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Saturday, August 05, 2006

Ripley’s Night Out

Woa, heck of a party last night at the Community Center here in Sewerville. The team from Ripley Pacific presented the wastewater project update report. An executive summary is now on the Los Osos CSD website (http://www.losososcsd.org/) and the entire project report will be posted, with hard copies available to read in the CSD office.

Some highlights of the meeting and report.

-- Happily, a whole bunch of people came. This is good. The maps and schematic boards will be in the CSD office, so I hope everyone in the community will drop by to see them in more detail.

--In the executive summary, Ripley did a Comparison of Estimated Costs of Tri-W with the recommended STEP system. The numbers were based on the number of lots within the prohibition zone.

TRI-W
Base Capital & Land Cost: $179 million
Base Capital and Land Cost per lot: $37,362
Total Annualized Costs per month: $328.

STEP
Total Base Capital and Land Cost: $86 million (phase 1)
$100.25 million (phase 2, including about 800 homes
outside the PZ)
Base Capital and Land Cost per lot: $16,696 -- $16,908
Total annualized costs per month: $154.

The various stranded costs, including the millions of dollars the recalled Board pounded into the ground before the recall, subsequent lawsuits and fines, etc. will all have to be prorated and added to the proposed STEP system, if that becomes the selected project. Or added to any project that is ultimately selected. And, of course, inflation, actual bid versus guestimated costs, “surprise” non-competitive bids like what happened with the 40% over bids on Tri W, and other shockers.

Also not clear on the comparison sheet, is the sludge disposal costs from Tri-W. It doesn’t appear to be broken out separately in either chart and may be included in the general O&M costs. For Tri W, the annual (?) O&M costs are $2.6 million; STEP they’re $1.82 million. Those numbers will become more important later on . . . keep reading.

--Sludge was just one of those long-term costs that didn’t get a whole lot of discussion when Tri-W was being touted. It’s a future huge headache for everyone in the county since sludge disposal sites in the state are shutting down to “outsiders,” and so every county will have to come up with better ways to deal with the stuff onsite or in county.

Which means that people may really want to rethink about that septic tank out in their back yard. Whatever you may think about it, your septic tank is a nifty little sewage treatment plant churning away 24/7 digesting about 90% of all your biosolids. Which means you don’t have to pay big bucks to haul away, treat and dispose of it as you do at a typical, full collection, gravity-fed sewer plant. Big savings there on costs that are just going to keep going up as fuel costs rise.

--The proposed Ripley STEP plan would include replacing about 95% of the septic tanks with new, water-tight, larger tanks (suggested 1,600 – 1,800 gal tanks for an average 3 bedroom house). The tanks, pipes to the street, etc. would all be done as part of the whole package and would be maintained by an official Wastewater Entity, whether the County or CSD or whoever is in charge of the service. Rights of way easements would be the same as homeowners now have for power lines, cable, etc. Each tank would be fitted with a ½ horse power motor costing about $1 a month to run and a monitor that would signal the Systems Operator if there were any problems at any household needing attention or repair. In the case of a power outage, the tanks are designed to give a 24 hour holding capacity time. Longer, if water usage is reduced: i.e. in a power outage you wouldn’t be doing loads of laundry anyway. And since the whole step collection system is set up like a water pipe system, any break in the pipe can be shut off locally while re-routing the rest of the effluent.

-- STEP collection, being a smaller bore pipe, allows for microtunneling (avoiding the traditional deep (expensive) open trenching required of traditional gravity pipes.) It’s also possible that the pipes which the old CSD Board rushed to jam into the ground before the recall, could be reused by simply putting the smaller bore pipe sleeved inside (save digging up the street again) There would also be a fixed yard restoration fee as part of the overall project, to offset the effects of tank replacement. In addition, cluster collections tanks can be used for homes where the lots are too small to make tank replacement feasible or where tanks are simply not accessible for replacement without enormous cost. As with the Tri-W plan, in those cases, the old tanks would be filled and abandoned, the new tank buried in front yards or street rights of way, and the homes hooked up.

-- Since septic tanks are busy digesting solids 24/7, with the proposed STEP system, the liquid would be piped away for treatment and reuse, which means that there would no longer be a leach field to clog and fail, so no need for costly leach field failures and replacements and the tanks would only need to be pumped once every 12 – 15 years. More interesting, tanks sitting in high ground water can be turn-buckled to buried pre-cast beams called a “dead man,” which would hold even an empty, air-filled tank in place even if it were surrounded with high water. (Some folks expressed concern that tanks in high groundwater areas would pop up out of the ground. Not so.)

--The STEP system proposed lists about 4 suggested treatment plant designs, but doesn’t at this point, specify any particular one.

-- In winter, when ag water demand is down, the treated water would be stored in a 500 acre-ft reservoir on the out-of-town site, a sort of big, beautiful pond with ducks and cattail rushes and . . . ponds? . . . Did I say . . . er . . . ponds . . . wait . . . Oh, No. If this plan is accepted by the community, it looks like we’ll have ended up with a Faster! Better! Cheaper! STEP Ponds of Avalon system, pretty much like the one originally proposed by the Solutions Group, complete with water exchange, all at a lower cost than what the original Solutions Group ended up morphing into the hideously expensive, traditional gravity Tri W plant, which means the old CSD board would end up playing the role of the county and the new CSD board and the county would end up playing the role of the original CSD board . . . oh, Lord, now we’re meeting ourselves coming and going in a truly weird case of déjà vu all over again. But, I digress.

--The key ingredient in the Ripley plan is twofold: WATER, not sewage, and ENERGY. Instead of spending pots of money removing the nitrates from water, Ripley views those nitrates as a valuable asset that can be utilized by the farmers east of town. Treated to EPA, Title 22 standards, which are certified for unrestricted irrigation for all food crops, including being certified for use by organic farming, the nitrates left in the water are available for uptake by the plants, thereby saving the growers the expense of buying their usual supply of expensive fertilizer – this nitrogen would arrive for free in the water.

In return for receiving the nitrate-rich water, the farmers would cease pumping “drinking water” from the lower aquifer located under their lands. That water would then be available to be used as drinking water by Los Ososians, which will help lessen the overdraft now being placed on the wells west of town.

At this point, according to Dr. Sheikh, the preliminary report was met with hostility by the staff of the RWQCB. Apparently their point of concern is that they may believe that farmers receiving the nitrate-laden water are stupid enough to get nitrate-water and then go out and spend pots of money to BUY even more expensive nitrogen fertilizer to toss around thereby increasing the nitrate load up the valley. It is to be hoped that the staff will have a chance to talk with farmers both here and in Monterey county (same RWQC Board in both places, same wastewater/ag use, all approved by the same Board. Go figure.) and to take a look at the available nitrate/plant-uptake studies available that should show no appreciable nitrate loading.

-- The benefit of the water exchange is simple: You don’t use drinking water for irrigation. That would be like using bottled water to water your lawn. It’s hideously expensive and silly. You also don’t spend gazillions of dollars removing an expensive resource (nitrates) that is needed and required by plants when you can supply that water to farmers who then don’t have to go out and buy more expensive nitrogen fertilizer.

-- Instead of calling this plan “ag exchange,” what’s really happening is better described as “in lieu recharge.” Instead of spending pots of money removing nitrates in order to put the water back into the lower aquifer to be used as drinking water, you don’t pump the lower aquifer to use for farmland irrigation in the first place, thereby leaving that water to be used for drinking. Instead, you use the nitrate rich water, which crops need anyway, save buying extra fertilizer and save the deep well water for . . . drinking.

--Neither Tri W nor the Ripley Plan will “cure” seawater intrusion on their own. A clear county-coordinated Basin Water Plan has got to be in place, even though the county and/or the CSD can look at shifting well placements east of town and the private water purveyors west of town may have to do some serious re-thinking as well if they want to stay in business – i.e. if you’re suddenly pumping seawater, it’s too late to rethink. And the whole community has to get serious about water conservation measures – low flow toilets, showerheads, etc.

Ironically, while Tri-W was being touted for it’s “recharge” at the Broderson site, in reality only about 10% of that water would have actually reached the lower aquifer (the 90% having stepped down the clay lenses and out into the bay). Worse irony, with the speed of salt water intrusion moving east, it was now estimated by Dr. Sheikh, that the remaining 10% very likely would have ended up arriving at the lower aquifer at the same time the sea water did and so would have been wasted as well -- hence zero “recharge” from a sewer plant expensively sited in-town so as to aid in “recharge. Since the latest Cleath & Assoc. studies came after much of the Tri W plans were already set, it seems to be a perfect example of carts before horses and yet another reason why the proposed Ripley Plan appears to be a smart move: Phase in the plan so that as more information comes in later, you’re flexible enough in your plans, to make critical adjustments.

-- But to me, the most interesting part of the Ripley plan is his focus on ENERGY COSTS to remove nitrates from the upper aquifer and deliver an acre foot of water to your door. It’s been bandied about the media by people professing to know The Facts, that STEP uses more energy than regular gravity systems. The key fallacy of this “fact” can be seen in the comparison chart on kilowatt hour per acre foot to deliver clean water, charts which are in the Report (and noted farther down this blog.)

The focus by Ripley on energy costs is especially interesting when the same day as the Report’s presentation, the L.A. Times reported that PG&E was going to the PUC to ask for a rate increase. That, my fellow Los Ososians, is our future, in a nut shell. Higher and higher energy costs for everything from diesel/gas to power sludge-removing trucks, to electricity costs to remove nitrates from water and to move and treat that water, and to the availability of “state water” in the first place. Like it or not, global warming is here and weather patterns will be shifting in such a way as to make resources throughout the state very iffy indeed. That is why it’s critical that whatever plan this community decides on needs to be energy smart and water smart and resource smart. If it isn’t, this town will be eaten alive with O, M & R costs.

On P. 5 of the Executive Summary are the Approximate Energy Intensities (kWh/af ) i.e. kilowatts needed to deliver an acre foot of water without nitrates and water with nitrates:

MBR technology (Actual Tri W site with nitrates removed) = 3,200 kWh/af
MBR technology (non-ESHA site, no nitrates removed) = 2,500 kWh/af
Hybrid EA (actual Tri-W site, no nitrates removed) = 1,400 kWh/af
And the list continues on down.

In these comparisons, what’s the one resource that’s costing a lot of money to remove? Right, nitrates. And guess what needs and loves yummy nitrates in the form of nitrogen?

Yup, lettuce. And snow peas. And broccoli. And . . .

So, as of now, the report is delivered. It’ll be available to the public, the County engineers, RWQCB staff and Board, State Water Board staff and will go for peer review as part of the update contract. The full report will then go into the mix of whoever/whatever has control of the Wastewater Project. Ultimately, what system gets built will depend on “science” and economics and the public’s selection of the system they’re willing to pay for.

Naturally, being Los Osos, “politics,” is scuttling into the mix. I can already hear the scuttling in the underbrush as the Sewer Jihadis on both sides of the issue start their campaigns of hidden agendas, distortion and disinformation, spin, hype, counter-hype, PR Marketing-Speak, and, uh, “facts” as malleable and changeable as the wind. Ah, busy, busy, busy. As usual.

Which is why citizens, who are going to be footing the bill for whatever project gets built, need to pay attention and connect the dots very carefully.


Speaking of which, at the August 3 CSD meeting, the Board passed – 5 – 0 – a Resolution “Rescinding the Statement of Overriding Considerations Adopted in 2002 for the LOCSD Wastewater Treatment Project.” The resolution is available at the CSD office. I suggest everyone in town read it.

Critical highlights:

In March 2001, the previous Board voted to reject the environmentally superior siting alternative found in the original EIR and adopted a Statement of Overriding Considerations (SOC) that certified that “various benefits of the Project outweighed its unavoidable adverse environmental impacts.”

The Resolution continues that “In the five (5) years since the [previous] Board’s certification of the FEIR, significant new information has been obtained that warrants reconsideration and rescission of the SOC. Such information includes (but is not limited to) that [was] developed and presented by the Ripley Pacific Team and the research firm Cleath and Associates. This information includes but is not limited to, the following: . . . .” and goes on to list, among other things, that the claim that the Tri-W site provided “a cost effective wastewater management solution” was shown to be untrue, that “a Tri-W wastewater treatment facility ‘improves local groundwater quality’ is misleading, therefore, this claim was misidentified as an ‘overriding benefit,’” . . . that “a Tri –W wastewater treatment facility ‘creates a cultural amenity’ has been shown to be untrue . . .”, that “the SOC’s statement that the “Tri-W wastewater treatment facility ‘reduces saltwater intrusion’ is misleading,” and so forth.

The thrust of the document is that newer information (carts before horses?) now indicates “ . . . that substantial changes have occurred with respect to the circumstances under which the District previously rejected the environmentally superior alternatives of STEP/STEG collection, hybrid treatment and the siting of the Project’s wastewater treatment facility outside the Community and instead selected gravity collection terminating at the Tri-W Site and that those changes will require major revisions of the previously certified FEIR as a prerequisite to siting the Project’s wastewater treatment facility at the Tri-W Site. In addition, the alternatives of STEP/STEG collection, hybrid treatment and locating the Project’s wastewater treatment facility outside the Community, identified as the environmentally superior alternatives in the FEIR, are, in fact, feasible.

“As a final point, there are no economic, legal, social, technological, or other beneficial aspects associated with siting the Project’s wastewater treatment facility at the Tri-W Site sufficient to support a rejection of the environmentally superior siting alternatives.”

Why is this an interesting resolution? Because CEQA rules do not allow a public agency to reject “an environmentally superior project alternative unless that agency: A) Makes certain specified findings that are supported by substantial evidence, and B) Adopts a statement of Overriding Considerations (“SOC”)”


And if there really isn’t substantial evidence supporting a SOC, then making such a claim is basically misrepresenting the facts and can, alas, lead to charges of “bait and switch,” or bamboozling government agencies such as the Board of Supervisors, the Planning Dept, the Coastal Commission, and even the Regional Water Quality Control Board, not to mention the State Water Board.

I don’t think much good can come of doing that sort of thing. But then, that’s just my opinion.

And finally, at that same meeting, it was announced that the CSD would retain the services of a law firm expert in Municipal Bankruptcy issues. This is good.

Now, have a wonderful weekend.

51 comments:

Ron said...

Awesome report, Ann. You wrote that since last night? Wow.

I hear The Trib needs a new Los Osos reporter. I nominate you.

" I can already hear the scuttling in the underbrush as the Sewer Jihadis on both sides of the issue start their campaigns of hidden agendas, distortion and disinformation, spin, hype, counter-hype, PR Marketing-Speak, and, uh, “facts” as malleable and changeable as the wind. "

Oh no. I don't know if I can stomach another round of that. For the love of God, please, NO MORE "BEHAVIOR BASED MARKETING."

“As a final point, there are no economic, legal, social, technological, or other beneficial aspects associated with siting the Project’s wastewater treatment facility at the Tri-W Site sufficient to support a rejection of the environmentally superior siting alternatives.”

Of course, unless the person determining the "beneficial aspects" really wants "centrally located community amenities" and is also a long-time Parks Commissioner.

I now have a number.

Tri-Dub: $179 mil
Rip's plan: $100 mil

That was a $79 million park in the previous project, and it was about to be funded with State money. Ouch.

Sewertoons said...

What kind of contract are the farmers bound to if they accept this water? Suppose after 5 years they feel that this is not working for them - it costs too much or if they need PH remediation (which Ripley can't predict right now) they must pay for is too expensive (Sheikh admitted that as in Pebble Beach it is an expensive process to "fix" the sodium), are they then just "stuck?"

Without the farmers - (how many total and for how many acres and for how long supposing ALL were willing?) - this thing is not going to fly. Suppose one sells his land to a gentleman armadillo farmer. Is he then obligated to honor the contract for water?

This valley is no Monterey in terms of size, and it is long and narrow, upping the pumping costs. In Ripley's earlier presentation a month or more ago, he stated that they probably had takers for 1,000 acre feet a year and they needed to find some others for the additional 500 acre feet/year.

Of the dozen or more asked to go on the field trip, four went, three of which were in the Dohi group. How much aceage do they represent?

Phonong in an interest on buying 600 dry acres does not exactly lock down a committment to this water. How long would that take? (Who phoned this in? A real serious buyer?)

Can any of this plan be done if ALL the water use cannot be legally tied down? WHEN will that be??

In the hotel industry there is a break even point as to number of rooms vs. profitability. I'm not sure there are enough "rooms" here to break even or to allow for a contingency plan. THIS IS NOT MONTEREY!

Burning concern - 27 people guiding the selection process of a treatment site that will cost us MILLIONS??? That is absurd!!

Shark Inlet said...

Yes Ron, it is pretty darn clear that you aren't very good at MATH (shudder!) and that you don't listen very well. (Or perhaps you were not at and didn't watch the Ripley presentation.)

As Spectator has noted, the proposed Ripley plan doesn't accomplish denitrification, a requirement of the RWQCB. Furthermore, their cost comparisons compare worst case scenarios about TriW to best case scenarios about their out-of-town plant. For example, they don't actually include any estimates of inflation.

If one includes inflation of 8% for 5 years (likely an underestimate) and including denitrification, the Ripley plan, even of no additional changes are necessary, would be more expensive than TriW in terms of $/month. Furthermore, they seem to have neglected to include reasonable estimates of the cost to replace septic tanks.

All in all, the Ripley report showed that there is a reasonable but more costly alternative to TriW.

So ... you promised to show that the Ripley plan was cheaper than TriW. They didn't show that themselves ... how about you live up to your promises, Ron.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Ripley proposal

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 $100,000,000 for arguments sake, not including loan financing & interest costs over 20 years), then you must ADD in the following:

HARD COSTS

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)

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)


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 #2 and #3 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) = $180,000,000 with SRF loan…… or
($302,000,000)+(41,000,000)+(101,000,000) = $444,000,000 without SRF loan



TOTAL PROJECT COSTS

With SRF loan is ($206,000,000)+($180,000,000) = $386,000,000 ……………………….OR
Without SRF loan is ($206,000,000)+(444,000,000) = $650,000,000

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.




MONTHLY COSTS 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




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

Shark Inlet said...

Richard,

It would be helpful if you would be willing to do the same cost analysis for the TriW project.

We already know the board made some choices in October 2005 that raised our costs but it would be nice to find out how the Ripley project stacks up against our other option.

Spectator said...

Hell folks, the problem is with the CCRWQCB. The county will have to take this project over. If the CCRWQCB wants the project done quickly, it will force the already permitted and approved Tri-W site regardless of costs, etc. If it is willing to wait and cut us slack, it will go with the out of town solution, and let us use nitrate laden water for ag exchange to mitigate the pumping of the lower aquifers. Or maybe not.

However there are questions that must be decided by the CCRWQCB. The first is as to time span to get either solution built. The second is replenishment of the upper aquifer. Most ag exchange water will go into evaporation with the Ripley solution. How much water can the farmers use, and will they contract for the water even if they do not need it, and USE IT. We will be pumping 1 million gallons a day that would normally go from septic tanks into the upper aquifer and not replacing it. Will rain replace it? And lastly, will the nitrate laden water for crops, if not used, find its way into the lower aquifers. We have a nitrate problem already in the upper aquifer. But surely crops will use some of it, and reduce the need of nitrate fertilizer. There is no doubt that the use of reclaimed water will slow the pumping of the lower aquifer by farmers and increase water supply for household use. Not just drinking, Ann. TIME span and NITRATES will be primary considerations. Also of primary consideration is the recommendation a low interest loan to the county for a system that will serve our needs.

Thereafter for the property owners are costs of any system, and these are monthly costs. And also POTENTIAL costs such as state water, should we run out if conservation measures do not work.

All is not as simple as it seems. I just want a viable system at the least cost, and do not care where it is. But I will be skeptical and look to unintended consequences. I am really concerned that the staff of the CCRWQCB wants this done fast and without nitrate greater than water quality standards. I am tired at looking at the scar that was to be our sewer project. We will see what happens.

Thanks Richard for your figures and your service, can you do the same for Tri-W?

Shark Inlet said...

I agree with spectator.

Essentially we should all support AB2701.

Those who oppose TriW should support AB2701 because it gives them an additional year so to convince the County and RWQCB that the out-of-town idea is viable and would save money. Direct opposition to AB2701 or even attempting to scuttle it with off the wall amendments will have the result of the RWQCB being able to apply direct pressure to the County immediately after the County takes over.

Then the rest of us should support AB2701 because it gives us a good way of financing the sewer and WWTF. Waiting an additional year before starting on TriW does less damage to our pocketbooks than would a 6.5% interest rate would.

AB2701 is the best next step, not dissolution or bankruptcy.

Anonymous said...

I give up. Go ahead and build your friggin sewer plant at Tri-W. I can't take it anymore. You've beaten me down. I've lived here 35 yrs. now, so most of my adult life has dealt with the sewer. The street portion of my front yard remains unfinished in anticipation of my sewer pipes going in. Maybe when that finally happens I can take care of the drainage problem the County left me with by paving a bowl in the street with my driveway at the bottom of it. Their response to it, "we'll fix it when you get your sewer". This, about 25 yrs. ago.
All i've ever wanted was a reasonable solution. At least by now i'll either be dead or gone by the time this all comes to fruition.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anon above. Build the damn thing at TRIW. Couples can get married at the sewer (Joyce's idea)and everyone can just walk to the community center for the reception. It would be convenient yet upscale at the same time!

Anonymous said...

Regarding the costs to restart Tri-W

Starting with the September, 2005 construction price of $134,000,000, you must add in:

HARD COSTS

1. The costs to the property owners for suspending the Tri-W project (+7,000,000).
Assumptions: These costs include the 90 day suspension costs of the contractors, costs to re-negotiate contractors
contracts, including attorney fees. The contractor’s lawsuit against the LOCSD would be dropped.

2. The costs for reactivating permits, and lawsuits (+$5,000,000)

3. 2 years of construction cost inflation @ 8%/year until construction commencement ($22,000,000)

4. Property owner costs to connect to sewer: $20,000,000 (assume that 2000 property owners pay out-of-pocket
($8,000,000), and 3000 property owners pay via a bank loan ($12,000,000 @ 6% over 30 years)


SO, the HARD costs are:
TO THE LOCSD ARE ($134,000,000)+($7,000,000)+($5,000,000)+($22,000,000) = $168,000,000
TO THE PROPERTY OWNERS IS $20,000,000



SOFT COSTS.

Soft costs of “A” costs of #1 and #2 above ($12,000,000) which may not be funded through an SRF loan,
AND
“B” costs of original construction cost + #3 above ($156,000,000), which may be funded by an SRF loan.
AND
“C” costs of #4 above, assuming 3000 property owners finance costs ($12,000,000).

“A” SOFT COSTS
The LOCSD needs to borrow $12,000,000 ‘out-of-pocket’ hard costs to construct a project

WITH an assessment bond (CCC credit rated) loan @ 10% interest with a maturity of 30 years.
$12,000,000 @ 10% over 30 years results in total interest paid of $25,911,000


“B” SOFT COSTS
The LOCSD needs to borrow $156,000,000 hard costs to construct a project

WITH anew SRF loan @ 2.5% interest with a maturity of 20 years.
$156,000,000 @ 2.5% over 20 years results in total interest paid of $42,360,000.

WITHOUT a SRF loan @ 10% interest with a maturity of 30 years.
$156,000,000 @ 10% over 30 years results in total interest paid of $336,840,000


“C” SOFT COSTS (only applies to 3000 property owners that borrowed money to connect to sewer)
$12,000,000 @ 6% over 30 years results in total interest paid of $13,900,000


SO, the SOFT costs are ($25,911,000) + ($42,000,000) + ($13,900,000) = $81,811,000 with SRF loan…… or
($25,911,000) + ($336,840,000) + (13,900,000) = $376,651,000 without SRF loan



TOTAL PROJECT COSTS

WITH SRF loan is ($168,000,000)+($81,811,000) = $249,811,000 ……………………….OR
WITHOUT SRF loan is ($168,000,000)+($376,651,000) = $544,651,000

WITH SRF: The $249,811,000 cost spread over 5000 property owners is $ 49,962 per property owner.
WITHOUT SRF: The $544,651,000 cost spread over 5000 property owners is $108,930 per property owner.




MONTHLY COSTS PER PROPERTY OWNER

NOW, let’s determine the monthly payment of a typical property owner (assume annual OM&R of $2,000,000/year, or $167,000/month LOCSD cost, or $34/month per property owner).

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

FOR THOSE 2000 PROPERTY OWNERS THAT PAID CONNECTION COSTS TO SEWER OUT-OF-POCKET

TRI-W PROJECT WITH SRF LOAN:
The monthly payment would be OM&R + Loan “B” + Bond “A” for year 1 to year 20.
The monthly payment would be OM&R + Bond “A” for year 21 to year 30.

Monthly payment year 1 to year 20 is ($34)+($165)*+($21)** = $220/month per property owner.
Monthly payment year 21 to year 30 is ($34)+($21) = $ 55/month per property owner.
After year 30, property owners pay OM&R costs only

TRI-W PROJECT WITHOUT SRF LOAN:
The monthly payment would be OM&R + Loan “B” + Bond “A”

Monthly payment year 1 to year 30 is ($34)+($274)***+($21)** = $329/month per property owner.
After year 30, property owners pay OM&R costs only



FOR THOSE 3000 PROPERTY OWNERS THAT BORROWED CONNECTION COSTS TO SEWER

TRI-W PROJECT WITH SRF LOAN:
The monthly payment would be OM&R + Loan “B” + Bond “A” + Loan “C” for year 1 to year 20.
The monthly payment would be OM&R + Bond “A” + Loan “C” for year 21 to year 30.

Monthly payment year 1 to year 20 is ($34)+($165)*+($21)**+ ($24)**** = $244/month per property owner.
Monthly payment year 21 to year 30 is ($34)+($21)+ ($24) = $ 79/month per property owner.
After year 30, property owners pay OM&R costs only

TRI-W PROJECT WITHOUT SRF LOAN:
The monthly payment would be OM&R + Loan “B” + Bond “A” + Loan “C”

Monthly payment year 1 to year 30 is ($34)+($274)***+($21)**+ ($24)**** = $353/month per property owner.
After year 30, property owners pay OM&R costs only




Notes:
* ((( $198,360,000 / 20 years) / (12 months/year ) / (5000 prop. owners))) = $165/month

** (($37,911,000 / 30 years) / (12 months/year) / (5000 prop. owners))) = $21/month

*** ((($492,840 / 30 years) / (12 months/year) / (5000 prop. owners))) = $274/month

**** ((($25,900,000 / 30 years) ) / (12 months/year) / (3000 prop. owners))) = $24/month



COMPARING THE COSTS OF RESTARTING THE TRI-W PROJECT VERSUS STARTING A NEW PROJECT USING THE RIPLEY-PACIF PLAN, THE RESULTS IS THAT RESTARTINGTR-W IS CHEAPER!

I hope you find this information useful.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Ron said...

Shark, How many times do I have to tell you... I'm great at math. Here's another example:

When I was researching Three Blocks Upwind of Downtown, in September, 2004, former CSD General Manager, Bruce Buel, told me that he estimated the cost of all the park amenities in the Tri-Dub project to be "about $300,000."

Less than a year later, those same amenities would be officially estimated at $2.3 million.

Check this out, straight from my head -- no calculator at all: That's exactly $2 million dollars more than Buel told this reporter less than a year before the $2.3 mil estimate -- 7.6 times more. (o.k., I admit, I needed a calculator for that one.) Just missed it, Bruce.

Now, let's see, at an inflation rate of a factor of 7.6 every year, those amenities, according to official CSD estimates, should now be at $17.48 million. And a year from now, they'll be at, according to CSD estimates, $132.8 million.

Math-a-ma-freaking-tician, I am.

Shark, you, and a lot of others in your town, need to take off your Los Osos blinders, and look at this situation as a California taxpayer. Better yet, a California taxpayer that lives in Mariposa, a cash-strapped town that badly needs a new wastewater treatment facility, but can't get a penny of SRF funding for their non-amphitheater sewer plant while Los Osos gets $79 million of SRF cash to accommodate and build an elaborate park in the Tri-Dub project?

A classic "Fleecing of California."

Ann said:

"And if there really isn’t substantial evidence supporting a SOC, then making such a claim is basically misrepresenting the facts and can, alas, lead to charges of “bait and switch,” or bamboozling government agencies such as the Board of Supervisors, the Planning Dept, the Coastal Commission, and even the Regional Water Quality Control Board, not to mention the State Water Board.

I don’t think much good can come of doing that sort of thing. But then, that’s just my opinion."


Yes, that's your opinion, and it's a very, very, very good opinion.

What you call "bamboozling government agencies," I call fraud.

I'm not finding the “Statement of Overriding Considerations” on the CSD web site, and I really want to see that document. That sounds serious. Dare I say, smoking gun-ish.

Are you kidding me? There's an official document that shows why the less expensive, environmentally preferred, downwind, out-of-town site wasn't selected in the first place, and nothing in that document holds water? Uh-oh... that doesn't sound like it's going to bode well for your side, Shark.

Please, someone, tell me there's a pdf version of the SOC floating around.

Anonymous said...

"COMPARING THE COSTS OF RESTARTING THE TRI-W PROJECT VERSUS STARTING A NEW PROJECT USING THE RIPLEY-PACIF PLAN, THE RESULTS IS THAT RESTARTINGTR-W IS CHEAPER!"

But it's still in the middle of town. That's a show-stopper for me. It's not all about the cost.

Also, I don't trust any of the cost estimates from RLG, as he is not a unbiased participant. I'll wait for an unbiased analysis of the total cost.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon above,

I do not care where the waste water project is built. Inside or outside of town...makes no difference to me.

However, there are many people in this town (including me) that want the project to be as inexpensisve as possible. I am happy you can afford whatever cost the project ends up being; but many folks can't and will be struggling to make ends meet.

As for being biased, I am. But then again, so are you as you dislike the in-town location and do not care about cost. So who is less biased here? I care about cost and have no preference about location. You care about location but do not care about cost: seems like a tie to me.

As to the County (an unbiased point-of-view) determining the final project, I welcome it. But the calculations are what they are; and I doubt the County uses diffent mathematics from mine.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Anonymous said...

Another excellent piece by Ron over at Sewerwatch...check it out.

Sewertoons said...

People who are vehemently opposed to in-town treatment plants should visit the ones in Montecito and Beverly Hills in amongst the million dollar homes, and the Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in Van Nuys which features a beautiful park and is used for weddings and other social events. (There Julie, is one example of where sewage palnts and parks co-exist to answer your question a couple of meetings back.)

Then tell us what you hate about those places. Your "not in-town" bias must be based on something you can say you experienced, then your wanting to spend more money for the plant to be placed out of town will carry some weight.

Shark Inlet said...

Ron,

Your reply is simply off topic.

You are a great reminder that the guys shouting on the street corner should have the freedom of speech but that paying attention to their rantings is sort of a waste of time ... unless the goal is to make the lunatic feel valued.

Maybe you should let us know if you decide that you want to treat the discussion seriously.

The Ripley report was as slanted and biased as anything you've accused MWH and the previous board of being. That you fail to see this bias shows you are the guy on the corner screaming that the end is near.

Did you even go to the meeting? Have you read their reports? Did you do so with the same sort of critical eye you turned to the previous reports? If I had to guess, I would say "no", "no" and "certainly not" are your answers. Be honest with yourself for once, Ron ... you're more interested in showing that the TriW plan was flawed than in what is best for our, not your, community.

Spectator said...

One can be assured that ANY system will have cost overruns, and they usually will be about 15%. It has been a practice for contractors to underbid a government job, get the job, and make up the difference later. This has been going on for years, and nobody does anything about it or holds the contractors nose to the grindstone. There is also the problem with Murphy's law: If it can go bad, it will! Consider the "big dig" in Boston!

Jon Arcuni

Spectator said...

Thank you Richard for your figures. I have looked them over and find the calculations reasonable.

However the vote on any 218 assesment will be political, and I find nothing reasonable in the politics of this district. There are people here who will cut off their nose to spite their face. The impending bankruptcy of the LOCSD is an example of such actions. There are plenty of people who will not use reason and will be duped even more. If the property owners want the sewer out of town, individual CDOs for delay, and to pay more money, so be it. But I say: do whatever we can, avoid the problems, pray for forgiveness from the CCRWQCB, and build the sewer plant at Tri-W. Time is the killer. And the county can handle it with the help of the CCRWQCB. We can worry about the LOCSD bankruptcy later. The LOCSD is totally dead in the water anyway, the board members have no respect from the property owners, and can't even decide on a backhoe. Blakeslee's bill is the only option we have to stop "killer time". Hope it passes. It may not. And if NOT, then we are in the hands of the Phillistines.

Jon Arcuni

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what happened in Sacramento this morning? (AB 2701)

*PG-13 said...

Lot's of interesting new sewer stuff, eh? Dang, we waited so long - some of us anxiously, some of us patiently and others not so patiently ;-) - for THE RIPLEY REPORT and it seems to me it was worth the wait. Once the vote was counted and the die was cast and Tri-W was suspended/canceled pending further alternative analysis this report became the most significant objective. Early on it became apparent if this report was ever going to be completed it was going to be completed by the skin of our teeth. Now we have the report in hand and we certainly are hanging by the skin of our teeth. (As an aside, I find 'skin of our teeth' to be a totally weird colloqial expression that seems to describe our situtation perfectly.) OK, yeah, the report isn't perfect. It does contain a lot of bias. It's financials aren't precise or airtight and there are still lots of variables, undefinables and uncertainties. I doubt the perfect report in this scenario is even possible. Not for this money, within this timeframe and within this highly politicized and still largely undefined problem set. At least now from a process perspective we are discussing and comparing options and alternatives with a little bit more basis of fact. There is always going to be some guesstimating and fudging and speculating. There are still way too many variables and unknowns to get away from that. It hasn't been easy and it most certainly hasn't been pretty but only now do I feel most of the really important factors are on the table. Whether these factors now get fairly appraised and are used to make an informed decision is the next play on the game board. Sadly the playing of the game has edged into chaos - no rules, no taking turns throwing the dice, no passing Go and collecting $200 - it seems all the players are stuck in Jail and only care about keeping the other players stuck there. What a game!

And then there is still .....

Anon > But it's still in the middle of town. That's a show-stopper for me. It's not all about the cost.

Richard LeGros > I do not care where the waste water project is built. Inside or outside of town...makes no difference to me. .....
As for being biased, I am. But then again, so are you as you dislike the in-town location and do not care about cost. So who is less biased here? I care about cost and have no preference about location. You care about location but do not care about cost: seems like a tie to me.


I think it is fair to say this has gone on so long we are all biased. I agree with Richard we all come to our positions from varying directions using different values. Each of us filters 'the facts' through a different value matrix to reach our preferred solution. So what else is new? At least now I think we have more facts to work with.

Me? Like Richard, I don't care whether the sewer is built in town or out of town. A year ago I wasn't so flexible on that. A year ago I thought the Tri-W site had poor ecological and engineering aspects as well as aesthetic and city usability failings. I've since come-around on that. Truth be told, I now really do wish we could put the sewer on Tri-W. Better that than an asphalt parking lot and shopping mall which is just a different kind of sewer. In my mind however the Tri-W design still isn't the preferred engineering solution. Its a sewer. And it might at one time have been the fastest (read: cheapest) sewer. Might still be. But I think there are better solutions. When buying sewers I generally prefer cheaper ones to more expensive ones but not at the expense of a bad or ineffective solution. Ah, therein lies the rub. What is a bad or ineffective solution? As so many others have pointed out in addition to simply removing our household waste there are clean water issues (nitrates, pharmaceuticals, aquafer recharge, salt water intrusion), Operations & Maintenance issues (operations costs, sludge & sludge disposal), energy issues, financing issues, future build-out issues, farming issues (ag exchange, nitrate utilization, storage and contract details), etc., etc. and still more etc. All of which folds around and back in on itself to create a huge Gordian Knot of complexities reaching far beyond the PZ. Dealing with this shortsightedly with a quicker and easier solution is only making bigger problems for tomorrow. So I guess I'm willing to pay a little more now not to have to deal with these bigger problems in the future. Because this is a valley-wide issue I think it appropriate that regional planning entities be involved. Since regional planning is their purpose for being I sincerely hope they will step up and serve as effective regional planners. Yeah, I'm still a hopeful kind of person.


The optimist says the half-filled glass is half full.
The pessimist says the half-filled glass is half empty.
The engineer says the half-filled glass was built to the wrong specifications.


Happy Flushing

Shark Inlet said...

PG13 ... you raise a good point about one of the key criteria in the site selection analysis by the Ripley group. When they say that there would be a great view lost should TriW be developed with a WWTF, they are right ... assuming they were going with one of the ugly methods they were suggesting. Presumably one could pretty it up a bit for some additional cost. Ripley suggests that spending money for such a beautification project would be throwing good money after bad ... but if TriW is to be developed into a strip mall for Diamond Adult World it would seem that probably about 95% of Los Osos residents would view spending the money on beautifying a TriW plant as a good investment.

Simply put, a nice plant at TriW with a park element might be considerably better for our community than whatever Jeff Edwards has in mind for the site.

Does this board really want to continue in their scorched earth program? Do they want to make TriW so expensive that we might as well go with their out of town idea instead? Sounds fine ... as long as one has enough money to afford whatever system will ultimately be in place.

Hell, the board should read the Ripley report before they sell the property. It notes that the site would likely be used, both as a pumping station and as a location where treated wastewater could be applied on parkland. Selling off some 15% of the acreage that was to be used for treated wastewater simply makes no sense.

If they sell off the property they're clearly doing so for no reason other than to make the site more expensive for the us should the County consider TriW.

Isn't that exactly what they complained about the previous board doing?

If you complain about "dirty tricks" by the other side, you shouldn't stoop to them yourself!

Spectator said...

El Tiburon:

The LOCSD is not able to sell off the site to whomever they want, whenever they want. It is "surplus property" if the board deems it so, and the sale is regulated by law. That is why they did not sell it, not because they didn't want to, but because they could not.

*PG-13 said...

Inlet > If they sell off the property they're clearly doing so for no reason other than to make the site more expensive for the us should the County consider Tri-W. Isn't that exactly what they complained about the previous board doing?

On this too I agree with Inlet and many others. I don't see any benefit to the community what-so-ever by selling the Tri-W site now. And yes, doing so simply reeks of the same dirty I'll-get-you-at-any-price gamesmanship exhibited by the previous board. It was ugly and smelly when they did and it is just as ugly and smelly when the current board does it. Dang, how can one small community elect so many prima donna Machiavellian win-at-any-price characters? Hard to imagine the middle east has more sensible leadership than we do. I'm sure glad our reps don't have military weaponry or a launch button or we would all be toast by now. Simply put, how are they rationalizing selling Tri-W? What are they getting for it and how does pissing into that bucket help put out our fire? It seems pretty obvious any proceeds from the sell won't arrive in time and/or can't be used to resolve the current budget crisis. So why the *$#@!%^! are they selling it? The more jaded of us might recall they were Move-the-Sewer activists first so maybe they really can't change those stripes. But I thought their campaign promise was to evaluate alternatives rather than shut-down Tri-W. OK, call me simplistic and naive. No, make that dumb. And getting a little pissed. Campaign promises are null & void immediately after the last vote is counted. Now I get it. Beware of zebras with spots!

Anonymous said...

PG:
Gail Mcpherson, in my opinion one of the nastiest players in this saga of nasty players, said at the last meeting that the current board ran on the platform of 1)moving the sewer from Tri-W and 2) looking at an alternative project, and that by selling Tri-W, they would have succeeded in their promises. She made it that simple, and I guess that simple it is. Win at any cost. For McPherson and the rest of the rabid CSD supporters, cost; affordibility; etc etc really means nothing. Like Al Davis says, just win baby.

Anonymous said...

AB 2701 has been fast-tracked to the Senate. (See Tribune today)

Anonymous said...

Why didn't Richard LeGros work this hard when he was on the CSD and also Chair of the Finance Committee. Most of the time on TV he appeared comatose. You could have put a car test dummy in his seat and got a better response.

Don't you have a job now and what brought you to life? Is somebody slipping you something under the table.

You are a disaster.

Anonymous said...

Last time I checked, old CSD destroyed Tri-W just before a recall election. That's was irreponsible and tragic and RLG helped make it happen.

On the other hand, the new board is just considering selling Tri-W to in order to pay the state back the SRF money the state so desperately wants back. If the state didn't want the SRF money back, I don't think the sale would even be up for discussion with the new board. Bottom line is: new board has not sold Tri-W and so far has not adopted the scorched earth policy of the previous board. Big difference.

I also find it funny that RLG keeps talking about costs of the sewer to property owners now, but didn't seem to be bothered by the overbidding of sewer contracts for Tri-W by 40% when he was an elected official. That's hypocrisy.

Also, I heard that RLG doesn't even live in the PZ anymore. Is that true? Now, he's just a concerned citizen?

I wonder if the sewer had been sited in Cabrillo (I know not scientifically sound-but anyone can dream), would the Dreamers be as excited about a "sewer de cabrillo" if it was the cheapest solution? I think not.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon above (4:15 PM),

I did work "this" hard when I was on the Board an chaired the finance committee. If I looked bored it was because I was; as I had to put up with a lot of nonesense (such as your comments.)

Lastly, why not be honest and sign your blog with your name instead of being a slinking anon who huffs and puffs jibberish?

Sincerely, Richard LeGros

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon above (4:46 PM),

The issue here is the cost of building a sewer for Los Osos. I hope you take the time to review the cost figures I have generated. If you can see flaws in the cost analysis, please let me know.

Meanwhile, playing the "shame and blame game" by attacking the messenger (me) is very silly and not pertinent to the issues facing Los Osos.

Sincerely, Richard LeGros

Mike Green said...

Spectator speculated:
"One can be assured that ANY system will have cost overruns, and they usually will be about 15%. It has been a practice for contractors to underbid a government job, get the job, and make up the difference later."
WOW! does that mean the bids on TriW were 55% over estimate and not the 40% bandied about?
What would that do to Richard's and Sharkey's spread sheets?
By the way, thanks for the effort you two, but you may just be urinating against a hurricane here.
If Ripley sells it to the county and the "Water Gods" tire of their prosecution, then Sam's plan will go STEP
Cost is a "trickey" problem, especialy to politicians.
Ya, we may bear the burden, but at least the deed will be done!

PublicWorks said...

Mike,

Nice math skills: 40% overbid +15% over overbid = 55%.

What if, what if, what if. What if they were overbid, and the County re-bids and saves 20%. Is Ripley's use of an old project 'overbid' for a comparison vs. an engineers estimate valid?? Shouldn't it be engineers estimates vs. engineers estimates for fair play. Or should Ripley have 'overbid' their estimates, so we could have a level 'overbidding' playing field, because Los Osos is such a mess we should always assume we'll get overbids.

Kapich???

Or maybe, just maybe, having County do this will get a respectable bidding process. At least in theory.

Spectator said...

To Richard LeGros:

Oh crap, Richard, with your figures. You are nowhere high enough for Ripley. Go to the Locsd website and look at the technical memos. The Ripley group makes a comparison between a secondary treatment sewer system with ag exchange and a tertiary treatment system with drinking quality water put back into the upper aquifer.

Of course, the Ripley figures APPEAR to be cheaper, but you have shown that they are not. Correct! You ACTUALLY show a SECONDARY treatment plan to be more expensive than for a TERTIARY system (Tri-W).

If we are required to go to full tertiary, and cannot use ag exchange with secondary treated 130/40 ppm ( ml/l) nitrated water because of RWQCB requirements for our area, Ripley has misinformed us in the cost comparison. There is a BIG difference in the costs of secondary and tertiary treated water: energy and equipment. Shame on Ripley, because many ignorant people do not know the difference between secondary and tertiary treatment, and the ignorant are behind the Ripley suggestions. Please correct me if I am wrong. If I am wrong I apologize. Ann, please correct me on this if I am wrong. The same goes for El Tiberon. Did I miss something?

I will take the tertiary treatment system at least cost over the secondary treatment solution
every day. I await a full explaination from Ripley.

Jon Arcuni

PublicWorks said...

Spectator,

First of all, you are incorrect about the effluent at Tri-W being drinking water quality. It is full tertiary, but not drinking water quality.

This all boils down to three things:

1) Will the RWQCB grant a discharge permit on irrigated land with secondary treated water. NO ONE on a blog or at the CSD can answer that question - it'll come from the waterboard. By all means, if we can get away with secondary treatment, that would be nice, the energy costs go WAAAAAY down.

2) Time, how fast can the Ripley plan be implemented? - if it's an 8 year delay, it's unacceptible - build Tri-W, and then you can still put a pond out there 10 years down the road if necessary.

3) Does the new plan actually improve water yields??

Those three questions must be answered. We may have to wait for the County to find those answers.

Mike Green said...

Publickworks, my math was totaly toung in cheek, I was illuminating the Non bid reality of TriW, about as competitive as a one man bike race. I wonder what the bids would have been had the project not been under so much political pressure?

PublicWorks said...

I know, Mike,

That's why I responded tongue in cheek.

A one man bike race, and the cyclist is on testosterone.

*PG-13 said...

Anon > Gail Mcpherson, in my opinion one of the nastiest players in this saga of nasty players, said at the last meeting that the current board ran on the platform of 1)moving the sewer from Tri-W and 2) looking at an alternative project, and that by selling Tri-W, they would have succeeded in their promises. She made it that simple, and I guess that simple it is. Win at any cost.

Another Anon > On the other hand, the new board is just considering selling Tri-W to in order to pay the state back the SRF money the state so desperately wants back. If the state didn't want the SRF money back, I don't think the sale would even be up for discussion with the new board. Bottom line is: new board has not sold Tri-W and so far has not adopted the scorched earth policy of the previous board. Big difference.

Whether they can or not, whatever their purposes, it's still ugly and stinky and way too much focus is being spent angsting over selling Tri-W. This really needs to be taken off the table and those who want to sell it should just admit they'd like to but can't and then we can get on with it. Is this really a dead issue? Or might still some terrible ugliness yet unfold. I guess I'm paranoid of zebras with spots.

Anon > Why didn't Richard LeGros work this hard when he was on the CSD and also Chair of the Finance Committee. Most of the time on TV he appeared comatose. You could have put a car test dummy in his seat and got a better response.

I gotta admit this passed through my mind too. Giving RLG the benefit he deserves sitting at a front table through so many meetings is a coma inducing exercise. Could any of us pass that test? Still, we seem to be getting more good data from him recently than ever before. Maybe he couldn't speak so freely before. I wish he did, too bad he didn't.

RLG . Lastly, why not be honest and sign your blog with your name instead of being a slinking anon who huffs and puffs jibberish?

I used to be a lurker. I read this blog for a long time before I finally decided to post and then I posted a few comments as Anon. Nothing much. Certainly nothing very caustic or accusatory. Just my thoughts. And I was quickly called out. Given the nature of blogging and this blog in particular one can't say much without crossing another. That's cool. It's the nature of the medium. One of its better aspects really. Still, a part of the beauty of blogging is blog personality. We are what we blog! And what we blog needs no relevancy or connectivity with the other parts of our life. Our entries become our electronic personae. I can't type fast enough to chat so I'm doomed to blogging. Blogging allows for more introspection and thoughtful development though. Or maybe I'm just a very slow thinker. It is a weird and unique kind of fun, isn't it? Much warmer than television. But Anon's are missing out on the best part. An e-nom de plume provides important fabric to these threads. Too many Anon's dilute the brew. I was encouraged to come out and I'm glad I did. So I gotta encourage others to come out too. Of course, all the really good names are already taken ;-) *PG-13 is so lame but that's the best I could do. Since then I've discovered some helpful Pen Name Generators. Man, I could do sooooo much better now. I mean, with a really cool name and equal anonymity, why not? Check some of these out:

Totro > Random name generator based on number of syllables. Make 'em as weird and as long as you wish.
What's Your Silly Name? A couple of mine came up Doofus Lizardtush and Slimy Hamsterfanny. Did I say I think *PG-13 is lame?
Feng Shui: Get a great list of feng shui names here. Very Los Osos.
Pokethulhu: Never played Pokethulhu but the names are totally cool. How do you beat Zo-Bok (dark humanoid snake) or Slimokoff (slimy gasball) or Vilevomit (vomitous plant-thing)? Aren't these all perfect sewerville names?
Random Fnatsy Names: An ever-changing list of fantasy names worthy of Middle Earth. Tolkein, eat your heart out.

Many of these (and dozen's of other) name generators can be found on Chris Pound's Language Machines website. Definitely worth a visit.

Lastly, least this slip by without further comment.

Ron > Awesome report, Ann. .... I hear The Trib needs a new Los Osos reporter. I nominate you.

How do I second that nomination? Ann, is this something you might be interested in? I think you would make a most excellent Los Osos reporter. I'd even buy the rag just to read your column. I'll presume to speak for many of us. We'd hate to lose you and this blog ..... but, as I've mentioned before, life is much more than sewers. Why not? Please let us know if there is anything this blogsphere can do to support you in this quest.

Happy Sailing.

Mike Green said...

To the most esteemable PG-13.
Concerning having an anonymous identity:
Bunk!
Jon finaly saw it,
Publickworks will too (if he want's to collect, that is)
Sharkey, I'll bet some day soon or never.
Ann, Ron , Jon and I would welcome you!I'm sure!
I've been reading some Hemmingway lately, Not that it's any good, on the contrary I think he sucks, but I could not shake the feeling of great prose, and the posts of Jon about Panama, well, that kept me riveted!
You write so well! TAKE CREDIT!
A great fan, Mike Green.

PublicWorks said...

"Awesome report, Ann. .... I hear The Trib needs a new Los Osos reporter. I nominate you"

I have to disagree. I just don't see Ann as a reporter. I have yet to be convinced she can look at a story, how shall I say it, antiseptically.

Ann's a columnist, she has a schtik. Reminiscent of Molly Ivens, the liberal hack from Texas.

I love columnists (left or right, sports or gossip), and usually I hate them waaaaay too much initially as I scream at their biases and tendencies - so seemingingly unreporterish. But as time goes on, they provide that reassuring quality of consistancy. And the ones you most disagree with force you to examine your own ideas.

Besides, they are easy targets to let stream off at, and no matter how wrong Ann might be, her command of the language can bring one down off a perch in no time.

That's what's great about the internet, you have a veritable plethora to choose from - but only us fortunate ones in the South Bay have Ann as our own.

PublicWorks said...

Be patient Mike,

2010 is not so far away.

Mike Green said...

I take offence that Molly Ivens is a "Hack"
An opinionated collumnist to be sure,
But published and well read!
I'm a Hack and I know it!
Who are you to cast stones?

PublicWorks said...

Ann Coulter: Conservative "Hack"

James Carville: Liberal "Hack"

Mike, I've known lots of hacks. You're not a hack, I'm much more of a hack than thou.

*PG-13 said...

Thanks for the kind support Mike. I most certainly appreciate it. I don't think I've ever written so much in my life as I have recently on this blog. It's turning out to be wonderful therapy for me. And I enjoy the company. You're all good eggs. Even the rotten ones ;-) Thanks for inviting me to join this merry band of odd fellows and gals.

publicworks > I have to disagree. I just don't see Ann as a reporter. I have yet to be convinced she can look at a story, how shall I say it, antiseptically.

OK, yeah, now that you put it that way I gotta agree with you yet again. You're right, Ann's skills would be wasted on antiseptic reporting. And that would be a shame. She is a columnist and a most excellent wordsmith. And I suppose she has a schtik. I wouldn't know but I'll take your word for it. Is there a yiddish word for striped day-glo socks? I love good columnists too. My favorite is Ellen Goodman. But please don't call her a liberal hack from Massachusetts. To stick her on the same spectrum as Ann Coulter seems unconscionable.

> That's what's great about the internet, you have a veritable plethora to choose from - but only us fortunate ones in the South Bay have Ann as our own.

Amen. This whole sewer thing would be soooooo much more painful without her.

Churadogs said...

Publicworks sez:"Awesome report, Ann. .... I hear The Trib needs a new Los Osos reporter. I nominate you"

I have to disagree. I just don't see Ann as a reporter. I have yet to be convinced she can look at a story, how shall I say it, antiseptically."

Let me say it AGAIN: I write an OPINION COLUMN on the OPINION PAGE of the Bay News. Been doing that since 1991. OPINION COLUMNISTS are different from REPORTERS. But credible OPINION COLUMNISTS still have to have credibility, which is based on not making stuff up, or lying, or falsifying "facts," or whatever else causes them to lose credibility. You can disagree with their conclusions, but it's silly to critize them for . . . having and expressing and OPINION.

Inlet sez:"Furthermore, they seem to have neglected to include reasonable estimates of the cost to replace septic tanks."

Uh, if I'm not mistaken, the cost Ripley listed INCLUDED replacing 95% of all the tanks. INCLUDED it in the final tab. Am I missing something here?

Spectator sez:"Thereafter for the property owners are costs of any system, and these are monthly costs. And also POTENTIAL costs such as state water, should we run out if conservation measures do not work.

All is not as simple as it seems. I just want a viable system at the least cost, and do not care where it is. But I will be skeptical and look to unintended consequences. I am really concerned that the staff of the CCRWQCB wants this done fast and without nitrate greater than water quality standards. I am tired at looking at the scar that was to be our sewer project. We will see what happens."

One of the things I hope the community will pay attention to is OM&R costs. A day before, I think, the Ripley presentation, PG&E went to the PUC to ask for across the board rate increases for electricity. This becomes especially crucial for long term costs to the community. Which is why Ripley's kwh/acre feet is extremely interesting.

PG13 sez:"Ron > Awesome report, Ann. .... I hear The Trib needs a new Los Osos reporter. I nominate you.

How do I second that nomination? Ann, is this something you might be interested in? I think you would make a most excellent Los Osos reporter. I'd even buy the rag just to read your column. I'll presume to speak for many of us. We'd hate to lose you and this blog ..... but, as I've mentioned before, life is much more than sewers. Why not? Please let us know if there is anything this blogsphere can do to support you in this quest."

Work for the Tribune? I started writing my column at the request of Bill Morem at the Sun Bulletin (owned by the Tribune.) The editor then attempted to censor one of my columns (I was busy sticking pins into the Hideous San Luis School Board for their appalling Dr. Ed Denton-driven policies and wasted $$$$$ & etc). Since the attempt to shut me up had NO basis (I wasn't being liableous, slanderous or any other legitimate thing, just rightfully pointing out the lack of clothing on the various School Board Emperors) I immediately resigned and trotted over the the Bay News. In all the years since, the Bay News has NEVER attempted to censor anything I wrote to protect their buddies (on the school board, for example) or for any other political reason.

Does anybody out there think for a moment that the Trib would run my columns with the same censor-free policy in place? Right. Bwahahahahah.

Well, so long as the Bay News stays in business, and I continue to have the time and energy to try to keep up with this blogsite, we can all keep nattering away. I can only hope that everyone take a deep breath, keep a sharp eye out, and hopefully THIS time, we can avoid the built-in train wreck that sent the original Faster! Better! Cheaper! project off the cliff -- a guaranteed disater that was set in motion from day one. Please God, maybe we can avoid repeating history all over again??? Well, that will depend on the community WAKING UP and SHOWING UP.

Churadogs said...

Publicworks sez:"Awesome report, Ann. .... I hear The Trib needs a new Los Osos reporter. I nominate you"

I have to disagree. I just don't see Ann as a reporter. I have yet to be convinced she can look at a story, how shall I say it, antiseptically."

Let me say it AGAIN: I write an OPINION COLUMN on the OPINION PAGE of the Bay News. Been doing that since 1991. OPINION COLUMNISTS are different from REPORTERS. But credible OPINION COLUMNISTS still have to have credibility, which is based on not making stuff up, or lying, or falsifying "facts," or whatever else causes them to lose credibility. You can disagree with their conclusions, but it's silly to critize them for . . . having and expressing and OPINION.

Inlet sez:"Furthermore, they seem to have neglected to include reasonable estimates of the cost to replace septic tanks."

Uh, if I'm not mistaken, the cost Ripley listed INCLUDED replacing 95% of all the tanks. INCLUDED it in the final tab. Am I missing something here?

Spectator sez:"Thereafter for the property owners are costs of any system, and these are monthly costs. And also POTENTIAL costs such as state water, should we run out if conservation measures do not work.

All is not as simple as it seems. I just want a viable system at the least cost, and do not care where it is. But I will be skeptical and look to unintended consequences. I am really concerned that the staff of the CCRWQCB wants this done fast and without nitrate greater than water quality standards. I am tired at looking at the scar that was to be our sewer project. We will see what happens."

One of the things I hope the community will pay attention to is OM&R costs. A day before, I think, the Ripley presentation, PG&E went to the PUC to ask for across the board rate increases for electricity. This becomes especially crucial for long term costs to the community. Which is why Ripley's kwh/acre feet is extremely interesting.

PG13 sez:"Ron > Awesome report, Ann. .... I hear The Trib needs a new Los Osos reporter. I nominate you.

How do I second that nomination? Ann, is this something you might be interested in? I think you would make a most excellent Los Osos reporter. I'd even buy the rag just to read your column. I'll presume to speak for many of us. We'd hate to lose you and this blog ..... but, as I've mentioned before, life is much more than sewers. Why not? Please let us know if there is anything this blogsphere can do to support you in this quest."

Work for the Tribune? I started writing my column at the request of Bill Morem at the Sun Bulletin (owned by the Tribune.) The editor then attempted to censor one of my columns (I was busy sticking pins into the Hideous San Luis School Board for their appalling Dr. Ed Denton-driven policies and wasted $$$$$ & etc). Since the attempt to shut me up had NO basis (I wasn't being liableous, slanderous or any other legitimate thing, just rightfully pointing out the lack of clothing on the various School Board Emperors) I immediately resigned and trotted over the the Bay News. In all the years since, the Bay News has NEVER attempted to censor anything I wrote to protect their buddies (on the school board, for example) or for any other political reason.

Does anybody out there think for a moment that the Trib would run my columns with the same censor-free policy in place? Right. Bwahahahahah.

Well, so long as the Bay News stays in business, and I continue to have the time and energy to try to keep up with this blogsite, we can all keep nattering away. I can only hope that everyone take a deep breath, keep a sharp eye out, and hopefully THIS time, we can avoid the built-in train wreck that sent the original Faster! Better! Cheaper! project off the cliff -- a guaranteed disater that was set in motion from day one. Please God, maybe we can avoid repeating history all over again??? Well, that will depend on the community WAKING UP and SHOWING UP.

Spectator said...

This sewer system is all about MONEY. ONLY the bucks coming out of an individuals pocket will wake LOS OSOS up! I would love to have a park on the Tri-W site or any other site. Unfortunately the out of town site has been found more expensive that the Tri-W site, and the water board wants full tertiary treatment which will push up the cost even more if they keep their stance. They also want to stop the delay, understanding that the time of delay is a killer. They surely will fine us, make us pump, etc. to stop the delay. And I agree that the cost of energy on the out of town site would be less by far IF THE RECOMMENDED RIPLEY SITE AND PLAN IS SELLECTED. But if tertiary treatment is required by the CCRWQCB, bye bye energy savings. The energy thing comes down to a decision by the CCRWQCB.

Jon Arcuni

Shark Inlet said...

When I wrote "Furthermore, they seem to have neglected to include reasonable estimates of the cost to replace septic tanks" Ann replied "Uh, if I'm not mistaken, the cost Ripley listed INCLUDED replacing 95% of all the tanks. INCLUDED it in the final tab. Am I missing something here?".

You are right that they included costs to replace 95% of the septic tanks. It is really interesting that the Ripley team thinks that one can install a brand-spankin'-new septic tank for just about the exact cost the previous CSD estimated would be the cost of decommissioning the old tanks and hooking up to the gravity sewer. Let's see ... one job involves a whole lot more work than the other but they are estimated to cost the same. Either the previous board was dramatically overestimating the costs to homeowners (and they certainly had no reason to do so) or the Ripley plan dramatically underestimates their costs. Having looked over their cost estimates I do have to say that they seem very low to me. (They estimated the MWH gravity system to cost $3000/household to decommission a tank and tie into the collection system but they estimated the cost of decommissioning, connection + new tank + controllers plus labor to install the new tank at about $6000. What is funny is that they estimate the tank itself to cost $2000 and the controllers to cost $1800 and that already pushes them over $6800 ... somehow they were not playing fair. Oh yeah, they also appear to have left out labor costs to instal the new tanks.) Thus the statement that they didn't include realistic cost estimates.

I would guess that rather than $6000 it would cost a minimum of $8-10k per household to do the job. After all ... workers don't work for free and it won't be cheaper to decommission a tank if done by Ripley folks than by MWH folks. In any case, the cost just increased by about $15M.

Fudge a little here, fudge a little there and pretty soon we're talking about really large differences.

I am not claiming that Ripley or his team intentionally tried to mislead, but I do find it really ironic that within just Tech report #4 they overestimate the cost of a job if it's associated with TriW but underestimate the cost of the same job if it's associated with their plan.

Maybe they're trying to get more business ...

Did Chuck who read the TriW documents so very thoroughly read these reports before they started talking about how much cheaper the Ripley plan is?

Mike Green said...

BWA HA HA HA! Do you suppose that the bids will come in 40% over estimate?

It's going to be a political decision.

The sexiest plan will win!

"Cost is a "trickey" problem"

Philistenes indeed!

Mike Green said...

Im still trying to work this out as a compliment or an insult,
Publickworks pontificated:
"Mike, I've known lots of hacks. You're not a hack, I'm much more of a hack than thou."

Uh?

Mike Green said...

To Mr. Legross,
Can you explain why your comment about the CSD closing it's doors at the beginning of July was so erronious?
Thanks, Mike Green

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,

Sure. I was mistaken.

The CSD was able to get insurance (at double the cost of last year's policy.) So the doors are staying open...for a while longer.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Anonymous said...

Hey, old BAG!

You talk a lot, but everything you say is BS!