and continued to hear the board's rhetoric. When the board gave a gift of public funds to the attornys, we knew we were dealing with a lawless bunch capable of doing great harm. The CCRWQCB was already threatoning CDOs and had been for years. Taxpayers Watch had the foresight to see they were coming in January. The dissolution petition started circulating the second week in February, AFTER the early Feb CCRWQCB meeting. It was absolutely clear CDOs were coming. The LOCSD was fined the equivelent of six years of income. "Fear mongering?" El Toro poopoo! When is foresight based on past performance of the CCRWQCB, fines, and proper interpretation of pronouncements considered "Fear Mongering". At this time, with 20/20 hindsight, do you think any intelligent property owner would not again sign this petition? It is clear that the CDOs were threatoned to force compliance by the CCRWQCB. The CCRWQCB's business is to force compliance with the law. If we start on any legally permitted and financed system, would it not show we are attempting compliance, and the CDOs counterproductive? The CCRWQCB members are not fools and idiots. They want compliance!

Ann sez: "It was not "democracy" that pushed Tri-W forward with it's nonexistent "strongly held community values," or "bait and switch" or refusal to do the CC's in-town-out-of-town side by side comparisons, or allow a vote on the two choices or stand down for the recall vote before pounding money into the ground. That was NOT "democracy" at work."

Sorry Ann, what is it about representative democracy that you do not understand? The previous board was elected to do a job. The current board was elected to stop a job. The current board was not elected to destroy our district. The reason why we have representative democracy is that we elect officials who are supposed to be smarter than the electorate. You want pure democracy? Mob rule with baseball bats is pure democracy. Also, if you remember, the Andre site was being touted as "The site" and the Nelson Environmental Plan as "the Plan", despite the absolute impossibility of ever using the Andre site because of PG&E easements. Your buddy, Ron Crawford, pushed this site without knowing of the easement problem or ever mentioning the problem. Is this not a fact?


spectator also sez:"We really need to figure out how each property owner is going to pay for ANY sewer system, before we pick ANY system. We need to make hard decisions."

ANN sez: "Hasn't that been the problem from day one? No scientifically defensible basin plan, no isotope nitrate studies, no serious flexibility or overall plan, to date, still no affordability study which would dictate what type of system/plan can be used, etc.etc.

You are absolutely correct. So what? The sewer system was mandated a long time ago. Do you understand what "mandated" means? You can dance with a mandate, but you cannot defy it. As to "affordability study": one could make a good case that people living in homes and on property worth $350,000 up could afford a sewer. EVERYONE pleads poverty with two loafs of bread under each arm.

And hey, I do not want to pay for this sewer either, and I surely do not want to pay for obstruction of the law. I am ashamed of the current board who has put us into insolvency, and ashamed of those who continue to nit-pick with shoulda-coulda. We are going to build a sewer, the sooner the better, the later the FAR more costly. Only those on the dole get a free lunch, and lousey at that: stale bread and baloney. Save the boloney for those on the dole. Send it to the LOCSD board.

Ann sez:
"Instead, the cart was firmly jammed before the horse and both lashed into a furious race off the cliff. There were many hands wielding that whip, all of whom now claim, "Uh, not me, I didn't have the power to do anything, Nuh-huh, wasn't me." Ah, so many little fingerprints and zero suspects in the dock.""

Absolutely false, ANN. Deliberated by those who would be paying the bills, and the cart was compliance with the law. You talk about a race off a cliff? Look to the actions of the current board: pure suicide for the district, and they took the poor property owners with them. Ain't representative democracy great?

Shark Inlet said...

Well, between Spectator, myself, Ann and Ron it seems that there is an issue here that the facts may resolve.

To summarize Ann and Ron's position ... the election date could and should have been set before the start of construction.

What I remember is that there was a fixed date by which construction would be required to start. I don't remember that date. I also remember the board making a decision to fix the date of the election as late as possible so that there could be more campaign time and more time for others to toss their hats into the ring for recall seats. (Boy, wouldn't it be nice if the LOCSD had all this information on their website? Hardly any effort to save each word document as a PDF and put up a link.)

Publicworks and Richard may have better memories than I do on this matter. Hopefully they will correct me if I am wrong.

However, even if I am wrong and the election had been scheduled before the start of construction, what would be different today. Presumably the LOCSD would have been sued by contractors for promising to pay them for work then backing out of the contract for no reason. Maybe however the contractors wouldn't be suing for just hanging around Los Osos doing nothing like they are today. The SWRCB wouldn't be asking for their $6.5M back because they wouldn't have given it to us. The ACL hearings, loss of SRF, CDOs and all that would have still happened. What would be different? Only one thing ... we would have been bankrupt far sooner.

As to Ron's claim that the Ripley study was a good way to spend money ... I sort of imagine a guy spending his last $500 (what he needed to pay his rent) on a tax accountant telling him how he should invest his next million. Never mind that he doesn't have a million dollars, the information is worth it. In this case, spending money on Ripley was the wrong choice. Had they come to us and asked (maybe with a 218 vote) whether we wanted to spend money on a study of alternative sites and alternative technologies we could have said yes or no. As it is, they made a choice to fire staff members, lower fire services and raise garbage and water rates just so that we can get a biased opinion of where the best site is. Ron and Ann, I note with interest that neither of you have defended Ripley's assumption that 100% Ag-exchange and ponding is best for Los Osos ... and those two assumptions, along with ignoring inflation and the time to site, permit and design a plant completely sway the best choice from TriW to out-of-town. Different assumptions would make TriW look the best and the others distant 2nd, 3rd and etc.

Spectator said...

Shark?

Could you please tell the people on this blog how to put up links? You seem to be the only one sucessful in this.

Spectator said...

To El Tiberon:

The Ripley report was biased and they admitted it. The assumptions were clearly made to come to a conclusion that Ripley and the board wished. Despite this, and great unknowns, it was a very interesting presentation. Where was Ripley in 2000 and their website? Where was ag exchange? Where were the people who knew about this in LOS OSOS, then? Why were they not knocking on our door?

When did the CCRWQCB first stress the importance of ag exchange?

How come Nelson Environmental was not along with them at that time?

What happened to Nelson Environmental? Why was this firm dropped like a hot potato? They sent people down and presented their plan at the request of the recall people. They had a great plan, and it cost us nothing. Of course, it was way after the fact, coming to confuse people into voting for the recall. Nobody supporting the recall even considered the great cost of delay. In fact the whole purpose was to delay.

At the Ripley presentation, nothing was said about time lines, the cost of time lines, and from whom financing could be received. All that was said was that financing was available. Time of permitting was not mentioned.

Despite what seemed to me to be a great project, many questions remain. The most important being "How can the LOCSD pull this off with no money and deeply in debt."

You are correct in your analysis.

PublicWorks said...

The should, woulda, coulda discussion is totally meaningless at this point, other than maybe deciding who 'owns' the best catch phrases.

The question is: What action needs to be taken to finally treat wastewater and stop on-going violations (not just to satisfy bureaucrats, but to resolve for long-term water use).

Anyone got a printing press for money?? Unless the US Department of Treasury throws a bunch of Benji's our way, moving towards improved treatment can proceed in some orderly fashion if either:

1) CSD raises money. Meaning Prop 218 vote. Any bets on the chance of success of this, or if the CSD can remain solvent long enough for a vote to pass? Scrap pile material.

2) CSD cedes project to County. Easy. Or BPP legislation. Not so easy. Again, needs to happen before insolvency to prevent more chaos.

3) Dissolution. Possible, but count on the decision-makers to try to string this out.

Dissorderly options:

4) State takes control. This is only likely should everything bad happen. No County run project, no CSD run project, insolvency. VERY expensive.

5) Do nothing. Insolvency.


OK, see the choices, none of them good. The choice is within the total 'control' of the community (our elected reps).

Insolvency will mean total loss of control. So it stands to reason that the CSD should:

a) do everything in their power to remain solvent, and get the wastewater project properly funded or transferred - if there is no proposal to fund it by the CSD, it needs to be transfered.

that is, unless more chaos is preferred

Shark Inlet said...

To add a hyperlink you just need to use copy-n-paste and some html code.

What I do is find the page I would like to link to and copy the URL. I then paste it in place according to this guide.

Mike Green said...

Publickworks: we are in 100% agreement,
I'm still optimistic (foolish)
I think the BBP is a way out.
Everyone else, it seems are writing their own obituaries.
Not till the fat lady sings and the bill is at the door.

Anonymous said...

Richard LeGros said:

"Just a suggestion. There is no need for bloggers to be nasty towards me. I am just offereing some cost estimates. I really do not have any preference regarding one plan or the other. In fact, Ripley's plan is very interesting. So let's just be civil."


Regards, Richard LeGros



FUCKING BALLS!!!

Churadogs said...

Anonymous said...
Richard LeGros said:

"Just a suggestion. There is no need for bloggers to be nasty towards me. I am just offereing some cost estimates. I really do not have any preference regarding one plan or the other. In fact, Ripley's plan is very interesting. So let's just be civil."

Inlet sez:"Shark Inlet said...
Ann,

Sad that Joe beat me to the punch ... but ...

You claimed that STEP would save us more than enough money to make up for the expensive septic replacement."

I claimed no such thing, it's what Ripley said at the workshop. RIPLEY -- that the initial expense of replacing tanks would be higher, but overall costs would be lower. RIPLEY said that at the Workshop. RIPLEY, not Ann. Have it right here in my notes: re Step: "initial costs higher, replace tank, etc, but lower overall." (Costs of STEP vs. gravity for the COLLECTION component only are waaaaay cheaper.)

Inlet Sez:"What I remember is that there was a fixed date by which construction would be required to start. I don't remember that date."

Please see today (7/12's) post. The open letter from Schicker. The date she gives is December 2005. Richard claimed he had to choice but to move ahead or he'd be violating the Law. (he doesn't cite which law) If Schicker's correct and the CSD had until 2005 to start "pounding money into the ground," then Le Gros has a lot of 'splainin' to do.

Regards, Richard LeGros


FUCKING BALLS!!!

12:05 AM, July 11, 2006

Children, children. That quote is getting old and serves no purpose. Used here, it's nothing but a little kid yelling "Pee-Pee" in the middle of a meeting in an effort to shock all assembled. Enough already. I am absolutely sure Mr. LeGros regretted his outburst, I'm sure he felt goaded beyond humanly tolerable and so burst out in anger, at the time everyone huffed and puffed in faux outrage, now it's time to leave it. YOUR POINT IS MADE. Now, please, enough already. There's plenty of major serious stuff to discuss without this distraction.

Shark Inlet said...

If Ripley made the claim and you passed it on without doing any research it certainly looks like you back him up.

Okay, tell us again ... in light of what Spectator and I pointed out ... how step will be "waaaaaaay cheaper" as you told us it would a few posts back.

Oh ... by the way, it isn't cute to hide behind Ripley. As voters and property owners we have the right to an opinion and we have the responsibility to do some research and figure out our opinion.

Is your opinion that STEP will be less or more expensive for us? Do you believe Ripley or not?

Anonymous said...

Hi Ann,

Richard LeGros here!

I never wrote I would be violating the "law" if I did not vote to start the waste water project; I wrote that we (Los Osos)are acting (polluting) IN VIOLATION of the LAW (Porter Cologne Act). I voted to start the waste water project to bring Los Osos into compliance with the LAW as quickly as possible at the least cost to the community. You know this as I have written my response to your "why" question several times before.

Also Ann, I am Richard LeGros.

I find your new post (7/12) very funny. My open letters are obviouly scaring you and the CSD silly.

As for posting Lisa's letter, it is just more of her "shame and blame" approach to politics in order that she may avoid responding to the core issues raised (costs, CSD finances and bankruptcy) in my open letters. Her tossing out allegations (all of which are baloney)is a sorry attempt to deflect public scrutiny from TODAYS critical issues. Also, her allegations are meanlingless to the debate around the LOCSD's financial crisis and how (if possible) to resolve it.

Warmest Regards, Richard LeGros

Ron said...

Spectator said:

"Your buddy, Ron Crawford, pushed this site without knowing of the easement problem or ever mentioning the problem. Is this not a fact?"

That is not a fact. The fact is, last year I called the PGE Real Property Manager, and she told me there are TWO Andre properties. One has PGE deed restrictions, the other does not. Then I called a wastewater engineer and asked him if the second Andre site could accommodate a treatment facility. He said, "Yes."

The second Andre site was not selected because it could not meet the "project objective of centrally located community amenities."

Those are the facts. I reported on all that here.

Shark (regrettably) said:

"However, even if I am wrong and the election had been scheduled before the start of construction, what would be different today."

Well, for one, there wouldn't be a big, expensive ditch (funded by California taxpayers) in the middle of your beautiful town.

Shark said:

"Ron and Ann, I note with interest that neither of you have defended Ripley's assumption that 100% Ag-exchange and ponding is best for Los Osos..."

Shark, how many times do I have to tell you... I am not a wastewater engineer!

Spectator said:

"(Shark), Could you please tell the people on this blog how to put up links? You seem to be the only one sucessful in this."

I'm pretty good at it too, like this.

Here ya go.

Try it, it's fun.

Ann said:

"Children, children. That quote is getting old..."

I agree, and, as one with a taste for colorful language myself, I never had a problem with that quote to begin with (I kinda liked it). No, the Legros quote that I always found interesting is when he said during a meeting that the sewer development process was followed "to the T." To which I asked, if the process was followed "to the T," then why did Commissioner Potter call the way the process was followed, "bait and switchy." Somethin' don't add up there.

Richard said:

"My open letters are obviouly scaring you and the CSD silly."

Ooooooooo... scary. That reminds me, Richard, did you write your open letter to the SWRCB supporting the new SRF loan yet? That loan, as you know, is a really good deal. You might want to pop that letter out soon. Not writing that letter would be scary.

(Ann, I love that "pot belly stove" imagery... so true, we just sit around here in our rocking chairs and yack, with a gigantic pile of whittlin' shavings at our feet.)

Shark Inlet said...

Ron,

Did you ever ask the PG&E manager about any easements which would restrict sewer lines crossing Andre to get to Andre II? I mentioned that to you a while back because it was reported elsewhere (I forget) and you said you would look into it.

I guess you are right that had the project never been started, we wouldn't have a hole in town. However, we all know full well that the TriW site was zoned in such a way that it would be developed. If you're asking me to believe otherwise I would remind you that MEGA (the folks who buy development rights in the area) has expressed interest in many other properties but only those on the outskirts of the community.

Even if you're not a wastewater guy, Ron, don't you think it odd to choose a site that is wedded to an assumed desire on the part of the public (whether it be a park or a method of dealing with treated wastewater) that has never been verified nor shown to be reasonable. Had they shown us calculations and signed documents from farmers that verify we can get 100% of our treated water used for AG, great. Had they then told us the cost and asked us whether we want to pay the extra cost before evaluating sites based on how well they would allow AG-exchange it would have been better.

Anonymous said...

Ron,

I guess you better tell the Ripley people the inside coop on the Andre sites as they reported one was too small and the other had easement and power line movements issue. You could be a hero, as they failed to even call your insider manager.

And you do all this, and don't even live in Los Osos. Quite a guy!

Shark Inlet said...

To our most recent anonymous friend ...

Ron may have meant that the Andre II site would be large enough for an MBR "sludge factory".

The Ripley people have the presumption that ponding is the best solution so will reject any site not large enough for 35 acres of ponds. What is funny is they may have neglected earlier communications between the LOCSD and the RWQCB that indicate any ponding system would need to be about 70 acres to accommodate additional storage should something catastrophic occur.

Oh well, as some have noted here, the CSD is on life support in the ICU and whether Ripley has come up with the best solution in the world or a big pile of crap doesn't matter a hill of beans because the CSD will never be able to build any project.

Sewertoons said...

Shark - did Ripley mean that the tanks they would build would hold the excess winter water before or after it was treated? Is this how they could have smaller acreage for ponds if they just store stuff by building up?

Also (anyone), did I hear right during the Ripley report that the new septics we would have a holding capacity for a 24 hour power outage (presumably, nothing would pump out during that time and the septic would JUST be a holding tank). I wonder what happens if the power outage lasts longer than 24 hours - modified hand push bicycle-type pumps? A donkey turning a big wheel that pushes the water into the step pipes...? Toilets backing up?

Shark Inlet said...

Ripley told us we would have storage for water processed during the Winter so that the AG folks could use it later in the Spring and Summer, when they most want it. (How much would that cost, 120M gallons or four months of treated water is about 17 acres of water, some 20 feet deep ... oh yeah, he wants us to conserve more water and only use 50 gallons per person per day so it won't be as much as I'm suggesting ... but then again the RWQCB won't necessarily sign off on a wastewater treatment plant that is based on the assumption that people are going to use half as much water as we are currently using.)

The extra ponds I was referring would be for the excess sewage/septage/whatever this stuff is called in case the plant itself is unable to process the stuff for a week or so. Sometimes things break and such a design requirement seems pretty reasonable. Sounds like Ripley's idea of a large tank that can hold an extra few hundred gallons is along the same lines.

Sewertoons said...

Thank you for your answer above Shark.

So to respond to something I believe you said earlier, as to needing about 70 acres, (which I also found out myself a couple of months ago - if this wasn't you who mentioned it) it looks like they would have to buy two properties to have enough room - assuming the Giacomazzi was as I recall 39 acres, and Branin about comparable in size looking at the map.

Ripley seems so sure that people are just voluntarily going to cut back to 50 gallons a day. Even on three tiered water rates, I can't believe his optimism.

And the optimism that there is only one guy out in the country who is going to object to the plant being put out there. One wonders, just WHO did they ask?

I thought it was interesting that Julie could not get the answer out of Ripley that the tanks would not be tall - like the erroneous 40 feet tall walls to Tri-W that I know she was refering to when she finally had to make do with the uncertainty of his "I can't be held to anything right now" answer. I think it was left at 30 feet.

And what did Julie mean when she said to not be intimidated by a 218 vote. If it fails it doesn't go to the state but comes right back to the CSD (presuming it still exists)?

Churadogs said...

To all the "town characters" who spend enormous amounts of time whittlin' and jawing' and speculating around this blogsite's pot bellied stove, the Project update report is due July 28 and I hope there will be some town hall meetings wherein the engineers will be standing around just waiting for all this Blog Site's "town characters" to sidle up to them IN PERSON and ASK QUESTIONS DIRECTLY AND THEN WAIT FOR THE ANSWERS.

Of course, that presumes that this Blogsites "town characters" are actually interested in real questions and real answers instead of speculative ones or wasting time asking non-engineers engineering questions and such like. I mean, sandal-shod angels on heads of pins are much more fun than actual dirty boots on the ground.

Shark Inlet said...

Good point, Ann.

It will be interesting to see what Ripley does and doesn't include in the cost estimates to be presented on the 28th. I actually suspect that they'll be presented in such a way that it will be difficult for folks to interpret so that the board will be able to duck the tough question for another week or three (because they sometimes restrict public comment to only "allowed" topics like last night).


While you do have a good point that it is good to be able to ask direct questions of the people who make the calculations, there is also nothing wrong with noting here some likely oversights and potential problems. This is especially true if you report to us what Ripley says in your blog. Why not make a response to your report?