THE ONSITE TREATMENT RECLAMATOR SAGA CONTINUES
AES, i.e. Tom Murphy and Mark Low, who are promoting an onsite system via the Reclamator, have now set up a website at www.nowastewater.com , have run a big "No on 218" ad in the local papers, and are communicating with the RWQCB, County and other entities since the Process the county has set up includes examination of “alternative” sytems. The interesting battle now underway will likely be between Mr. Mruphy, the Law, the EPA, the County, a Dictionary, Engineers, and Humpty Dumpty Briggs at the Regional Water Quality Control Board. You recall, it was Humpty Dumpty in “Through the Looking Glass,” that sniffed, “When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
As I’ve noted before, when the Los Osos 45 were being pointlessly hammered, it was fascinating to me to see how the RWQCB began morphing then deleting “words” in their official filings. At first words like “pollution” and “nuisance” and “waters of the State of California” appeared. Soon, they were . . . gone. And all that was left was the word “discharge.” Discharge of . . . what? Who knows? So that’s where Mr. Low & Mr. Murphy and the RWQCB will find themselves – defining words that the RWQCB is free to “disappear” or morph or whatever. They can do this for YEARS until their victim can finally get into a real court to get a real judge to define the word for real. So, herewith an email reply by Mr. Murphy to Supervisor Gibson’s concerns with some of the onsite issues.
I’ll be intrigued to see how those words play out. If the idea is to protect groundwater from “pollution,” and if the Reclamator doesn’t “pollute,” then it’ll be interesting to see what meanings the RWQCB will make up so as to declare that it isn’t legally permitable or if it does need a permit, ensure the permit requirements are so onerous that a community wide sewer would be cheap by comparison, and other fun games.
Meantime, their Reclamator keeps raising Basic Questions, such as, If the PZ and 83-13 is all about not polluting the upper aquifer and IF the Reclaimator doesn't pollute the upper aquifer, WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? Or, is the issue overdraft and salt water intrusion due to over pumping of the lower aquifer and IF the Reclamator allows onsite re-use of treated water so that homeowners don't have to use deep aquifer water to water their petunias, thereby reducing pumping instantly, WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? And IF the Reclamator results in "no pollutant" discharges and reduces water use and can do it all for about 1/2 the price of a community-wide collection and centralized treatment system, then WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? And so forth.
See what I mean? Some clear answers to the above would be helpful BEFORE anyone votes for anything, methinks. Well, as with all things Sewerish, Stay Tuned.
From, Tom Murphy to Mark Low. Sent: Friday, October 12, 2007 3:30 PM
Subject: RE: Bruce Gibson speaks on WATERBOARD
Please find the following addressing the raised concerns from Bruce Gibson last night. We will discuss with Nara as to where it would be appropriate to post these on our site.
“Alternative treatment provider must submit for “permit”.
Correct! Any alternative “treatment” system which “treats wastewater for disposal” still produces “pollutants” and “discharges waste” and is therefore subject to a “discharge permit” requirement so it can “legally” discharge such pollutants. A “permit” is a method of regulatory enforcement which applies to all “treatment” alternatives which still produce pollutants as is defined in the US EPA Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL). The MCLs represent levels of contaminants in water which still are to be considered a threat to public health. The “Reclamator” doesn’t “discharge pollutants” and therefore IS NOT subject to any requirement to acquire a permit to “discharge waste”. The “Reclamator” was specifically designed NOT to discharge pollutants or waste so as to meet the federally mandated requirements to “eliminate the discharge of pollutants” and provides for the maximum degree of effluent (wastewater) reduction as a result. The purified water produced by the Reclamator is a “valuable resource” which contains levels of pollutants which poses no threat to public health. As such, the quality of water produced by the Reclamator achieves a “National Standard of Performance” which is published by the US EPA and is the standard required for public drinking water supplies to meet. This standard is the Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLG) www.epa.gov/safewater/mcl.html#listmcl . In the “Definitions” of the MCLGs at the end of the standard, you will find the following definition: “Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) - The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety and are non-enforceable public health goals.” “Non-enforceable” means “not subject to “enforcement” via a “discharge permit” requirement of a regulatory authority as the purified water produced by the “Reclamator” meets the MCLG standards which are “non-enforceable”. If the water produced by the Reclamator required a permit, then every time anyone wanted to turn on any faucet in their home, they would have to get a permit first.
“Daily monitoring for bacteria and viruses”.
There is no requirement or justification for a requirement to “monitor for bacteria and viruses” of the Reclamator as the result of its Ultra-Filtration membrane technology. In the past, this was a viable concern as all alternative treatment technologies consisted of only a “biological” process technology which is subject to upsets and failures and upon those upsets and failures, would pass untreated wastewater to the environment. However, the UF membrane technology is a “physical” treatment technology and ISN’T subject to any failure that would allow untreated wastewater to pass to the environment, just to the contrary, the UF membrane technology guarantees the water quality and won’t allow any pollutants to come in contact with the environment unless it is of the required quality. No water can pass the UF membrane unless it is of the required quality. This is referred to within the wastewater industry as a “definite barrier” of pollutants. However, monitoring of the Reclamator is still provided 24/7 via wireless network. Service requirements as needed will be communicated to AES via internet immediately, two days prior to any effect to service provided. NO BACTERIA OR VIRUSES CAN PASS THE UF MEMBRANE.
“The Water Board doesn’t see 5,000 systems can be effectively managed”
The Water Board has a “lack of knowledge and understanding” on this matter. The US EPA sees differently. The US EPA Voluntary National Guidelines for Management of Onsite and Clustered (Decentralized) Wastewater Treatment Systems (www.epa.gov/owm/septic/pubs/septic_guidelines.pdf) provides for effective guidelines for efficient methods for management of any number of systems by a Responsible Management Entity (RME). AES is the RME and has adopted Management Model 5 – “RME Ownership” as its management model.
There is no limit to the number of systems which can be effectively managed. There will be central monitoring via internet of all Reclamators and a full time automatic response team in each area large enough to provide service as necessary, it’s that simple. It will be much easier to monitor and service an “appliance” which has an average historical service requirement of once every five years as compared to a waste management company like Waste Management who collects garbage from 5,000 homes (in Los Osos) “every week”. It is only a matter of implementing an “efficient business organization and management” program and practice.
In actuality, the Water Board is a regulatory authority, not a “business” authority. To be very frank, the Water Board has no right or authority to qualify the business capabilities of AES. The Water Board is commissioned by federal law to “promulgate” that such technology as the Reclamator exist. They, as per federal law requirements are obligated to “require” and to “assist” in the implementation of such technology as the Reclamator within their jurisdiction that is capable of “eliminating the discharge of pollutants”, provided it is available and economically achievable, which it is.
Peer Review Request Response
The following emails were received from Noel King and Supervisor Gibson, regarding an email I sent to the BOS and others asking for some sort of formal resolution that Dr. T and the peer review team be formally included in the Process. While there will be no formal “resolution,” the emails makes it clear that it is the County’s intention to include this review in the county’s project timeline and the matter may be discussed at the regular Tuesday, Oct 16th BOS meeting and/or the Oct 23 Vote Protest Meeting. I thank them both for their clarifications.
Thank you for providing your input regarding this particular aspect of ourLos Osos Sewer project process.
We will not be presenting a resolution for our Board's approval on October16 that repeats our intent to use a peer review process headed by Dr. T.
Paavo Ogren is taking a well deserved, and needed, vacation break this week, and the deadline for any agenda item submittals for the Oct. 16 Bd.of Supervisors agenda is this Thursday.
I will tell you now, as we have stated publicly before, the peer reviewprocess is standard procedure for us on large projects, and we understandthat it is critical for the property owners in Los Osos that it occur onthis one.
In our August 14, 2007 Board Agenda item, we submitted our work plan flowsheet for 2008 to the Board for their understanding and commitment to thepeople, and they approved that item unanimously. That work flow sheetclearly lists the peer review function prominently as being planned for thefirst half of the 2008 work schedule.
We have valued Dr. T's input so far in this process, and we have madearrangements for him to head a peer review team for our project if the votepasses.
We can't really state this any clearer. However, I will ask Paavo to makeanother confirming statement at the October 23 Protest Hearing. Hopefully,this helps resolve your concern in this regard. If you would like to discuss this further with me, please feel free to call me @ 781-5252.
Ms. Calhoun,In discussing your request in the office this morning, I realized that I provided a piece of incorrect information below. The deadline for completing agenda items for the October 16 Board meeting was last Thursday,not this Thursday. I was thrown off a bit by the Monday holiday.
The agenda review and the posting has already occurred for the 16th agenda. This Thursday is the deadline for the 23rd agenda.As Supervisor Gibson stated, we will try to once again get this on the record in one of the upcoming two meetings in some fashion, possiblyverbal. I'm not sure how just yet.----- Forwarded by Noel King/PubWorks/COSLO on 10/09/2007 05:09 PM -----
And the following email was received from Supervisor Bruce Gibson on the same issue:
Ann -- As Noel indicates, we are on the record as planning to have peer review at appropriate points in our process. Paavo has spoken to our intent to involve Dr. T in this effort. We were considering creating a memo that covered these points (and our commitment to making this project as affordable as possible), that would have been presented at the BoS meeting on 10/16. We didn't get a chance to draft that memo before Paavo left on vacation this week. Paavo will speak to these issues on 10/16 (no need to wait until 10/23). He will review policies that the Board has previously adopted and show how they cover the concerns that you reference. Please let me know if you have any further questions. I will be holding office hours at Sea Pines this Thursday at 4 PM. Best regards, Bruce
Design Build Workshop
I was out of town on the 10th and so unable to attend this Los Osos Workshop. Herewith a PZLDF press release on the event. I understand that the workshop was taped by AGP and can be viewed on the AGP web site.
Design-Build Option Could Answer the Cost Question For Los Osos Voters
The workshop was well attended and packed the Community Center with 150 or more citizens from all sides of the 218 project vote.
Citizens for Clean Water-Prohibition Zone Legal Defence Fund made it clear that the group does not advocate how to vote, but believes information is vital for an informed vote. The Group is currently holding the enforcement line for the embattled community with the active appeal of the water board enforcement orders in Superior Court. The random enforcement began against individual property owners in the prohibition zone after the 2005 recall. The water board has stated in several meetings that the purpose of the actions is to change the will of the people, and to affect how they vote in the future.
Media, including KSBY 6 and press were in attendance. Five county TAC members were on hand to learn more about the Design-Build-Finance that the County will consider using to lower costs and move the project forward, or also available to the CSD as an option if the 218 vote is protested.
The speakers touted the method's potential for cost savings, time savings, opportunities for innovation and implementation flexibility, reduces duplication, administrative burdens, and shifts the risks from the community. The crowd was most impressed with the distinct benefit of knowing and approving full project costs up front before signing contracts or committing homes in open-ended assessments.
The traditional project delivery system is a design bid build that is a step-by-step, segmented, sequential process in which the owner first contracts for a design professional to prepare a plan, design, and suitable for construction documents. These plans are then used as the specifications to solicit bids. Finally, construction contract is awarded to the responsible low bidder, and usually there is another contract for a professional firm to manage the construction.
Design-Build is one entity that performs both design and construction under a single contract. The award of the contract is based on a competitive process that seeks the “best value” through a qualifications process. Public contract code defines “best value… to include “price, features and functions [and] lifecycle costs.”
The County adopted strategies that include Design-Build on August 14, 2007. This straightforward method to deliver infrastructure projects is supported by California’s Governor and is gaining steam.
The Ripley Team has assembled a highly qualified professional team that is backed by GE financial. The Design-Build-Private Finance delivery model is not new, and has been used successfully for years to build toll roads, as well as large and difficult projects faster and more efficiently than the traditional path. In fact, County has stated the funding may affect price as much as the technology selected.
Incentives for a Design-Build-Finance team to share savings with the community are real advantages to consider. Private financing often provides the flexibility for developing financing strategies unique to the community, such as financing on-lot costs, longer term loans, and life-line rates for disadvantaged individuals.
Design Build offers cost savings, time Savings, opportunities for innovation, and may reduce risk. The community believes this is definitely worth looking at.
Everyone is after a project that is sustainable, affordable, environmentally sound, socially responsible, forward thinking, with an efficient delivery, but most of all, that a “Best Value” project is delivered this time.