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Friday, July 13, 2007

Is That Purple Pipe In Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Glad To See Me?

Listened to Dave Congalton's show yesterday. Pio Lombardo was on with Gail McPherson of PZLDF. Lombardo and Associates (www.lombardoassociates.com) was discussing their proposal for solving several critical wastewater issues for Los Osos with decentralized systems. The same proposed project was written up by Jack Beardwood in this week's Bay News.

From my notes, and the paper's story, here's what I find interesting:

-- Pio's Project is a STEP collection system that filters, de-nitrifies (3 mg discharge, well below the 7 mg permitted by the RWQCB), produces very little sludge to be disposed of, treats the wastewater to Title 22 unrestricted non-potable use in a series of treatment facilites that would be below ground (Is this deja vu? Remember Tri W Version #1 was supposed to be "buried and drop dead gorgeous" before it went all bait & switchy?) and would return the nice title 22 water back to the homeowner via purple pipe to be used for landscapeing, which -- according to Pio -- represents about 50% of our water use, thereby stopping the really serious problem here in Los Osos of saltwater intrusion caused because we're already in overdraft. All this can be done for a cost of about $31,000 per property ( $31,000 x 20 year loan at ? % = per month guestimate? how's about a 30 year loan? Ka-ching! ka-ching! Start yer calculators!)

Interestingly, by locating the underground facilities throughout the town, it's possible that gravity alone could be used as a collector for some areas, i.e. if the area to be collected was well above where the treatment site was located, there would be no need for any in-tank pumps. Simply allow gravity to do the work of drawing off the wastewater for treatment.

Additionally (more deja vu) buried facilities would allow for parks to be located on top of them, so we're back (O Irony!) with some elements of Tri-W as well as the original Ponds of Avalon. In this case, X number of "pocket parks" dotted throught the community.

According to the Bay News, quoting Pio," Operation of these wastewater systems is simple, requiring little operator attention. Our current comparable facilities operate with monthly visits -- primarily to collect samples for performance monitoring. Electrical needs are predominately to operate small pumps that operate intermittently. No chemicals are needed. There is little sludge production in the treatment system -- significantly less than an activates sludge plant. Odor issues are mitigaged as there is no sludge processing and soil or carbon filters are used for air venting of treatment processes."

The Bay News also noted, "He said the treated wastewater would be available for use in watering landscaping at individual lots and it would lower homeowners' water bills as much as a half. That could be the most attractive feature of all. The town's drinking water wells are currently in overdraft." (The reduced water bills would have to be factored into the overall cost of the system. The other systems being looked at don't include a water-return component. Indeed, water costs remain an escalating issue for everyone in Los Osos and must be added onto the wastewater treatment costs for the other systems.)

And, like any STEP system, Lombardo's plan uses smaller pipe that can be laid with directional boring, thereby saving the cost and environmental disruption and damage of digging ginormous trenches in the streets. Faster, too.

Mr. Lombardo noted on Dave's show, that the "county has been professional about reviewing" his proposal. Glad to hear it.

His proposal should now be on the table for scrutiny by county engineers, the TAC, and the public. Along with the other systems being looked at.

Personally, I hope all involved will take a serious look at that purple pipe. If, indeed, this town is using 50% of it's drinking water to water its petunias, drinking water drawn from an aquifer that's already seriously in overdraft, in a basin that's now, I believe, already listed as a Level III severe water shortage area, then any system that actually can stop 50% of the pumping really needs a serious look-see.

To date, the other systems being considered have reportedly resulted in purple piping simply not being finacially feasible, due to the distances involved. Localized cluster systems may make that piping doable since, I presume, both pipes (wastewater out-purple pipe back in) can be laid at the same time. (More deja vu: The Ponds of Avalon were a STEP system and centrally located in an effort to keep piping costs low. The same economies vis a vis purple piping may be at work with decentralized cluster systems.)

Well, the county engineers will hopefully continue to be "professional about reviewing" Lombardo's proposals, and any more that are out there that can be brought to the table. Serious vettng may winnow out some for both technical and/or financial reasons, then it'll be up to the homeowners to make some key decisions when the 218 assessment vote arrives.

So, stay tuned, as ever.

80 comments:

Shark Inlet said...

Because you asked ...

If Pio is right (that the current cost is $31k per household) ...

If there is a 2 year delay to get the design and approval, the total project would be about $180M. If financed for 30 years at 7%, that puts the P&I at about 241 per month and with $50 monthly O&M we get a total of $290/month. Not bad if you compare it to current guesstimates and remember that we would get irrigation water included with that figure.

[Note: if it would qualify for a SRF for the entire amount at 2.5% over 20 years, the montly total including O&M would be about $50 less per month ...]

If Pio isn't blowing smoke about the treatment technology's denitrification and cost, the County will look at this quite seriously.

The drawbacks will likely be the sh*tst*rm over the issue of having a small treatment plant in every neighborhood. The possibility of odors or accidents/spills seems to cause great fear.

Certainly when you consider the County's criteria which seems to allow for a considerably weighting for aquifer recharge, this conceptual idea plays very well.

TCG said...

I was tempted to leave a smart-ass "cheaper, faster, better" remark here, and let it go at that. But in thinking about this more, the makeup of this concept is clearly worthy of further consideration by the County and us property owners.

This is yet another example of why the County's process of showing us that there are some viable project options, and approximately what they would cost, then having the Prop 218 election before moving on is the only reasonable way to approach this near impossible job.

As I have been told, if the 218 vote passes, the County will continue on to the CEQA phase in 2008, in which other potential options must be researched and documented (regional facility with Morro Bay or other agencies, import water vs. recharge and local options,etc). This decentralized approach is yet another such alternative that can be looked at in CEQA and, if determined to be viable (no fatal flaws), included in the community survey before the issue is finally decided by the Board of Supervisors.

I'm not sure right now how I would feel about numerous sewer facilities all over town, and we don't know how the neighbors of such facilities will feel. Will this be an issue of the concept having to be approved before the actual locations are sited?

I agree that this is a concept that needs to be checked out more closely, but I don't believe that this is an issue for the TAC or the County to address until (and if) this project gets to the CEQA phase.

Based on the County's July 17 Agenda item regarding the Prop 218 election, the time schedule seems to be very tight, and inflexible, due to the necessary election prosesses that the County Clerk runs.

4crapkiller said...

Dammit Sharky! Please check out the difference between denitrification and NITRATE reduction. We have been down this road before and the used car salesmen want to confuse us.

In any case on the Congleton show, someone had the sense to ask PIO about NITRATE reduction and documentation. I quess they have been reading this blog.

Pio claims that he has government documentation of BOTH denitrification AND NITRATE reduction down to less than 5ml/L NITRATE from his NITREX textile filter. However, no mention of effective flows. The problem would be size of footprint for given flow for how many houses. This it a STEG/STEP system, mostly gravity, and the NITREX filter is passive (uses no elec juice or chemicals). However the textile filter is consumed and needs to be replaced every 20? years. It would seem to me that the carbon source within the textiles gets used up by the anaerobic bacteria. I wonder about the cost figure. Cost needs to be fleshed out to include modern septic tank replacement.

This is a viable option, however, if it passes muster by the CCRWQCB in conjunction with the county. Lots of problems to be solved, not with the system as described, but with placement (multiple sites and land purchase/permitting) plus the problem of NIMBY.

We shall see. It is difficult for me to understand how multiple plants would be less expensive than one big plant, but the reuse of purple piped water for irregation would do a lot to solve our water problems and thus, in the long run, save us a bundle and stop salt water intrusion into our water supply, the lower aquifer.

It seems to be getting more and more clear that potable water supply for the future is becoming an emergency situation.

Salt water is heavier than fresh water, and fresh water floats on top of salt water. We can stop salt water intrusion, but we can't reverse it. (as far as I have been able to find out).

Sewertoons said...
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Sewertoons said...
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Sewertoons said...

I heard an issue that might be problematic with such a system was the small number of houses that hook up to each unit. If one person has the urge to dump paint thinner into their drain, the biological process will be knocked down and trouble ensues - finger pointing to the bad guy being circular as who did the deed. (Not like Bayridge, where lots of homes hook up and the dilution factor keeps any one bad event from killing the whole process.)

Lots would have to be bought to put these little plants on. (What is the going price for a vacant lot these days?) Are there lots where there would need to be lots. Do I hear the tune of lawsuits drifting in the distance?

I can't see those opposing Tri-W with the- "but it's in the middle of town arguments" being supportive of plants all over town - unless they really don't want a plant at all and were just using that tact to stop the project.

I just see yet another technolgy being dumped in as making it too confusing for most people. All along the hand-wringers have wanted a 218 with just TWO choices. Even they would have to change their tune if this was to be considered, as it is neither Tri-W NOR out of town.

Sewertoons said...

Ann, I'm not sure what you mean by, "Serious vettng may winnow out some for both technical and/or financial reasons, then it'll be up to the homeowners to make some key decisions when the 218 assessment vote arrives"

Do you mean the advisory vote? The 218 is simply to assess ourselves to pay for a sewer. The (singular) decision there is yes or no.

Mike Green said...

I see absolutly no problem with this system getting to the survey as long as it survives the same "fatal flaw"
inspection that the other systems will have passed.
As far as Congelton's show, two big questions asked concerned development time and NITRATE removal.
Pio stated that his system would meet both criteria.
Of course the devil is in the details.
Purple pipe sure sounds good.
In any event the 218 must pass if we want to even have this choice.

Ron said...

Ann wrote:

"Additionally (more deja vu) buried facilities would allow for parks to be located on top of them, so we're back (O Irony!) with some elements of Tri-W as well as the original Ponds of Avalon. In this case, X number of "pocket parks" dotted throught the community."

Oh, that is rich. Absolutely beautiful!

So, what's a certain parks commissioner to say now -- a parks commissioner that was willing to have the LOCSD "fined out of existence" just so she could keep her $200-plus-million dollar park-project-that-contains-a-sewer-system around?

Is the queen of Tri-W now all of a sudden going to back Lombardo and Associates plan -- a plan that sounds about 1000 times better than the bait-and-switchy Tri-W mess -- because it FINALLY achieves HER "community value" for additional park space? I'd love to know the answer to that question... um, I think I already know.

Sewertoons said...

Oddly enough ron, I am more interested in your take on the Lombardo plan than I am in PN-K's reaction to it - beyond your statement that it is 1,000 better than Tri-W. That doesn't tell me much.

Churadogs said...

Sewertoons sez:"Ann, I'm not sure what you mean by, "Serious vettng may winnow out some for both technical and/or financial reasons, then it'll be up to the homeowners to make some key decisions when the 218 assessment vote arrives"

Do you mean the advisory vote? The 218 is simply to assess ourselves to pay for a sewer. The (singular) decision there is yes or no.

9:51 AM, July 13, 2007 "

Pio said the county engineers were doing a professional job of looking at his proposal. If, between now and the 218 vote, Pio's Purple Pipe project is still on the table, it will give voters one more system to think just might be available for final selection. What's being yelled about in this blogspace is a flat up or down yes/no vote on 218. If voters are told by assessment time that there appear to be only X & Y systems that we'll even consider, it may influence how they feel about the 218. If they're told, we're seriously considering X, Y & Z & M & Q, that might influence how they feel about the 218 vote & etc.

The 218 vote isn't really "singular." since it contains a multitude of fears,misinformation, information, reasons, options, opinions, suspicions, notions, etc. There isn't anything "singular" or "simple" about that 218. I've repeatedly said that Perception IS Reality. That will apply in spades to that 218.

sewertoons also sez:"I can't see those opposing Tri-W with the- "but it's in the middle of town arguments" being supportive of plants all over town - unless they really don't want a plant at all and were just using that tact to stop the project."

the community originally supported The Ponds of Avalon, partly on its innovative passive new technologies & etc. and especially because of it's supposed price tag. Then there was supposed to be the "buried and drop dead gorgeous plant" (before "bait and switchy") that the homeowners voted to begin assessing themselves for for land acquisition and design work. So, I suppose the question is: Is there a difference between a buried treatment plant with no sludge removal facilities scattered around town that includes purple pipe that supposedly stops salt water intrusion and a centrally located, 40' high tratment building with sludge hauling going on in the middle of town and no purple pipe? The differences between those two is something the community will have to think about.

4crapkiller said...

Ann: Apparently you were not listening to PIO on Congleton's show, or simply wish to omit information for your agenda. Pio's treatment plants will not be completely burried. Parts will extend above the surface. He did not elaborate as to what height.

40 ft high treatment building at TRI-W? Yes, but NOT 40 ft high above ground level. The plant was designed to effect minimum obstruction of viewshed. The stinky non native eucalyptus trees that were removed caused serious obstruction of viewshed.

Is there no end to your omissions due to agenda?

LOST IN TRANSLATION said...

4crap......

Apparently, you missed Pio's presentation at the PZLDF meeting a few weeks ago.
The decentralized treatment plant he built in Malibu, which WAS approved by the RWQCB, is built entirely underneath a parking lot.
Nice try.

TCG said...

I agree with Churadogs that the decentralized plant appears to be another option for us to think of as a "possible," assuming that no fatal flaws are uncovered between now and the Prop 218 closing date. However, even Mr. Lombardo admitted, as all of the promoters of the next big thing seem to (the orignial pond people,Ripley,Orenco), that he has not much more than a concept at this time.

A good deal of engineering/ verification/cost estimating would need to be done before the County and we can legitimately compare this alternative to the others that are being documented. Between now and the CEQA process completion, this would need to be done. If the Prop 218 vote fails, I don't see where the CSD would have the funding or the expertise to make this happen. This is another example, in my opinion, of why we need the assessments approved so that the process can continue.

Mike said...

Say what?

If it's "decentralized", how is it under one parking lot? Gee, wouldn't that work on the Tri-W site then? Could even have a park above it? Or, better still, why not have it under Von's parking lot? There would be no sludge to ever haul, hardly any maintenance, so this must be the perfect sewer! At least it will be until Carnac checks it out.

If indeed, there was some sort of real "decentralization" into neighborhood boutique collectors and since our streets are in such substandard condition, instead of buying vacant lots, how about burying the boutique collectors under the streets we already own?

But, doesn't this sound like another "MEGA SEWER IN THE MIDDLE OF TOWN"? Has Malibu had any complaints of a sewer in the "middle of their little town"?

Keep working on the perfect system Los Osos, some day we may have a sewer AND clean drinking water!

4crapkiller said...

Yup, missed the PZLDF meeting. I was commenting on Pio's comments on the Congleton show. Perhaps the high groundwater areas, which we have, would make our situation different than the one in Malabu. Pio is no idiot and his solution works. It is an option.

Our situation here has always been different than other situations. Different situations require different solutions. At this time we have absolutely no indication where these cluster sewers will be built. If they or most could be completely underground, it would be a plus.

While I have put forward the concept of TRI-W treatment plant being completely underground with a sports complex on top, I have no idea if it would be feasible or that the cost would be accepted by the community. The county will decide.

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts. Be careful of your leaders. Troy ceased to exist shortly after the leaders accepted the hollow horse.

Thank you for the information.

Mike Green said...

Mike wrote:
"Keep working on the perfect system Los Osos, some day we may have a sewer AND clean drinking water!"

Mike, we already have clean drinking water, I'm sure your comment was for theatrical effect, but it's statements of that sort that have created confusion and uninformed opinions resulting in unintended consequences that we all are going to pay for later.

Keep the eye on the ball, Pass the 218 vote!

And here is a thought. Why can't we pump the upper aquifer RIGHT NOW and deliver that water in purple pipes to our petunias (not me, I don't have petunias, but I'll bet my Zinnias would love it)
Thereby lessinig the overdraft of the lower aquifer by 50% ?

Mike said...

Agreed, however I'm tired of the endless march of perfect sewer systems and the extreme views that seem to grow in Los Osos.

I do know of several purple pipe systems, but quite frankly, I don't have faith that anyone in Los Osos could design and make a legal greywater recycle system. I sure wouldn't want our CSD to have any oversight or management of such system if an acceptible design(s) could be agreed upon.

We need a sewer, be it a conventional gravity or a state of the art nuclear fusion incinerator, just keep the public comments and the next generation of snake oil salesmen away from the County Engineers. The group who constantly troop in front of BOS, RWQCB and CSD have had more than their say, now it's time to let the County do their job.

There just has been too much "public" involvement! We doomed our selves right out of any local government. Vote YES on the 218 measure and lets see if we as a community are willing to support another tax to pay for a sewer.

BTW MikeGreen, part of me is in favor of purple pipe and good environmental practices, but part of me still sees our wonderful citizens dumping their drain oil, antifreeze, paints, thinners and soaps directly into the soil, and don't even let me get started about the dogs & cats roaming as if this were rural farm land. I don't trust my fellow man to clean up his own crap without government involvement, and NOT this joke of "local" government!

Shark Inlet said...

Mike Green,

I know why we can't ... right now ... use upper aquifer water for irrigation. We don't have purple pipe in the ground and the cost of putting in such a system would be tens of millions of dollars.

It would only be if the purple pipe is put in at the same time as a sewer that we'll save enough money that it might be cost effective.

Mike Green said...

Yes Sharkey, you are right it would cost money,
And you are right, That kind of purple pipe could go in with ANY kind of sewer,
Tens of millions sounds cheap compared to the overall cost to me.

Mike said...

How about requireing an integrated storm sewer system (including oily water intersepts and separators) along with greywater reclaimation being designed with the domestic sewer collection piping?

We might actually end up with streets and gutters and even a few sidewalks to go with the greywater irrigated parks!

Mike Green said...

There are lots of very attractive things that could be added to ANY WWTF.
To maximize our conservation of water is a noble endeavor.
As far as costs go, perhaps a more innovative solution would be more likely to garner state and federal support over traditional methods.
Who knows?
No matter what, it might be a good idea to practice our "squeeky wheel" act. Some grea$e might come in handy.

Sewertoons said...

Ann, thank you for clarifying what you meant on the 218 vote. I agree with what you have said now that you have explained yourself. I would like to clarify the Tri-W project though as having only a 14" "wave" wall above ground, the rest of it, the other 25 feet, was to be buried.

Here's what I don't get about step. We would have one truck with Tri-W, it was told, on this blog some months back by Richard Legros, that this truck would run four times a week. According to info out of the last Tac meeting, if we go step and the plant was out of town, not only would we have our own tanks pumped every 5 years (sorry Al, I trust information from actual step operators over the 12 years by Orenco salesmen) but we would also have 1-4 or 5 truck trips per week to haul out the solids. Even more trucks if the process chosen needs bulking agents (geen waste) trucked in. Of course, all this trucking of what's at the plant happens out of town…not exactly a process to makes the neighbors happy. Nor anyone mindful of the air quality. That downside must be made clear to the community.

4crapkiller said...

Mike Green:

I really hate to be realistic, but when Los Osos voted for a recall based upon moving a sewer under construction, in effect throwing 23 million in permitting and development costs down the drain, and with the Los Osos nut cases continuously on TV, in the press, and with growing national attention to our problem, I seriously think that the "squeeky wheel" approach will fall on "deaf ears". Wherever I go, and to most that I talk to, people outside LOS OSOS are inclined to let LOS OSOS stew in their own septage.

Of course, this is an unintended consequence of stupidity. The key question is: "Why help?" "They brought their problems upon themselves." "They were warned."

I have seen very few cases where stupidity and self destruction has been rewarded. There are many communities that need help and can be considered far more worthy.

Beat the drums, talk to the cardboard mike, twist the dials on the cardboard box and maybe cargo will come. Who knows? Barnum stated that there was a sucker born every minute. Maybe Caesar Chavez will help.

The only thing that I see helping this community's financial situation is for the 4 remaining "fabulous 5" board members to resign, 4 more members to be installed by LAFCO, and the lawyers to be sued for "errors and omissions" to the tune of 42 million plus punitive damages of an equal amount. Hopefully their insurance is complete.

Like you say: "Who knows?"

I say: "With hindsight now, would any property owner, who voted for the recall, wish to change their vote?"

If the 218 vote fails, this question will be even more powerful. The consequences of failure are even more terrible.

Churadogs said...

Crap sez to me:"Is there no end to your omissions due to agenda?"

Lost in Translation sez:"Apparently, you missed Pio's presentation at the PZLDF meeting a few weeks ago."

Crap sez:" Yup, missed the PZLDF meeting."

Commented on the Congalton Show statements but "forgot" to mention that you missed the PZLDF meeting wherein something different was talked about? Gosh, Crap, is there no end to your omissions due to agenda?

Mike sez:"instead of buying vacant lots, how about burying the boutique collectors under the streets we already own?"

Or public easements, which was proprosed in the Ripley plan?

Crap sez:" and the lawyers to be sued for "errors and omissions" to the tune of 42 million plus punitive damages of an equal amount. Hopefully their insurance is complete.

Uh, would that also include former CSD attorney, Jon Seitz and the recalled Board members for filing the lawsuit to prevent Measure B from getting on the ballot?

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

The "she did it too" defense is pretty weak. In this case it is also inaccurate. You know darn well that in the TriW plan, some 25 of the 40 foot building was to be underground and that a "wave wall" was to cover up the rest. The artists rendering showed that quite clearly ... and we all know that you saw that billboard. Crap's misstatement was based on a false assumption ... yours was based on faulty memory or a desire to stick it to TriW one more time.


On the interesting question of whether one could or should sue past LOCSD attorneys and GMs for bad advice ... I suspect that if it could be shown that Seitz had also given nonstandard legal advice ... advice that was designed to enrich his firm rather than to promote the best interest of the LOCSD ... sure a lawsuit might be worthwhile.

Mike said...

Haven't you heard, Measure B has been declared invalid?

4crapkiller said...

Ann:

Any lawyer or board member who made "errors and omissions" and cost the property owners money through their lack of "due dilligence" should be held accountable. Measure "B" has been found illegal twice, but under appeal. The putting of it on the ballot was another issue.

My inability to go to a PZLDF meeting "where something different was talked about" has nothing to do with the comments of Pio on the Congledon show. I am sorry I missed the meeting.

I am surprised that you did not correct your statement about the forty foot high treatment building.

While you are at it, maybe you can get a public letter from McPherson that she has no financial relationship with Pio, and will accept no money from him, and has not accepted any money from him. Same for her organization. She sure sounded like a salesperson $$$$$ on the Congleton show.

Public easements for the "boutique collectors" might be feasible depending upon the size of the footprint of the collector. Under roads not so good due to truck traffic. I have heard nothing about "public easements" for the probably new technology septic tanks that will be required to feed the "Boutique collectors". Who owns the septic tanks? Are they included in cost per household? Or did I miss THIS at the PZLDF meeting?

Buy the way, does anyone know if it is illegal to pump water from a koi pond onto the ground when cleaning a koi pond? How about a hot tub? When you wash a car?

A few of us are trying to turn Los Osos into the "koi capital of the world" using the CARP system. It is entirely possible that purple pipe water from the "boutique collectors" could do the same thing. Could we construct a koi pond on top of a septic tank in a septic tank easement? I love koi.

However, this is a very fishy proposition.

Ron said...

Ann wrote:

"The same proposed project was written up by Jack Beardwood in this week's Bay News."

and in today's Trib:

"Other local papers that won CNPA awards include the Bay News of Morro Bay..."

If someone comes across Jack or Neil, tell them I said, "Congratulations."

An anonymous commentor wrote:

"You know darn well that in the TriW plan, some 25 of the 40 foot building was to be underground and that a "wave wall" was to cover up the rest."

In the draft Fine Screening Report, they have a great phrase to describe all the crap that was needed to force a park-with-a-sewer-plant in a mid-town location, and that phrase is: "Urban Compatible."

I LOVE that phrase.

If I ever start my own band, that's going to be our name: "Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome to the Los Osos Sewer Amphitheater -- Urban Compatibllllllllle!" (and the crowd goes nuts... or I guess in the case of Los Osos, "nuttier.")

Darrin Polhemus at the SWRCB estimated that it took about $20 million of "Urban Compatibility" to make Tri-W work. That $20 million is directly on the park.

A state official recently told me, that at the "October Compromise" in 2005, Polhemus made the observation that if the LOCSD were to just pick up the Tri-W project and move it out of town, they could have saved some $20 million.

Which means when you add the cost of "Urban Compatibility" to the cost of the park amenities themselves, to the cost of the O & M for the park, that was a $30-plus million dollar park that was dictating the Tri-W location. And the only reporter that wrote a word on it was me. Wow.

Hey, CNPA, where's the love?

Mike Green said...

Ron, come on! you want recognition from the organization the gives the TRIV second place?

What the heck kind of competition was that? I noticed they didn't mention who got third, probably because there were only two papers in the running.

Kind of like ASKING to be person of the year in Los Osos, Imagine the shame!

Mike said...

If Malibu doesn't have a problem with their urban compatible parking lot with subterranian sewer, why would Los Osos have a problem with our rural (some call it a suburb) compatible park with a subterranian sewer?

It really is too bad you have no say in what we will vote on or pay for, but I like the idea of a grassy ampitheater. Thanks, I'll pass that on to Pandora.

Conspiracy Boy said...

Ann,

You said, "The 218 vote isn't really "singular." since it contains a multitude of fears,misinformation, information, reasons, options, opinions, suspicions, notions, etc. There isn't anything "singular" or "simple" about that 218. I've repeatedly said that Perception IS Reality. That will apply in spades to that 218."

** I think you are wrong and Sewertoons is right.

The 218 is simple! It's a yes or no vote period on the maximum amount (with project unknown) to fund "a" project or not. That's pretty simple.

But you also have to remember that a "yes" vote will be final and every expense incurred with, let's say a gravity project, and any accidents, etc. will come right back on homeowners to pay -- because the county is not liable. That's a problem with me. A big problem. Look at the problem with the "biggest" public works project in the country (accident in tunnel) -- accidents will happen -- especially with workers in sand down 25-28 feet. It's a diaster waiting to happen. It's a bill that will never end. That's what you'll get by voting yes on the 218.

Ann, I don't get why you can't grasp the most simple facts...

Shark Inlet said...

Ron,

Perhaps your memory is faulty ... just a month or three later, Polhemus also testified to the RWQCB that the cost of inflation and delay from moving the plant out of town would have more than swamped any savings from dumping the park.

Also please remember that those O&M savings that you mention were ... um ... about $10/month per household but the redesign of the WWTF to get those savings was far more than $10/month.

As I've said before ... and this time it would be nice if you would bother to reply ... even if TriW was a mistake would you please explain why we should pay a ton more just to fix the mistake?


And to our very trusting friend, Conspiracy Boy ... the 218 vote is one vote on one issue. Will we trust the County to put in a sewer at or below the cost estimate they give us? If you don't trust the County, vote no. Let me ask you a question, though ... if you don't trust the County on this issue when they've invested some $2M (that they won't recover if we vote no on 218), why are you so trusting of come private company in Florida who likely has a far poorer understanding of the situation in Los Osos than Ripley, Lombardo and the County.

Conspiracy Boy said...

To SharkInlet:

The 218 is one vote on one issue -- funding. But that one vote will lead us down the line to higher costs than anyone can imagine. You know that, and I know that. The county and their 15 lawyers know that. This one vote is opening the flood gate for more assessments, fees & charges, liens, etc. etc.
Rather than a blank check to the county, you might as well give them all your credit cards too!!

I can't vote to tax myself out of my home. The RWQCB has to prove that I am polluting and they can not. I won't be blackmailed -- I don't believe in it.

It's wrong. It's criminal. And if you look at the BOS agenda you can see how the county is electioneering now big time!

Criminal...

P.S. Orenco has been around and aware of Los Osos for at least 12 years from what I understand.

Shark Inlet said...

Conspiracy Boy,

Perhaps you are mistaken. By simply living in the PZ the RWQCB has already determined you are guilty. That was settled long ago. They don't have to do anything to prove you are polluting. While you don't believe in being blackmailed, you are still faced with the choice between whatever the County is going to do (and we won't know that when we vote) and hoping the LOCSD can pull off a project even while in bankruptcy.

That being said, Orenco knowing about Los Osos is different from Orenco knowing about the needs of our community and the regulations our sewer is obliged to follow. Perhaps if Orenco could explain how they're able to do the job for less than half of what anyone else can do it would be helpful. Again, supply and demand would suggest that either Orenco is far more altruistic than any other company out there or that they're trying to blow smoke up our skirts when the other engineering firms are being honest.

You do have a good point, however, about the electioneering. The County certainly wants us to vote "yes" on a 218 vote. If we vote "no" they lose $2M. The RWQCB also wants us to vote "yes" because they would view the failure of a County-based project as Los Osos refusal to make progress toward a solution.

I guess the difference between me and you is that you refuse to believe the threats of the County and RWQCB even though they've made themselves quite clear and I refuse to believe Orenco unless they offer us a guarantee.

Sewertoons said...

Conspiracy Boy, why are you so in love with Orenco? You might note that they have not stated anything to the County as to what their idea of the cost is. The last time they made their cost ideas public was at a CSD meeting ages ago before the bankruptcy, and even then, it was just on the collection system. They declined to talk to the County if the LOCSD was not represented at the meeting. Why is that?

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez:"some 25 of the 40 foot building was to be underground and that a "wave wall" was to cover up the rest."

Excuse me, but didn't I say "40 foot tall building?" and didn't you just say "40 foot building," so in what way isn't the building 40 feet tall? If you drove into the "courtyard" at the rear entrace of the Tri W site with a sludge truck, and you got out a tape measure, and measured from the bottom of some of the buildings there, would they or would they not be 40 feet tall? Or are you saying that the sludge truck would have to drive into the working yard, then drive DOWN a ramp (15' foot lower than the surround courtyard) just to get into the building's bay doors? But then, once you're now 15 feet down a ramp and you go inside the building and you measure to the ceiling, wouldn't the building still be forty feet tall? Or does the building somehow shrink and expand, perhaps on hydraulic lifters? Like some of those wonderful souped up muscle car- lLow Riders that hop up and down?

Crap sez:"My inability to go to a PZLDF meeting "where something different was talked about" has nothing to do with the comments of Pio on the Congledon show. I am sorry I missed the meeting."

What was fascinating was your (original) comment/conclusion that my not mentioning something mentioned at the PZLDF meeting was because I was deliberately misleading or promoting some agenda. That was your conclusion right out of the box. Did it never occur to you that I didn't mention info mentioned at the PZLDF meeting wasn't because of some "agenda" but was because I had a prior committment and couldn't make the meeting? Just like you?

conspiracy boy sez:"The 218 is simple! It's a yes or no vote period on the maximum amount (with project unknown) to fund "a" project or not. That's pretty simple.

But you also have to remember that a "yes" vote will be final and every expense incurred with, let's say a gravity project, and any accidents, etc. will come right back on homeowners to pay -- because the county is not liable. That's a problem with me. A big problem. Look at the problem with the "biggest" public works project in the country (accident in tunnel) -- accidents will happen -- especially with workers in sand down 25-28 feet. It's a diaster waiting to happen. It's a bill that will never end. That's what you'll get by voting yes on the 218.

Ann, I don't get why you can't grasp the most simple facts..."

Please go back and read your second paragraph. There's nothing "simple" in all the things you list there. Which was my point, so thanks for making my point for me.

Inlet sez:"Perhaps you are mistaken. By simply living in the PZ the RWQCB has already determined you are guilty. That was settled long ago. They don't have to do anything to prove you are polluting."

If you go into a "real" court, why wouldn't they have to meet the same rules of evidence and proof as any other civil/criminal case? The CDO's and ACL's are administrative civil cases, not "real" cases. Most people don't question the RWQCB's assertions (not proof, just assertions) because they assume it's cost effective to just go along to get along. Some people (or companies)differ and go to a "real" court. It remains to be seen what a "real" court has to say on the case of Mr. X who has a "real" CDO put on his "real" house, said CDO having "real" financial consequences in the "real" world and when, during the CDO hearings, the RWQCB prosecution team was asked, "Do you have any direct evidence that Mr. X is polluting the waters of the State of California?" and the answer is. . . no.

It remains to be seen what a "real" court of law will make of such an answer.

4crapkiller said...

To Ann: You are getting A.A.A.D.D.

My original comment was completely focused on the Congleton show. I gave you the benefit of the doubt as to either you were not listening or had an agenda for omission concerning the above ground nature of some of the system. How could I comment on a meeting that I did not attend?

Now I am sure it is agenda. You protesteth too much, and are completely in concert with your past agenda actions. I was too kind.

As far as the 40 foot treatment plant building at TRI-W, I guess it would depend on how you look at it, from the back, side, or front.

Most of the community would never see it from the back. I just thought that you dig was just that. Another half truth: true from the back, not true from the front. Ha! But I give you the benefit of the doubt. Good wiggle.

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

An exact (cut-n-paste) quote of your earlier words: "So, I suppose the question is: Is there a difference between a buried treatment plant with no sludge removal facilities scattered around town that includes purple pipe that supposedly stops salt water intrusion and a centrally located, 40' high tratment (sic) building with sludge hauling going on in the middle of town and no purple pipe? The differences between those two is something the community will have to think about."

The problem is not that you mentioned the height of the building, but that you neglected to mention the fact that pretty much very little of the building would be noticeable from LOVR or Palisades. Your choice of words (perhaps unintentionally) suggested that TriW would be an eyesore and that the decentralized plants would not be. We've discussed in the past your complaint that the architectural rendering was inaccurate ... don't you think that neglecting to mention the underground-ness and the wave-wall was just as inaccurate?


On the issue of the RWQCB versus a real court ... you are right. On the recent CDOs and ACLs there hasn't been any appeal yet. However, I believe there has been an appeal of the PZ as a whole and that it was upheld. My understanding is that once the PZ was defined and there was a prohibition on discharges, we're guilty de-facto. Please correct me if I am wrong on that issue.

On other matters ... pay attention to the SLO Co Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday ... 2pm.

Ron said...

Mike Green wrote:

"Ron, come on! you want recognition from the organization the gives the TRIV second place?"

Good point. Now that I think about it, I'll hold out for the Pulitzer folks, and the nano-second that Tri-W FINALLY, officially falls off the table, wait until you see my campaign for that particular prize. It's going to be beautiful.

Mike wrote:

"... why would Los Osos have a problem with our rural (some call it a suburb) compatible park with a subterranian sewer? "

You should ask the last three elections in Los Osos that question.

"... you have no say in what we will vote on or pay for..."

I'm not so sure about that one ; - )

Anonymous commentor:

"As I've said before ... and this time it would be nice if you would bother to reply ... even if TriW was a mistake would you please explain why we should pay a ton more just to fix the mistake?"

Because, as I've shown all over the place, Tri-W will never work. It has many, many fatal flaws, and if it wasn't being "carried through" the entire screening process by the TAC, that little detail -- the fact that it will never work -- would have been revealed in the ROUGH screening process.

And, as I always say these days, if you want to see me proven right again, then simply get Tri-W restarted, and you'll find out the hard way.

Shark Inlet said...

Ron,

All of you "proof" that "Tri-W will never work" is not actually a discussion of the engineering or the financing but only a discussion of what you believe to have been flaws in the permitting process.

Again, if you believe that TriW was not permitted appropriately doesn't mean that it wouldn't physically work or that the County wouldn't get the CCC to approve their own, independent, selection of that site because the design is already finished so we would have a sewer online far sooner and far cheaper than if we adopt an alternative plan.

Because I've raised this issue every time that you say TriW won't work and because you've never disputed it, I'll treat your silence on the issue as your tacit admission that I am right.

If the County, having looked over the permitting issues carefully, decides to select TriW for reasons unrelated to the LOCSD's SOC, your ego may very well be hurt when you find out you are wrong about the CCC.

4crapkiller said...

To sharky:

It would seem very strange to me that the county would throw $23 million away that was used to develop, design, and permit TRI-W.

Money like this does not grow on trees, and we are paying this money on our tax bills. Maybe, if they decide upon another system, these monies can be retired by being included.

I have no idea. I guess this will come out as part of their final decision.

To Ron:

Will you please tell us all the reason why the MBR system at TRI-W would not work? This is proven technology for tertiary plus treatment and has been working elsewhere with almost no problems.

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez:"An exact (cut-n-paste) quote of your earlier words: "So, I suppose the question is: Is there a difference between a buried treatment plant with no sludge removal facilities scattered around town that includes purple pipe that supposedly stops salt water intrusion and a centrally located, 40' high tratment (sic) building with sludge hauling going on in the middle of town and no purple pipe? The differences between those two is something the community will have to think about."

The problem is not that you mentioned the height of the building, but that you neglected to mention the fact that pretty much very little of the building would be noticeable from LOVR or Palisades"

Let me repeat the question because it's a simple one:"Is there a difference between a buried treatment plant with no sludge removal facilities scattered around town that includes purple pipe that supposedly stops salt water intrusion and a centrally located, 40' high tratment (sic) building with sludge hauling going on in the middle of town and no purple pipe? The differences between those two is something the community will have to think about."

Ron said...

Anonymous commentor wrote:

"Because I've raised this issue every time that you say TriW won't work and because you've never disputed it..."

Anon, you're locked in the child-covers-his-eyes-and-thinks-no-one-can-see-him mentality. Again, I don't care if you, an anonymous commentor on a blog, can't comprehend these complex issues, all I care is if Steve Monowitz comprehends these complex issues, and he does. He's crystal clear on it.

"... I'll treat your silence on the issue as your tacit admission that I am right."

Well, whatever. Then go ahead and fight, fight fight, to get Tri-W restarted, and you will find out the hard way that it will never work.

4CK:

"To Ron:
Will you please tell us all the reason why the MBR system at TRI-W would not work?"


The technology is not the problem, the fact that it is illegal, according to the Coastal Zone Land Use Ordinance, to build a sewer plant at Tri-W now that the TAC has shown that there are other environmentally preferable viable locations. That is just ONE of the reasons why Tri-W will never work, and there are many, many more reasons why it will never work -- reasons that everyone would know about if the TAC wasn't carrying the project through the entire fine screening process. And that's too bad, especially since, in a public meeting earlier this year, supervisor Bruce Gibson asked county staff member, John Waddell, if Tri-W was going to be included in the fine screening process, after it was "carried through" the rough screening process. Waddell answered, "Yes."

However, in the draft Fine Screening Report, it still reads, "The previous LOCSD project at the Tri-W site will continue to be carried through the fine screening process..."

Sorry, "support the county's process" folks, but that simply doesn't pass the smell test.

Shark Inlet said...

Ron,

It is truly sad how blind you have become.

TriW is not illegal just because there are other locations which would also work. This has been explained to you already ... if there are competing laws (like not allowing development on AG land and not allowing development of ESHA land and requiring the project to be affordable) a compromise must be reached. The County and CCC know this and have allowed it in the past and will continue to allow it in the future. You are incorrect when you assert that the ESHA-ness of the TriW site (well, it was low-grade ESHA then but not at all anymore) trumps all other considerations.

Maybe you're not really listening all that well. I don't care if TriW or a decentralized project or something at the Giacomazzi gets developed ... I just want the cheapest system that meets the real needs of Los Osos. I don't know what your goal is but you seem hell-bent on fighting TriW no matter what your fight costs us.

That being said I need to repeat that it is truly sad that you're so focused on torpedoing TriW that you're not thinking clearly.

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

Perhaps you misunderstand.

I am in complete agreement with you that the community will have to decide whether decentralized is better or worse than other options we have when compared to the cost of each option.

The point I was trying to make isn't that you are wrong ... but that the way you chose to describe the TriW project was with biaed language. Perhaps you don't mind using language that is designed to suggest TriW is a poor choice. I was just trying to point out the biases.

4crapkiller said...

To Ron:

Thank you for your reply. Since you feel the technology is OK, could you please put down the OTHER reasons why Tri-W would never, never work?

I understand that there is some sort of law that requires a treatment plant to be built within a district if it can, and that OUTSIDE a district would be possible only if it could not be built within a district.

I await illumination.

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez:"and not allowing development of ESHA land and requiring the project to be affordable) a "

It was my understanding that "affordable" is no longer in any documents anywhere, except as suggested "guidelines," which can be ignored. It used to be in Porter Cologne as one of the things that had to be considered, but was quietly removed somewhere along the way. The only limit I'm aware of is a percentage of the aggregate/total property worth, i.e. a percentage cap of all the PZ properties' assessment value, which, given the extremely high cost of homes here, would mean we could install a gold-plated sewer system with diamond encrusted knobs and STILL come in under the aggregate cap.

Inlet also sez:"The point I was trying to make isn't that you are wrong ... but that the way you chose to describe the TriW project was with biaed language. Perhaps you don't mind using language that is designed to suggest TriW is a poor choice. I was just trying to point out the biases."

No, I don't mind using language that indicates Tri-W was a poor choice, especially since I think and have repeatedly said I thought Tri-w is/was a poor choice. But what I said was Tri W had 40' high walls versus versus some "buried" Pio Project. Apparently Tri W DID have 40' high walls, so what the kerfluffle was about is beyond me. The walls were either 40' high or weren't. The only confusion about Pio's project was he didn't use the word TOTALLY buried on the Congalton show, but apparently did say completely buried or totally buried at the PZLDF meeting, which I was unable to attend. Crap felt that my not noting the words "completely" or "totally" indicated some sort of "agenda" when it was omitted because, like Crap, I wasn't at the PZLDF meeting. Another commentor added the completely buried part.

So, 40 feet and/or "buried" and/or Totally/Completely buried. Folks are going to have to think about both.

Shark Inlet said...

I was only able to catch part of the Supervisors meeting yesterday.

I actually like Linde Owen's suggestion that there could be a series of 218 votes ... one to borrow money to design a project ... paid for by property assessments and then a later 218 vote after a determination has been made to the exact project (which would hopefully follow the public input survey) that could allow for financing the whole thing. Much like how we borrowed some $20M to design and permit TriW before we then needed to go and finance it. While there may be a technical reason why this isn't possible or why the County would want to avoid such a scheme, I was disappointed that I didn't hear Paavo address this idea and explain why we were going with an "all or none" 218 vote.

I partially think the reason is that the County only reluctantly agreed to AB2701 and wanted to build a timetable safeguard for themselves as well as the $2M cap on investment which might be lost.

While I still think the County is doing a better job than the LOCSD would be doing at this point in time .... even if they had a sound financial house .... I was hoping for an answer to this question.

I'm also wondering about how the 218 vote will include (or not include) the homes in Monarch Grove and the Martin Tract. These homes don't technically need a sewer but are still in the PZ. I would imagine that they would want to tie into a community system if it is cheap enough but that if the cost is too high, they would rather not be included. This is 100+ homes with a very different cost-benefit structure than the rest of the PZ and I would imagine that they would be quite likely to vote "no" at $300 a month but quite likely to vote "yes" at $150 a month. Perhaps the County intends to include these regions with separate 218 votes in each where they won't tip the balance on a vote of the rest of the PZ.

TCG said...

In response to Shark Inlet's recent post, I heard Mr. Ogren explain yesterday that money raised from an election to fund CEQA and other studies would constitute a "special tax" election as opposed to a property assessment. Key differences that he mentioned are that the special tax election is done by registered voters, not property owners based on assessments, and 2/3 voter approval is required to pass such an initiative.

The property assessment votes are based on proposed assessments, and require 50% plus 1$ to pass.

No offense to the non-property owners, but this is a huge property issue, and should be decided by the property owners who will be subject to the CDOs. I believe tha Mr. Ogren also said that the Legislature and subcommittees discussed that same concern and clarified that property owners should decide this.

I agree that the County is pushing hard to get through this, and I'm sure that their reasons include the fact that construction inflation is high and they are trying to minimize costs, and they are trying to comply with the RWQCB's target date for operation. I am happy with the B/S decision on this, and wish that people would quit attacking their process and work harder to see what they can get out of it.

Sewertoons said...

For those who did not see the meeting, Linde's suggestion (basically the same as what Lacy Cooper said- speaking ahead of Linde) was to study two projects, one gravity and one step. I saw her statement as a political agenda to make sure (in her mind) that Tri-W would be knocked off the table. I would not want to pay for CEQA on two projects as the money would be lost on one of the projects. I also would see a time delay to set this all up, jeopardizing us PZers in not meeting the timeline from the RWQCB.

Linde also suggested spending several years to get the water problem solved first, then include in the vacant lot owners in to the vote to lessen the cost of the project. I'm sure we can see why this would not work.

BOS speaker yesterday, James Wilson in the Monarch Grove tract (83 homes), was not representing MG as a whole when he asked if residents could opt out of the vote or opt out later after the vote passes. Don't these homes have a leach field for their community septic? Isn't the RWQCB stating "no discharge?" Can anyone clarify what he meant?

Shark Inlet said...

Thanks tcg and toons!

For those interested in seeing the meeting, the BOS has the agenda and a windows media file version on their website (see http://slocounty.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=2 ... I chose to "download" the whole thing) ... the Los Osos stuff begins at about 2 hours and 20 minutes into the file. I have yet to watch it ... perhaps more comments after I do.


Toons ... Monarch Grove has a wastewater treatment plant already and their treated wastewater is used on the golf course.

I think the County needs to be careful about Monarch and a few other areas which might want in to a Community plan but might prefer not if the cost is too high. If the vote's already going to be tight, I would think that 83 "no" votes because the upper bound of the estimated cost is above $300 could be a real problem in passing a 218 ... that's nearly 2% of the properties in the PZ ... and we all saw how close the last elections have been.

I think the wisest choice would be to carve them out of the general PZ vote so that even if they all vote "no" that the decision for the rest of the PZ would not be influenced. But, if they voted "yes", they could be included in the community project (assuming that a 218 vote passes). Heck, a vote to include Monarch or not could even happen much later with no negative consequences at all.

Mike Green said...

Sharkey, I was just reading the TAC report, and that very same question was asked in the Exibit "A"
Interesting delimma to be sure! How do you get people to asses themselves for a sewer when they already have one?
If you are right about the 218 being a tight thing then Monarch Grove could concievably tip the scale in favor of no.

Crimeny, dose this illustrate the stupidity of the PZ in the first place or not?

I just hope you are wrong, and that most property owner's by a wide margin vote yes.

And then I want to see some real engagement by everybody for the survey.

And then I want to see the county build whatever wins that survey.

And then I want cargo in the shape of briefcases full of money to come from the Feds.

Shark Inlet said...

Mike Green,

Even if a 218 wins by a large majority, Monarch Grove could be a problem if they were included in the same way as everyone else.

If they would have voted "no" on the question of whether they wanted to pay for a "benefit" they don't actually need, they could easily sue, asking to be excluded. As you suggest, people who don't need a sewer shouldn't be forced into paying for one.

Like I said earlier, if the estimated cost is over $200 per month, they'll likely vote "no" by a wide margin.

On the other hand, because they are in the PZ, they also need to be given the option of participating in the PZ-wide sewer, just like the Martin Tract.

Conspiracy Boy said...

SharkInlet says:

"I just want the cheapest system that meets the real needs of Los Osos. I don't know what your goal is but you seem hell-bent on fighting TriW no matter what your fight costs us."

Well, Mr. Inlet, then I must ask you to insist that the county do what it was supposed to do (by law) after 83-13 and start the septic management plan and/or septic survey and fix only the areas that need to be fixed (clusters or whatever!) Now that's the cheapest solution.

This should have been done so long ago, but obviously the county (and partners in crime, the RWQCB, the State, and Blakeslee) all wanted the big sewer that would force many out of town so the developers could come in and the real estate food chain could begin.

Do you know what grants Avila Beach got and what they pay for a sewer? I heard $14.00 a month because of all the grants...what does that tell ya?

Or, what about the Trib today with the pipeline project (buried story) only one bid going some 60% over????

What does that tell us about our sewer project??? Get ready fools?!

What will the county do when it's over budget, another 218? I've heard that the county already expects our project to go over by $30 million.

What then? How much are you willing to pay (by trusting the county and the process) -- This is indeed a blank check, and turn over your house to the county!

Conspiracy Boy said...

Sharkinlet says: " I was disappointed that I didn't hear Paavo address this idea and explain why we were going with an "all or none" 218 vote."

To address this, I believe that Linde's idea was rejected because it would need a 2/3's vote (which would be impossible to get and they're already worried enought about getting a 50% plus 1)....

Conspiracy Boy said...

SharkInlet:

Oops..I should have read down before responding since others answered your question.

But I've got one: you said, "Toons ... Monarch Grove has a wastewater treatment plant already and their treated wastewater is used on the golf course..."

But didn't the RWQCB say that there be NO discharge whatsoever -- including clean water?

Why were NO questions answered yesterday? Odd...or maybe not...

Shark Inlet said...

Conspiracy Boy ...

Just a quick response to your last two messages and a brief thought on your first (sort of busy now).

It wasn't just the 2/3 issue that would have been a problem, it was also that the vote would have had to be a vote of the residents of the district, not of those who would have to pay the bill. I still sort of like the two-phase approach because even if we pay for CEQA on two projects in parallel it gives us some greater flexibility later to respond to CCC required or RWQCB required changes.

On the issue of Monarch Grove ... I suppose that they have a permit to use treated wastewater for watering a golf course just like the TriW project had obtained a permit to pump water into the ground at Broderson.

So you are partly right ... there are to be no discharges withing the PZ ... even of "clean" water ... unless they are permitted and monitored.

Presumably that is exactly how a decentralized system or even a Ripley system (at least the use of treated water within the PZ to water school playgrounds and the remaining grass at the park) would have been permitted.


Lastly, to your first point ... it seems that you are more willing to put your faith in a private company who is promising to do what no other engineering firm claims is possible and I am more willing to put my faith in the County who has at least gotten several projects to completion. You have a good point about cost overruns ... and because they are primarily due to inflation in construction costs, time is of the essence.

No matter how often people say they want a "sustainable" project (presumably they mean a lower O&M energy cost), if achieving a lower monthly electric and sludge-hauling bill actually costs us more than twice what we're going to be saving ... its not a good idea. Would you spend $70/month to save $20/month? Most of us don't see the wisdom of doing that.

In any case, all the best to you, Conspiracy Boy and good night...

Sewertoons said...

Thank you Shark, I had totally forgotten that their treated wastewater goes to the golf course! This is indeed a sticky wicket. It is a discharge however with nitrates in it. Maybe we need some clarification from the Water Board? I'm glad Mr. Wilson brought up this issue. As they are already paying for this treatment, paying twice would be absurd. Also, if their golf course water is taken away, how do they afford to water the course?

For conspiracy boy - the bids coming in high on the Nacimiento pipeline project, the bid mentioned was for the intake tower at the lake itself. This part is one of the least expensive in the entire project. Intake towers are not built very often by anyone, so there are some unknown costs sure to come up. (See this page for some additional information -- http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/Assets/PW/NacProject/Reports/Bid+Results+-+Spec+1.pdf) This very same bidding jump came in on a similar structure in Northern California. Projects that are commonly done have bids much closer to actual project costs. Do not assume that because the Tri-W project was overbid, that the County will get the same results.

Conspiracy Boy said...

Sewertoons:

The county has already stated that our project was going to go $30 million over and there would have to be another 218 vote, but if that vote failed, then what? The PZ taxpayers say, "Stop the project then?!"

What a mess, what costs are we REALLY LOOKING AT? All public works projects run over budget. This one will too and you can't say otherwise.

It's a blank check. A big IOU MY HOUSE!

The pipeline project article today was just an example. Look at the Santa Isabel project. Look at the most expensive public works project in the country, the Boston tunnel..how much did that go over budget??! (BTW, with the Boston project, they were warned about accidents too...in '97...and look what happened!)

Now do you get my point?

Mike said...

Geez Mr.Conspiracy Boy, you might just as well deed over your home to the County right now and save the aggrivation. Or sell to a Realtor for a couple thousand and move away to some place where you won't have to be so upset all the time. I'm really worried you are going to have a heart attack or stoke. You really should getting out as soon as possible.

Churadogs said...

Mike Green sez:"Crimeny, dose this illustrate the stupidity of the PZ in the first place or not?"

This needs to be printed up in letters about 6' tall and posted all over town.

Shark Inlet said...

Ann and Mike Green,

While the PZ boundary may, indeed, be problematic, your comments got me thinking.

Monarch is technically inside the PZ but because the developer proactively put in a treatment plant for the homes which actually does some good for the aquifer (the use of treated water for irrigating the golf course lowers the demand on our aquifers), the various permitting agencies approved the development.

That Monarch may want to tie into the system doesn't make the PZ a stupid idea. While Monarch does have their own treatment plant, if the cost of a community plant is about same as what they're currently paying, I am sure they would rather go with that system to avoid the possibility that their own treatment plant will break down and need replacement (and what will they do if this happens ... sheesh!).

As the staff report notes, there are essentially four different types of residential properties in the PZ ... currently developed lots with septic but not in the Martin tract ... currently undeveloped lots ... the Martin Tract ... and Monarch Grove. (I think I even got them in order of most to fewest properties!) Each group faces a different cost/benefit analysis with the 218 vote so presumably separate 218 votes should be taken of each group. The Board of Supervisors voted to approve staff plans which bifurcate the vote of developed and undeveloped properties. It is not clear that the Board action on Tuesday allows a separate vote for Monarch and Marin or not. Boy it would have been nice to know the answer to Wilson's question. I suspect that the board action only makes a separate 218 vote for non-developed properties and staff will later come back to them with specifics about the treatment of Monarch and Martin.


Now ... about the PZ definition and whether it is stupid or not. I'll put out there that the definition isn't stupid or ill-founded but that it has had a huge negative impact on the development of a project.

The PZ definition is pretty clearly related to issues which are groundwater quality related. The PZ is defined by density, proximity to groundwater and to the underground geology. The PZ defines the homes which need to clean up their act (so to speak) because it is those homes which currently are the problem. [Note: I am not going to discuss now whether individual homes are polluting or whether the lines should have been drawn in different places.]

The problem with the PZ seems to be largely political. Certainly the definition seems to divide our community into the "poorer" and "wealthier" neighborhoods. This seems to have bred resentment among some who want the "rich" to have to pay just like the "poor". As Mike Green points out, there is also a political mess when folks who aren't as affected by the PZ get to vote on issues which affect others in the PZ greatly.

The problem here is really that the PZ (in theory) matches pollution patterns and is the only group who "needs to" get a sewer and that political dividing lines (CAS9, the LOCSD, the urban reserve line, etc.) and common sense dividing lines (anything on or West of Clark Valley road = Los Osos) don't match the PZ.

Because water quality affects us all, a good argument can be made that those who will benefit (everyone West of the cemetary) should pay. Others can reasonably argue that those who are doing the damage to the aquifer (the PZ only) should pay.

If I were king, I would put in a sewer for all of Los Osos (even out side the PZ ... even out to the Cemetary) and split the construction costs (well, P&I on the bond) evenly, according to the (real, not assessed) value of the property. This portion of the "sewer bill" should be included on the property tax bills. Then, a monthly sewer charge that is in proportion to indoor water usage should pay for the O&M. This is how government services should typically be provided.

With my scheme, folks in Cabrillo would be paying lots more than now ... but the would have a sewer and sewers are good things ... far better than septics for communities of our size and density. Including people outside the PZ won't really lower the bills of folks inside the PZ much if at all, however. Even so, everyone benefits.

The problem with my scheme is one of politics. If the residents of the entire community had to vote on assessing themselves to put in a sewer for the whole town, those outside the PZ would likely vote "no" because the costs are just too high and climbing quickly.

Paavo was right ... the train wreck already happened. It wasn't just the recall or the vote to form a CSD ... the train wreck is the cumulative effect of the County's negligence in the 1970s when approving development willy-nilly and not putting in a sewer then and everything since.

Ultimately, the RWQCB can't expand the PZ without scientific justification, so the problem can't be solved that way. Essentially, we are stuck with the PZ definition and we need to work to avoid thinking that it is the PZ definition that should be fought or argued.

Oh my, this was far too long.

If you made it this far ... please accept my apologies.

4crapkiller said...

Sharky:

Good fair discussion showing all sides of the extremely complex issue. Thank you. It would be nice if the same approach could be taken by Calhoun (who at least lives in Los Osos in the PZ).

Ann:

By the way I came to town last week to inspect my property and was riding around by the Merrimaker. Some guy was walking two really nice looking Basenjis, good, square, and alert. Well groomed. I thought of you and the contrast between these Basenjis and what you write. Nothing like good, square, alert, and well groomed!

Mike Green said...

Sharkey bubbled:

Ultimately, the RWQCB can't expand the PZ without scientific justification, so the problem can't be solved that way.

And since there will be no scientific testing..........

Oh well, you get my point, I was just looking out my front window and wondering where all that horse poop goes just up the hill, and wondering why the test well just downhill from there shows the same nitrate level as ones downhill from me.
Do you need scientific proof that water flows downhill?

Mike Green said...

Shakey bubbled out of both sides of the mouth:

"but that it has had a huge negative impact on the development of a project"

But it's not stupid?

OK, so its goes like this, the PZ has a huge negative impact on the development of a project and that makes it A, stupid, B, well thought out C, in need of revision.

4crapkiller said...

To Mike Green:

Nitrate needs to be removed by anaerobic bacteria. Urine is the original source of nitrate. Water in an aquifer holds lots of oxygen, almost no free nitrogen from air. This is the nature of water.

As soon as nitrate hits an aquifer, the oxygen within the water stops the anaerobic bacteria from working. As a result the two test wells would give the same readings for nitrate. Water does indeed flow downhill.

As to horse poop. Usually it is piled up to compost. To compost properly it needs to be turned and mixed with air. This converts the urine within it to nitrite. As it heats up in the composting cycle, it oxidizes and oxygen is consumed. As a result, the center of the pile becomes an anaerobic area, and anaerobic bacteria reduce some of the nitrate. Not all. However, most of the nitrate stays with the compost pile. That makes it good fertilizer.

Mike Green said...

Crappy, thanks for the farming tip, but what happens to the urine and poop that doesn't get composted?
Aint seen no diapers on ol sparky up there.
And I wonder about slope, you know, the ratio of actual acreage as compared to horizontal footprint, since water soaks in kinda verticle like, seems footprint should determin minimum size for septic use, that is if it can be scientificaly proven that water flows downhill.
I agree, horse manure compost is an excelent way to remove nitrates from the pollution, it also allows greater vegitation in our poor sandy soils, I wonder how my beautiful cypress tree and huge trumpet vines are going to react to no more leech lines?

Conspiracy Boy said...

Mike says: "you might just as well deed over your home to the County right now and save the aggrivation. Or sell to a Realtor for a couple thousand and move away to some place where you won't have to be so upset all the time. I'm really worried you are going to have a heart attack or stoke. You really should getting out as soon as possible."

WHAT ABOUT EVERYONE ELSE THAT CAN'T AFFORD $500 A MONTH, DO THEY MOVE TOO? OOPS, I FORGOT! THAT'S THE PLAN!!

Conspiracy Boy said...

SharkInlet:

You comment: "Ultimately, the RWQCB can't expand the PZ without scientific justification, so the problem can't be solved that way. Essentially, we are stuck with the PZ definition and we need to work to avoid thinking that it is the PZ definition that should be fought or argued."

I saw paperwork from the recalled board where they could decide whether to include Bayridge Estates into the PZ, and they decided to do so. If they had that ability to do that -- why can't it be done now?

Can you explain?

Shark Inlet said...

Conspiracy Boy,

Not having see what you refer to, I cannot comment on it.

My understanding of the PZ is that it is a region determined by the RWQCB and it is based on the same sort of criteria as is used for the permitting of septic systems ... not too many per acre and not too close to groundwater.

Perhaps you saw something that indicated that the LOCSD board could request that the RWQCB expand the PZ or that the Bayridge community septic would be taken over by the LOCSD and that they would be served by a sewer once one was developed.

My question about what you say essentially is this ... if the PZ is defined by the RWQCB, how can a LOCSD action change the boundaries? Sounds like you got a story mixed up somewhere.

Maybe Richard LeGros would be the person who could clear this up.

Conspiracy Boy said...

SharkInlet:

I would like to see what Richard says regarding this: If the prior CSD had the ability to include Bayridge Estates into the PZ -- why couldn't it be done now?

What I read had no mention at all of the RWQCB. It was an old agenda where I saw this info.

Richard? Calling Richard.

Mike Green said...

http://www.edburtoncompany.com/wforest/WASTEWATERFORESTS.pdf

I thought this was interesting.
I was trying to figure out how much nitrate my cyprus removes and I ran accros this, enjoy

Richard LeGros said...

HI all,

Bayridge Estates is already part of the PZ; and was placed there by the RWQCB when the PZ was originally defined.

I think you are refering to the inclusion of the Monarch Grove Subdivision in the waste water project. Monarch Grove, as they are experiencing problems with the operation of their community disposal system, elected to tie into the CSD (Tri-W) waste water project. The decision to tie into Tri-W was decided through an election held by the Monarch Grove property owners(in 2004?). Unfortunately, as the County had not updated its URL (Urban Reserve Line) maps (including Monarch Grove within the URL), the CCC decided to keep Monarch Grove from tying into the Tri-W project (as only properties INSIDE the URL may tie into the project IF THEY ELECT TO DO SO and the CSD VOTES TO ACCEPT THEM.

In closing, the CSD cannot expand the boundries of the PZ...that may only be done by the RWQCB.....but.....the property owners outside the PZ (but inside the URL)may voluntarily join the community project IF THEY ELECT TO DO SO and if the CSD allows them.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Shark Inlet said...

Richard,

Now that it is a County (not LOCSD) project, does the LOCSD really need to approve the inclusion of Monarch Grove? I would think that if Monarch Grove agrees to tie in (because the had agreed earlier to do so) and if the County agreed as well, the CCC wouldn't require the LOCSD to agree as well. (Although why the LOCSD would object is beyond me ... why would they care ... after all, if Monarch wants in and it doesn't cost anyone any more...)

Just one more question for clarification ... are you saying that a few years back, both Monarch Grove and the LOCSD had agreed to let Monarch tie in but that because the County didn't re-draw a line, the Coastal Commission said something like "no, the LOCSD can't serve anyone outside the urban reserve line ... even though these homes are right across the street from homes that would be served and by any reasonable definition, Monarch is as urban as anywhere else in Los Osos"? That sounds like it just flies in the fact of logic ... or if there is a legal reason for the Coastal Commission to say "no way" that the County could be simply asked to expand the URL and the County would move on that without debate.

What's the scoop?

Richard LeGros said...

Hi Sharkinlet,

Your take on actions of the CCC is exactly what happened.

Monarch Grove had elected to tie into Tri-W; the LOCSD agreed and modified it's sewer piping to include Monarch Grove; but the CCC killed the plan because of the oversight of the County to update the URL map to include Monarch Grove. (Rememer that only properties within the URL are able to tie into the system)

Go figure...one would think that as the CCC seeks to protect coastal resources that they would have supported the reduction of pollution by having Monarch Grove abandon their failing ponding system in favor of the Tri-W project.

Anyway, as the County now controls the project, Monarch Grove would have to approch the cCounty if they wish to tie into the County's sewer.....LOCSD involvement is no longer required.

Regards, Richard LeGros

4crapkiller said...

Mike Green:

Excellent article. This is a good idea for communities with plenty of water and a discharge permit for secondary treated water. Better to grow trees than dump into the ocean. I would not be surprised if the chambers used below ground are loaded with anaerobic bacteria to reduce nitrate in the effluent. This would stop the possibility of nitrate burning of roots.

Redwood trees have deep roots as does your cypress. I would not be concerned with your cypress. If you are in a high ground water area in the PZ, chances are the roots of your tree are already into the upper aquifer.

Zorro63 and I have already produced a plan to use septic effluent from a step/steg system to produce sugar cane in lined pits. Sugar cane production is very water intensive.

We would then squeeze the cane, and ferment the juice into ethanol, solar distill it in semi vacuum stills, and use the ethanol to power cars or an electric turbine plant. Of course we could make molassis and then rum. We could actually be drinking some of our sewerage in the form of rum.

We figured the profit could be used to buy state water. In the case of redwoods, the trees could be sold for the same purpose. We never did any sort of profit analysis, and came to the conclusion that a nuclear dirigible (ten miles long) removal system (to Iran) would be
more cost effective for disposal, but never really ran the costs on that either. That was replaced by a mile high tower dispersal system.

Currently we have been working on the magnificent CARP system, but have modified it because of PG-13's concerns with scooping "headless brown trout" from a septic tank and using them for cut bait. He/she really liked our NEW technology and was only concerned with the bait. Sort of accepted it "hook, line, and sinker".

Ain't seen PG-13 since on the blog. Perhaps he/she is reviewing previous concepts.

Well, we have decided not to fish for blind trout using cut bait, and to alieviate concerns, we have decided to let the "headless brown trout" stay and use the purified effluent from the CARP system to grow koi and make Los Osos the "KOI CAPITAL OF THE WORLD".

At this point, the idea is out, and we have nothing else to "float". We await acceptance by the county and CCRWQCB. It is in the same pile as Orenco, Ripley, Pio, Nelson Environmental, etc.

Mike said...

Hi CK, you might want to check on the rootball depth of the redwoods. Redwoods have relatively shallow roots, especially in relation to above ground height. However, those non-native redwoods around Los Osos, might have root depths suitable for significant nitrate conversion. Most significant nitrate reductions would presumably happen if the redwoods are planted in the leach field. A caution might be inorder, redwoods tend to fall over in high winds, especially in sandy soil and the rootball could be as small a septic tank or as large as a house.

Have a nice day and do consult our resident expert CalTrans Botonist.

4crapkiller said...

Mike,

Rootball of mature redwood is 10 to 13 ft deep. No tap root. Thanks.
I do not think this will make a bit of difference to Mike Green.

Sewertoons said...

conspiracy boy said, "I saw paperwork from the recalled board where they could decide whether to include Bayridge Estates into the PZ, and they decided to do so."

Did you see that paperwork in Ms. McPherson's living room by any chance?