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Monday, October 22, 2007

Paradigms, Or Is It Ever Possible To Get Out Of The Box?

The following was part of an email that was cc’ed to me. It was part of an email written by “The Waterguy,” i.e. David Venhuizen, P.E., commenting on a NOWRA international conference in Baltimore last march (http://www.waterforalllife.org/ with various info presented listed under Resource Documents) David’s been writing about water issues for years. His comments should be read by all in Los Osos because the community needs to understand that paradigms and evaluations are only as good as the evaluators involved, that human nature abhors change of any kind, even beneficial change, and that perception, no matter how cockamamie, too often becomes reality.

Busting the Paradigm is a Full-Time Job


It was 18 years ago that the decentralized concept of wastewater management was formally laid out, complete with a set of rather compelling arguments that decentralized concept systems would, in many situations, be more fiscally reasonable, more societally responsible, and more environmentally benign than conventional centralized systems. About 7 years ago, Congress weighed in, saying that decentralized concept systems would be a superior way of addressing wastewater management needs in many settings. Yet today, all around us wastewater system planning is proceeding with no regard for anything except business as usual, for anything except “the Paradigm”.

While the report to Congress listed a number of barriers to proliferation of the decentralized concept, the first stop for any consideration of that problem is at the engineering community—the Keepers of the Paradigm. Highly recommended reading for anyone who wonders why practice in this field does not seem to evolve is a paper written by Australian researcher Sharon Beder entitled Technological Paradigms: The Case of Sewerage Engineering. The abstract of this paper presents a stark overview of our present situation:

“Sewerage engineering practice operates within a paradigm in the sense that the engineering community reached a consensus [early in the last] century that a narrow range of … options would form the basis of its subsequent practice. This consensus prevents serious consideration of alternative technologies … at a time when the paradigm is no longer adequate in a changing environment where sustainability is crucial. A technological revolution is required but is unlikely to emerge from within the sewerage engineering community unless that community recognises that their existing paradigm is inadequate to the needs of the community and the broader environment.”

We see evidence in many quarters that this recognition is lagging. On EPA’s decentralized list-serv, we hear of situations in North Carolina, in Arizona, in Montana, in Alabama, in West Virginia, where citizens are frustrated that very costly conventional centralized “solutions” to their problems are the only options being explored. On the eastern shore of Maryland, we hear of small communities seemingly tailor-made for decentralized concept solutions being offered only the conventional approach by the consultant. In north-central New Mexico, we see planning forging ahead on pipe-it-away “regional” systems in an environment where reuse-focused decentralized concept strategies would seem to be an imperative.

Facility plans for decentralized concept wastewater systems to serve about 30 colonias in the Lower Rio Grande Valley indicated this strategy would cost something like 40% of the estimated costs to either extend sewers from existing centralized systems or to set up new “regional” plants. Despite the magnitude of the potential savings, this study seems to be the best-kept secret in the Valley, completely ignored by all the consulting engineers and wastewater service providers in that area as they plan their “regional” systems.

Here in my own community, the wastewater utility planners have made a very conscious decision not to consider anything except extensions of conventional large-pipe sewers for service to new development areas. This is a region that will face increasingly severe water resources challenges in the coming decades, challenges that can be effectively addressed by moving to decentralized concept water reclamation and reuse systems, rather than funneling ever more long-term investment into water-inefficient centralized systems. In a small community near here, where the water supply issue is very current, the community fathers and their consulting engineer adamantly insist that a conventional, pipe-it-away-and-dump-it system is the only option for an organized wastewater system worthy of their consideration.

What seems to be common to all these situations is a rather complete incognizance of the decentralized concept by the engineers. It is one thing to review the options and then to rationally defend a decision to go with a more costly option, or with an option that does not reflect the long-run economic value of water. It is quite another to refuse to look at certain options at all. As Beder points out, engineers seem to act in this way because they work within the Paradigm, and they all seem to agree that options lying outside the Paradigm do not merit their attention. To have any hope of gaining consideration of those options, one has to meet and defeat the same arguments—that are “rational” only within the Paradigm—on every project. Truly, attempting to bust the Paradigm, to open up the field to better options, is a full-time job.

Certainly there are other factors that must also change in order for the decentralized concept to move into the mainstream, to take its rightful place as a legitimate organizing paradigm for a wastewater management system. But it is clear that for these more fiscally reasonable, more societally responsible, more environmentally benign wastewater systems to proliferate in our society, first and foremost the engineering community must recognize “… that their existing paradigm is inadequate to the needs of the community and the broader environment.”

Humpty Dumpty Speaks, Sort of

The following email exchange was bounced over to me by someone from the “Reclamator” team. Apparently somebody had emailed that group for more technical information on the “Reclamator.” (Both the county and the RWQCB have requested lots more detailed info. Don’t know if they’ve received it yet. ) I’m not an engineer, nor do I play one on T.V. so I make no claims for any onsite system or about anything written in these emails posted here, BUT, what I did find interesting in item # 6 is something I have always found attractive about onsite systems in general.

If the homeowner screws up his system from misuse, he alone is responsible for its repair. In community wide collection and treatment systems, the whole community has to pay for abuse done by certain individuals, i.e the overall cost for a community wide treatment system is high just so it can treat and handle illegally dumped motor oil, other illegally dumped toxins and drugs poured down the toilet, (or into a collector storm drain in the dead of night, as has happened in other cities), cigarette butts, diapers, icky unmentionables and toxic crud of all sorts, whatever crap people want to dump because they’re too lazy to recycle or dispose of things properly & etc. Everyone pays a higher cost to fix the messes caused by the wastewater system abuser. With onsite systems, however, there’s a much more elegant solution: YOU dump crap down YOUR septic system that “kills” it, then YOU get to pay for the damage and repair, not your neighbor.

[response to email below]



Hi *****,

I really appreciate you questions. Obviously, you are in the industry in one way or another.

One of the reasons I haven’t gone into depth on “technology description” is due to the fact that I am no “selling” the system, but only the service of eliminating the discharge of pollutants at the source. You wil be able to educate yourself on the biological process technology of the Reclamator by going to the old website, http://www.aeswastewater.com/. This site explains the technology quite well and is geared toward educating the engineering community.

Again, we are not selling the Reclamator. I own the Reclamator which I utilize to provide the service of “eliminating the discharge of pollutants” at the source through entering into an agreement with the homeowner much like the cable company, gas company or garbage company. We all own our components which are required to provide the services. For that reason, I haven’t really put much effort into educating the public as to the technical aspects of it as it is about as technical as a gas meter and who really cares how the gas meter works as long as they get the gas through it.

I will answer your questions below and if you wish to have anymore information, please contact me direct at 775-848-8800. I would be curious as to why you have such a great interest in the Reclamator.


Tom Murphy

[Question from original email inquiry]
I am particularly interested in seeing the information you intend to place on the "Technology Description" page on your web site. Presently I only get a "Page Not Found" message when trying to link to that page.

Specific items of interest include:

1. What is the specific biochemical process in the Tertiary Bio React Zone.
The biological process a continuous feed cyclic reactor (CFCR), not an SBR. It is an intermittent decant extended aeration (IDEA) process which I developed in 1988 which is superior to the conventional continuous process and batch processes. I currently hold several patents on this latest biological process, both in the US and additionally international.

2. This appears to be a batch type extended aeration process.
I understand that is the first assumption as not many know of the new innovative biological process technology, however, it is not an SBR, nor conventional extended aeration. As I explain the basic difference, the IDEA CFCR is a single basin complete mix process which accommodates influent flow on a continuous bases, provides for inherent nitrification and denitrification, liquid/solids separation and ultra filtration (UF) water purification decant which produces a permeate which meets the MCLG standard for treated drinking water, “a non-enforceable public health goal.” It takes the “BS” out of the SBR. It isn’t batch nor sequential, but rather continuous and cyclic.

3. What are the air input volumes and contact times used.
As the IDEA CFCR is a extended aeration process, the same design criteria is used in the design of the Reclamator. As the total volume of the Reclamator is 1500 gallons, the contact time of a 250 gpd flow would be a 144 hour detention time, well over a sludge age of 1000 days; this is why the Reclamator produces such a low volume of sludge. With over a 20 year track record, it has proven, with typical use, it only has to be wasted an average of every five years.

4. Where are the air pumps located?
The little diaphragm compressor is typically located near the house; however, we have some located within the riser of the reactor. It is extremely flexible as to the location of the compressor. Lately, we locate it inside an irrigation box beside the foundation of the house at the electrical connection.

5. What process is going on in the Pre React Zone?
The Pre React Zone is a primary react zone. The process is an anaerobic process which serves to reduce the total organic load, prepare the phosphorous for absorption and trap all inorganic waste products. It additionally serves as a source of carbon which feeds into the Pre React Zone during each decant so as to initiate controlled, consistent denitrification.

6. What limits are there on the influent quality in terms of waste from garbage disposals, clothes washing detergents, water softener backwash effluents, etc?
There are no limits on the influent quality as long as it is domestic household wastewater. The Reclamator has demonstrated itself to handle all domestic wastewater flows and strengths, even without the Primary React Zone. However, due to the fact that AES is totally responsible for all management of the Reclamator as a part of the service provided, we have designed the Reclamator with the Primary React Zone so as to provide an extremely hearty facility which allows for a very long period between service requirements. We haven’t experienced any downsides with clothes washing detergents nor water softener backwash effluents. The only effect the waste from the garbage disposal has is cause shorter periods between service requirements; this is why the client pays for the wasting as the use of the Reclamator is directly related to how often it needs service.

If a “user” puts anything down their drain which is not compatible with the Reclamator, such as used motor oil, etc., the Reclamator will signal AES (or anyone else who wants to be notified, even any authority who wishes to monitor also) via Wi-Fi and we will respond, service it and bill the client for the service as a “System Abuse” charge. You may see information on this in our “531” Proposal on our site.

8. What are the electrical service requirements in terms of voltage and amperage?
The Reclamator operates on 120 volt service just like most other household appliances. Both the compressor and the effluent discharge pump draw less than 5 amps.

8. What are the normal power demands in terms of wattage?
The Reclamator operates on approximately one KWH per day.

9. Are critical components such as the Effluent Discharge Pump, level sensors, and control hardware redundant?
Not in a single family application. We have found the components to be extremely reliable with an average of a 10 year life expectancy and the Reclamator is monitored 24/7 via wireless and Wi-Fi communication which sends a report every four hours which will tell us how many gallons of water we have produced and if the Reclamator needs any service plus the Reclamator has a reserve capacity of 48 plus hours; therefore, there is no justification for redundancy within the Reclamator.

10. In the event of system failure and the need to use the Emergency Bypass, what is the proposed disposal method for this discharge?
Into the existing drainfield which is currently receiving septic effluent now. It beats the ocean or estuary which would receive the discharge from a conventional publicly owned centralized sewer facility. However, keep in mind; we will receive a notice of service requirement BEFORE the system even starts to bypass. There is no problem which cannot be resolved with a matter of less than an hour service call. Even the bypass effluent is of a tertiary quality of less than 5/5/5 BOD/TSS/TN.

On a final note, the UF membrane is a “definite barrier” to pollutants, i.e. virus, pathogen and fecals. The UF membrane is designed to interface with a TSS level of 50 parts per million (ppm) continuously and only interfaces with less than 5 ppm in the Reclamator application. The UF membrane also is designed with a FLUX rate which provides for it to flow 5,000 gallons per day (gpd) when in the Reclamator application it only flows up to 500 gpd. No pollutants can bypass the UF membrane, thus eliminating the need or justification for any continuous testing or effluent monitoring of the system as the physical treatment technology is not subject to variation as the system would be if it were only biological. Any equipment or process failure which would cause any degradation of the substrate to the point it would not permeate pass the UF membrane, we will receive a high level notification. We will simply respond, initiate the repair and get the Reclamator back on line. As I said earlier, we have 20 years with this system which has given us a tract record of reliability. All components used within the Reclamator are of commercial grade and are the very same components used within the municipal and industrial systems, i.e. diffusers, float switches, and pumps.


Tribune? You’re Years Too Late and Gazillions of Dollars Too Short.

Sorry, Trib, but your crocodile tears in today editorial come waaaayyyy too late. If you had been doing the watchdog job you should have been doing years ago, this sewer train wreck would never have happened. For years, Ron Crawford over at http://www.sewerwatch.blogspot.com/ has laid down a complete trail of breadcrumbs that anyone, even a myopic newspaper editor, could have followed, breadcrumbs that kept leading to the kind of provocative, investigative journalism that newspapers are supposed to be doing. Instead, for years, you ignored those questions, ignored the evidence and documents in front of your faces, (even when they were posted on Ron’s website in pdf form, to be read by anyone,) and instead simply turned into cheerleaders or spinmeisters. It’s been a disgraceful performance, so, plluuueeeze, spare Los Osos your electioneering (today’s last minute sidebar with bold sub-heads, “Last chance to ward off individual fines” . . . . Awwwww my Gawwwwwddd we’re all gonna die in the streets like dawgs! ) and your phony crocodile tears this late in the game.

Protest Vote Tuesday, Oct 23, BOS

2 p.m. in the BOS chambers. Vote count, Wednesday, Oct 24, at the county clerk’s office.

The following Protest Ballot/Letter was e-mailed around as just one example of some of the reasons various people are protesting this assessment ballot. I’ve removed any names, since some members of the community and certain anonymous people posting on this blogsite (since 86ed by me) had “threatened retaliation” if people voted “no.” What’s important here isn’t “who,” but “what,” and that is the general content and the concerns being presented. They’re serious ones and ones both the County and State and Feds need to be aware of and deal with them, since failure to solve these concerns may well end up causing another train wreck.

[one] Ballot/Assessment ProtestWe. XXXXX (Assessment #24**) and XXX (Assessment#24**) protest the assessment on APN 038-***-***.



We object and protest for the following reasons:Concerning our votes, we were subject to intimidation and coercion bythe SLO County Board of Supervisors, the CCRWQCB and Ca. Rep. SamBlakeslee by their statements and actions leading up to this ballotassessment. (Most notably, the CDO's and the RWQCB's refusal to vacatethese orders.



Also, the RWQCB's threat to issue blanket CAO's to theentire Prohibition Zone if the 218 assessment failed).We fear possible retaliation and/or harassment by the CCRWQCB andprivate individuals due to the public disclosure of our vote. The SLOCo. BOS has refused to make our vote private, despite repeated requeststo do so. They have stated that they believe that they are unable to doso under law. We believe they are mistaken.



We object to the ballot itself, believing it has technical flaws that effect our voting decision and the outcome.We believe the SLO County's process leading up to the assessment balot was flawed.



The assessment ballot is being decided prior to thedetermination of what Project we will have (i.e. design, location,technology) or its final cost.



SLO County has refused to conduct an EIRaccording to CEQA guidelines prior to the 218 assessment and thus deprives us of the information we need to make an informed choice on ourballot.



The SLO County's process using the Technical Task Force to evaluate the County's "Fine Screening Report"--the basis for the Engineer's Report--was biased and flawed in many ways and did notprovide an adequate analysis which would allow us an educated vote.



There was no independent, objective peer review of the "Fine ScreeningReport" prior to the 218 assessment vote.



This 218 assessment and total project costs are unaffordable."Unaffordable" means we would have to leave our home of 25 years.Others are also in this same situation---e.g. many seniors who havelived in Los Osos longer than we have. The socio-economic diversity ofLos Osos would be permanently and negatively impacted, and this iscontrary to law.



The Public Utilities Code does not allow public works projects to cost in excess of 20% of the assessment value of the property in the District(the Prohibition Zone). We believe the proposed viable project alternatives (and certainly the Tri-W project) exceed this amount and so is unlawful.To drive residents from their homes for a sewer project such as the one proposed, is both immoral and illegal under Ca. Government Codes.



The Prohibition Zone (PZ) is being singled out from the rest of Los Osos to pay for a "special benefit" that the entire community will benefit from.The PZ is being singled out from the rest of Los Osos to pay for more than its fair share of "general benefits". The next assessment or charge for these "general benefits" is unknown at the time of this 218 assessment vote.



We protest a lack of Environmental Justice as ordered in the Ca.Government Codes.



We object to being prohibited by the CCRWQCB from considering an on-sitewastewater treatment system as a possibility, and we demand our rights under AB 885 to consider an on-site system.



We object that a design-build option under Government Code #5956 and also the design-build-finance option has not been included in the options analyzed by the SLO County LOWWP team prior to the 218 assessment ballot.



We object to the SLO County process that will require further assessment, the results of which we will have no control over.



We object to taking on the financial burden of the LOWWTP that was the obligation of SLO County for many years and they failed to build the LOWWTP, as required. We object that SLO County allowed over 1,000 newhomes to be built in the Los Osos PZ since the 83-13 order by the CCRWQCB (and the 1988 building moratorium) which has made our water and sewer situation worse. We object that SLO Co. never implemented order83-12, as required by the RWQCB, regarding septic tank maintanence.



We object to the electioneering done by the Co. BOS and its staff, the CCRWQCB and its staff and the Tribune newspaper. The level of misinformation/disinformation, threats and fear-mongering have tainted the 218 assessment which is supposed to be a fair and uncoerced voting process.



We object to the specific order by the CCRWQCB which states that the LosOsos Prohibition Zone must comply with their "Zero discharge order"which requires all residences and businesses in the PZ to cease all discharge by 2011. (Previously, the RWQCB santioned the construction of a wastewater treatment plant in the PZ which allowed 7 mg per liter of nitrates to be discharged at the Broderson leachfield site---hardly"zero discharge".



Numbers, Gimme Them Ol’ Time Numbers, Gimme Them Ol’ Time Numbers, They’re Good Enough For Me.

The Trib editorial states that as of that writing, “40 percent of the eligible voters have not cast their ballots.” That’s an interesting number, if correct, because in the original mini-assessment of 2001, was it?, 40 percent didn’t bother to return their ballots either. If that percent holds now, then I think it would be safe to say that when it comes to assessments, 40 percent of Los Osos is permanently out to lunch.

My guess on this vote? A guess only? Because the votes were “weighted,” and because the Big Lie that this town was nothing but a bunch of “Anti-Sewer Obstructionist Urine Swilling Moonbeam McSwines” was ALWAYS just that, a big lie, I’m guessing that a “Yes” majority was achieved a few weeks after the ballots were initially mailed out (not that there’d be any way of verifying that unless the ballots are time-stamped as they come in?) It’s also my guess that a few years ago, if that post-recall “October Compromise” had been put to a 218 vote, it would have been the same: Yes, keep laying pipe, move the plant out of town, get going. Which means all the RWQCB’s ACL, CDO stupidities and Taxpayer Watch lawsuits, dissolution attempts and other Medean idiocies that ensued were totally unnecessary and should never have happened. That’s my guess anyway. What’s yours.

Tick, tick, tick, tick……

26 comments:

Ron said...

Great information, Ann. Los Osos is lucky to have you.

Ann wrote:

" Instead, for years, you (the Trib) ignored those questions, ignored the evidence and documents in front of your faces, (even when they were posted on Ron’s website in pdf form, to be read by anyone..."

That's true, but what the Trib did (or, more accurately, DIDN'T do) in 2000 is the one that just kills me, and it is directly responsible for the Los Osos disaster. That's when I wrote my first New Times cover story that showed that the Solution Group's "better, cheaper, faster" plan -- the plan that got the LOCSD formed in the first place in 1998 -- was going down the drain, just like a bunch of water quality professionals predicted before the 1998 election, and the Trib NEVER -- and I mean to this day -- NEVER wrote one word on that massively newsworthy story, despite the fact that there was a New Times cover story, sitting on their desks, showing exactly why that project was never going to work, and one month after that story was published, that project was officially down the drain, and the Trib NEVER wrote one word of follow-up.

At this link, I wrote:

---
The Trib did not write one word of follow-up, ever, to this day. Zero.

Unfortunately for Los Osos, that did two huge things. 1) It didn't expose the Solution Group's plan as the pure campaign material that it was (and if it had, they would have been run out of office in 2000, the Tri-W fiasco would have never happened, Los Osos would have an out-of-town sewer plant, and this blog would not exist today), and 2) It gave the impression that everything was fine at the Los Osos Community Services District, so the community -- along with the Trib -- just kind of went to sleep. Why not? "Hey, 'better, cheaper, faster,' baby. Right on. Make it happen." However, in reality, the CSD was in complete disarray in August, 2000, as they scrambled to figure out how they could quickly and quietly produce a viable second sewer project, at the same location, after wasting almost two years chasing their unviable-from-the-start first project.

In my last post, I said that I had a phrase to describe the Trib's coverage of Los Osos over the last seven years: "Worse than nothing." And I mean that... it would have been far better for Los Osos if the Trib had not written a single word on this subject from 2000 - 2005. Their uninformed reporting was terrible.
---

Pandora isn't the #1 reason for the Los Osos mess, the Trib is. She may have used them as a "tool" to push her agenda through, but it was up to them, as journalists, to see through it. They didn't.

And then, to make matters SO much worse, they also never reported on "bait and switchy" (and the irony there is that it was one of their own reporters that caught that quote in 2004, yet, the Trib, to this f-ing day, can not tell you why Commissioner Potter said that), or the fact that a small, nonsensical, ridiculous little public park found in the Tri-W project was the ONLY reason to site the second project at Tri-W, after their first project failed, and that ridiculous little park, due to the fact that it was locking in a mid-town location, was adding some $30 million to the project because of all the extra technology neede to make the mid-town location "urban compatible."

If the Trib had done their job, trust me, I would have never wrote another word on the subject after my first NT cover story... because there would have been no reason to.

Why did I write ANOTHER NT cover story and then start a blog on the subject? Because the Trib failed miserably in their role as "watchdog." Had they done their job, SewerWatch would have never happened. Pisses me off.

The Trib: Worse than nothing.

Ann wrote:

"Which means all the RWQCB’s ACL, CDO stupidities and Taxpayer Watch lawsuits, dissolution attempts and other Medean idiocies that ensued were totally unnecessary and should never have happened. That’s my guess anyway.

Totally unnecessary.

I read recently where Director Cesena said that those involved with the previous CSD Boards will never let the current board succeed. That's true, and disgusting.

Shark Inlet said...

Ron,

What about the failure of you and Ann, our resident muckraker/commentators to thoroughly investigate the claims of the CCLO/LOTTF/move-the-sewer/recall crew? Had you and Ann not failed in your task, we would likely have been saved from a very costly recall.

Your creepy incessant self-promoting misses the key point that the most recent Los Osos mistakes were easily avoidable and that too many people were not thinking clearly when the backed the candidates who promised them an out of town sewer for half the cost of TriW.

If you were actually a practicing journalist and not promoting the recall cause so strongly (do you get paid to do what you do by some "move the sewer, no matter how much it costs" advocates?) you might have been able to save us from ourselves.

Ron, you are one of the reasons the Los Osos mess is so bad. If you're a gonna fault the Trib for ignoring some of details and if you're a gonna claim to be a journalist yourself, you have no justification for ignoring details that have been pointed out to you many times by many folks.

Mike said...

My God.... The current CSD is a full TWO YEARS into their term and are they still so screwed up that they have to blame the old Boards for the current failure of this CSD... THINK for once RONNIE...!!!!

Are you saying that the previous Boards were so almighty powerful that they have hog-tied and castrated this CSD...???

WOW RONNIE, you better do a whole lot better than quote someone so inept that he has not been able to clean house in 24 long months...??? If that be the case, then the previous Board must have been pretty damn powerful and we should still have their power working for the community...!!!!!

Mike Green said...

Ann, its pretty simple, as long as the RWQCB is the enforcing agency responsible for the laws of California being complied with, and there are no provisions outside of federal lawsuit to change things, the Reclamator is a false hope.
Everyone should read the letter to Mark Low and co. from the Water board to them and posted at the County's website at:
www.slocounty.ca.gov/PW/LOWWP.htm

The Reclamator's chances of being approved are now less than a snowball's chance in hell.

What will be interesting is to see what they try if the 218 passes.

I've already guessed a 60% turnout with a yes vote winning (typical asleep Los Osans)

Mike Green said...

As far as protests go, put this one first:
We object to the specific order by the CCRWQCB which states that the LosOsos Prohibition Zone must comply with their "Zero discharge order"which requires all residences and businesses in the PZ to cease all discharge by 2011. (Previously, the RWQCB santioned the construction of a wastewater treatment plant in the PZ which allowed 7 mg per liter of nitrates to be discharged at the Broderson leachfield site---hardly"zero discharge".

Yep, win this ONE protest and all the others become moot.
Chances of winning? My guess (And I'm almost never wrong) is ZERO.
The ability of the RWQCB to set standards and regulate permits has already been adjudicated.

Mike said...

You be the judge... are the "businessmen" behind the Reclamator people you want to do business with...???


"Why do you continually resist the ONLY viable technological solution and beat “dead” horses?

What is it you obviously don’t understand about “BEST AVAILABLE DEMONSTRATED CONTROL TECHNOLOGY” is the ONLY viable and compliant option and of which Pio’s system IS NOT?

Why do you continually suggest the county process could be a “clean process” when it is in violation of federal law, the Law of the United States , the US Code Title 33, Chapter 26?

You were the reason the CSD didn’t embrace the only viable alternative two years ago and are continuing to be a “kink in the works” today. It is my belief the result of that bad decision on your part helped to put the CSD into bankruptcy when they had an opportunity to receive 1) the solution, which would have been being completed by now, 2) several million dollars to their benefit, and 3) a monthly revenue stream of upwards of $50,000 or even more if they entered into a Public Private Partnership arrangement with AES.

Why don’t you do the citizens of Los Osos a big favor and just get out of the way. You obviously won’t lead them in the RIGHT direction or follow and support the ONLY viable, compliant and economical alternative?

Do you have an agreement or understanding with the County and/or the Water Board to continue this mission of mass confusion in effort to get a “YES” vote in hopes of moving forward with the County project? You, as a process operator of the highest level, are very capable of understanding the technology of the RECLAMATOR as compared to all others offered and what advantages it will bring to the Community. What do you have to gain by this continual effort to promote mass confusion through promoting NON-viable/NON-compliant options? If you have NOTHING to gain, it would better serve the Community if you were to just get out of the way.

I suggest for you reading pleasure today, you consider ABSORBING the attached Briggs response letter so as to convert your ignorance to awareness and understanding on behalf of the people who are looking to you for advice. Please find it attached. NOTE: All references to the law are linked for your viewing pleasure and please stop by www.wastewater.com for a continuing educational experience."

....Gail's response:

"Mr. Murphy,

Please forward this response to those you copied on your email. I am not sure why you are attacking me.

The Citizens for Clean Water- Prohibition Zone Legal Defense Fund does not -and will not take a position on the assessment vote. We have stood against blind Yes or No votes, intimidation and fear. CCW-PZLDF has compiled questions and requests and forwarded these to the lead agency, which is the County.

CCW-PZLDF does not endorse systems or solutions, but provides information to the community. Mark Low (ecofluid) is but one of those who has brought information on possible solutions.

As for you take on history, you are clearly mistaken concerning me, and it is unfortunate you believe your email can be helpful to your cause.

CCW-PZLDF has not taken a position to endorse any company's technology or service. However, I personally have sufficient professional experience and credentials to make sound recommendations, and have served in this capacity on many industry panels and boards.

A temper tantrum, distortion of facts, and hurling insults at me does little to promote your "product/service" It seems your frustration with the water board is misplaced.

Please refrain from sending me any more of your rude emails.
Gail "

Mike Green said...

Gail. you go girl.
I do have to add the first espam I got from Mark had a confidential message from Gail, I told Mark to delete me from his mass letters and that I found the breach of confidentiality troubling.
He replied that nobody can expect confidential messages on the web. He may be right about that, but I know I wont trust them.

Mike said...

...and the mantra for today's "Protest Hearing".....


We want a sewer...just not that one.
We want a process...just not that one.
We want a 218 vote...just not that one.


Ah the life of the sewer protester just keeps on ticking....

tick, tick, tick....

Shark Inlet said...

Mike,

You forgot three.

We want clean water ... just not if it involves anyone but the 20 of us having any input

and

We want a solution ... just one that costs more than $100/month

and

We don't mind enforcing water code ... just not inside the PZ.

Area51 said...

We demand a 218 vote, just not a public one....

We object to "better, cheaper, faster." We prefer "We have a plan. $100.00 a month. We won't get fined. We're ready to go."

We object to fear-mongering, unless it is us doing the mongering.

We object to a free press.

We object to Matt Thompson's age. And his hair.

We object to the 6 million dollar release of the illegal SRF loan. Wait. We liked that. Never mind.

We object that "Three Blocks Downwind" did not win a Pulitzer.

We object to getting flipped off while standing on the corner with a "Don't know-vote no" sign and a "Don't Tread on Me" flag.

We object to a sewer on general principles that no one should be able to tell us what to do. Ever. We are Los Osos. And don't forget it.

Churadogs said...

Ron sez:"In my last post, I said that I had a phrase to describe the Trib's coverage of Los Osos over the last seven years: "Worse than nothing." And I mean that... it would have been far better for Los Osos if the Trib had not written a single word on this subject from 2000 - 2005. Their uninformed reporting was terrible."

Couldn't agree more. There were some critical points where the train tracks could have been changed, without any wrecks happening, but for that to happen, the community needed to be 1) paying attention because the Tribune 2) brought to their attention certain, uh, issues that needed their attention. That didn't happen. The result you see before you.

Inlet sez:"What about the failure of you and Ann, our resident muckraker/commentators to thoroughly investigate the claims of the CCLO/LOTTF/move-the-sewer/recall crew? Had you and Ann not failed in your task, we would likely have been saved from a very costly recall."

You STILL don't get it, do you? Please go back and read the dozens of columns I wrote, so many of them headed, "Oh Loooocy, jooo gotta lotta 'splaining to doooo," What about that headline don't you seem to get? The title alone would/should alert even a dim bulb reader to the blatantly obvious message -- PAY ATTENTION, THERE'S SOMETHING GOING WRONG HERE. Sorry, Inlet, but you're trying to blame the wrong messengers for the failure of you and others in the community to pay attention and go ask the kinds of questions that needed asking before it was too late.

Some anonymous poster on this site, over a year ago, I think, nailed it on the head: If 1,000 people had showed up before the old board or the Coastal Commission or the State Water Board or the County Planning and demanded the plant be moved out of town, or the CC permit pulled, or the $40 unsecured loan be stopped, it's likely that would have happened, or at the very lease, some serious second looks would have taken place. But nobody showed up. They were all asleep, so the only ones who came to point out the train wreck ahead were a tiny handful of the same people AND THEY COULD BE DISMISSED AS A TINY MINORITY OF ANTI-SEWER OBSTRUCTIONIST LOONIES, PAY NO ATTENTION TO WHAT THEY ARE TELLING YOU, IGNORE THE MESSAGE, DISMISS THE MESSENGER. Recipe for disaster.

Mike Green sez:"Gail. you go girl.
I do have to add the first espam I got from Mark had a confidential message from Gail, I told Mark to delete me from his mass letters and that I found the breach of confidentiality troubling.
He replied that nobody can expect confidential messages on the web. He may be right about that, but I know I wont trust them."

Alas, we've been engaged in a type of warfare, often played out by "anonymous" people, so there is limited "ethical" standards in play, which is too bad. One thing folks have to ask themselves continuously when reading all this stuff or hearing all this stuff is, What is the POINT of the "attack?" Is it a fair one? i.e. somebody has their facts or figures wrong and so can be legitimately criticized. Or someone deliberately "signal jamming" so as to deliberately mislead and lie? Or is it an "attack" out of fear? If so, Fear of what?? Is it simply a personal vendetta, something that has no relation to anything real, just some internal bugaboo or weird obsession at work in the mind of the "anonymous" attacker? Or some weirdo Medean revenge game being played out, i.e. I'll show them, heh-heh? And, of course, be wary of "anonymous" anything since people lacking the courage of their own convictions aren't really worth paying serious attention to in the first place since, being "anonymous," they're totally unreliable as a source of anything.

Also, it helps when commening on this blogsite, to keep your targets identified. Using a generalized "you" is simply confusing. You . . . who? & etc.

Shark Inlet said...

Yes, Ann, we ought to pay attention because there is something wrong in Los Osos.

Those who promoted the recall which appears to have been a financial disaster are still talking as if they are the wise and the rest of us dumb. The problem I have with that is before the recall election, many stood up to point out the likely impact of an attempt to "move the sewer" and these "wise" among us ignored the very real question of the cost of the action they were advocating.

Such actions are not new, however.

What is wrong with the situation in Los Osos is that the independent journalists and those who consider themselves to be wise enough to add to the public discourse by writing columns on the subject were no better than the rest of the "move the sewer" folks. They refused to consider the question "how much will it cost us?" and because the public was presented a biased and slanted picture, the public did not know enough to vote down the recall.

Face it, when you "jooo gotta lotta splainin to doooo" about only the actions of folks named Stan, Richard and Rose and you refuse to step up and call into question the actions of those who claimed to have a ready to go $100/month plan, it is imposing your bias on the dialog.

Would it be fair for me to list off all the bad things about one group and all the good things about another? By doing so you could make the Nazis look good and the Allied forces look like monsters during the early 1940s.

Real life is complex. A refusal to deal with key aspects of the complexity is a failure on your part, Ann.

I would not be so harsh in my tone if it had not been for the criticism of the Trib by you and Ron. The Trib has been consistently more factual and more insightful when thinking through the big picture issues than anything I've seen here on on his Blog.

Mike Green said...

Sharkey in a feeding frenzy bubbled:
I would not be so harsh in my tone if it had not been for the criticism of the Trib by you and Ron. The Trib has been consistently more factual and more insightful when thinking through the big picture issues than anything I've seen here on on his Blog."

Bullshit!

I have learned more and have been directed to more complete and comprehensive opinion and documentation on this blog than the TRIVIAL ever rendered. Case in point--- YOU.

Nope, never saw an opinion piece with anything in the Triv. by "Sharkinlet"
Even now, AT THE LAST MINUET they are writing articles explaining the 218 vote, NOW???! W.T.F?
Ann and Ron are right. The Triv. well... has sucked as far as Los Osos goes.
And That is MY opinion

Mike said...

Screw the LO sewer problems... even the rants of the protesters mean NOTHING... NOTHING compared to the fire storm south of us...

People in Los Osos are spoiled and at least have homes tonight... just build the damn sewer.... it no longer matters who is right or wrong... we need the sewer, we don't need any more cry baby obstruction....!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mike Green said...

Easy now mike, we all, I'm sure, are praying for our neighbors south.
I do understand.

Area51 said...

I don't know Mike Green. All this moaning about the Trib is just.....moaning I think. It's just a local paper, and there ain't a local paper in this county that people don't complain about. Hell, there's not a national paper that people don't think is biased against their viewpoint, whatever that may be.

Bo Cooper today protested on the idea that people weren't informed enough. He implied the county didn't disseminate enough information, that oh sure, everyone in that room today at the BOS meeting protesting was well educated in sewer ways, but the general population wasn't. The asshole's implication was loud and clear: anyone who voted for the 218 was dumb and uninformed.

If people in our voting public, on a local or state or national level, depend on their represntatives or local paper to keep them infomed, God help us all. I surely don't blame every paper that endorsed Bush for president for all this counry's many ills on his watch. I blame the people who refused and/or were too lazy to research for themselves and make educated decisions. (twice) Blaming local newpapers is too easy. (By the way, if the Trib endorsed a no on 218 vote, the obstructionists would be lauding the paper as the greatest in the world).

Ron said...

Wow, that Hedges story just keeps getting better, huh?

Yin:

“Hedges and Bolts knew… that their outrageous conduct would…destroy Hoving’s career with the Sheriff’s Department as well as his future as a marketable law enforcement executive,” the lawsuit stated.

“Their conduct reflects utter contempt, disdain, hatred, animosity and ill-will toward a fellow executive.”


Yang:

"We, the members of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff-Coroner's Department, recognize that our goals must transcend through each bureau, division and unit in order to provide the intended organizational guidance. The result will be a refined structure in which all personnel are aware of the defined objectives to meet our mission statement and comply with our stated values."

Gotta go...

Shark Inlet said...

I think it fair to say that Bo is pretty close. The bulk of those voting are less informed than the typical person commenting here. There are some subtle issues that the County information does not present clearly enough. For example, Julie Tacker pointed out that should the actual costs be higher than $25k per home, the County will do something to cover those extra costs. If not a grant, perhaps an additional assessment but if not an additional assessment, a higher monthly sewer bill.

This is not a surprise to us, but it would be to many who don't read carefully.

The problem here isn't, however, the County's lack of information but the massive amount of misinformation provided by one side or the other. If, for some reason, the "move the sewer, no matter what it costs" group has encouraged folks in town to doubt the County and to trust the guy at the microphone saying "the RWQCB is an illegal organization" or some such nonsense, there will be confusion.

I've heard many claim that the assessment is for $60k or $70k yet it is not. The best explanation they have is that if we buy in for a quarter, we'll feel obligated to buy in for additional assessments or higher fees. While this may be technically true, there is no justification for this number. Even if the County is way off in terms of the inflation rate and time to completion. No careful analysis of costs, inflation and time to completion has been done.

What is funny is the same folks who are so darn willing to tell us that the County costs are going to rise dramatically are the folks who are telling us that there is a much cheaper way ... also without any cost analysis.

Again, had *any* of the actual or self-proclaimed members of 5th estate actually contacted someone with expertise in cost projectsion for large projects, we would likely not be where we are today. Had the Tribune or especially Ann and Ron pointed out that the "move the sewer, no matter how much it costs" group were advocating a cost increase of up to 70% over TriW, people would not have voted for the recall. Instead, the folks who could have looked into the question of whether there really was a $100/month plan and whether that plan was realistic and whether the $100/month was a number even comparable to the $205/month that TriW was offering, the recall would have failed.

If Ron and Ann had written "boy we screwed up when we elected 'better, faster, cheaper' because it was certainly not faster or cheaper and it is debatable whether it is better ... so we had better not screw up again by electing folks who promise to do something to delay the solution and raise our costs yet again", the recall movement would have failed.

Again, I don't expect that Ann and Ron are going to think that my "take" on the situation is right ... but I do think that when they're complaining about Trib, they should also be somewhat introspective about whether they've made selective choices to ignore some key aspects of the larger question at hand.

Mike Green said...

Sharkey speculated: various scenarios ending with
"The recall would have failed"
How about this take:
Had the LOCSD held the recall election at the soonest date rather than after the start of construction, the recall might have failed and if not, the community might have been spared what may now be a large financial loss.
And the Triv sucked and Ann Sucked and Ron sucked too. Last part added for your "Take"

Shark Inlet said...

Mike Green.

Your take is a good one. You could also add that had the Solutions Group told us in advance that their "solution" was likely not to fly with the RWQCB, we could have avoided another problem as well.

Mike Green said...

Right you are, except that "likely" doesn't give the meaning justice, more like they already knew it wasn't going to fly

Two Words. Cuesta Study

BTW, can you give me a synopsis of the Congelton comments on Gail? I missed them, and I can't find a resource, Thanks.

My, what HOT weather we are having, I imagine your friend over at Monarch is enjoying the pungent breezes from the vulture roost.

Shark Inlet said...

Mike Green,

Well, if the "Cuesta Study" showed that the "Ponds of Avalon" would not work for the RWQCB (and I don't remember that study well enough, but I do remember the RWQCB essentially saying "there is no track record of nitrate removal from such ponding systems so you can't get a SRF") ... don't you think that the direct statements from the SWRCB and RWQCB about losing the loan and getting fines should have been enough to cause one to pause before voting for the recall. Heck, the lack of stated financial plan to get another project online frightened the hell out of me alone. Even if I disliked TriW intently, I would have been reluctant to support the recall.


Congalton? He said that the e-mail Gail sent out on Monday (and I would love to see a copy of that e-mail) was two-faced. Perhaps he didn't use those words, but he did say something like "if you're advocating people vote no on the 218, why not come out and say it?" At kvec920.com you can find Monday's show. Dave's comments on Gail are about 1:04 into the program.

My buddy in Monarch was on their HOA board when the RWQCB fined the neighborhood. He also knows quite a bit about the TAC because one of his friends is on the committee. I think he's in Ohio now visiting family. Because he likes cool weather, I suspect he's glad he's missing our heat.

Mike Green said...

And Smoke! Wow, at times you can taste it.
Ohio (motto:No matter where you are, it's a four hour drive to five other states)
Well, that sounds nice, hope he comes back to a saner Los Osos.
But maybe that's hoping too much.

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez:"Again, I don't expect that Ann and Ron are going to think that my "take" on the situation is right ... but I do think that when they're complaining about Trib, they should also be somewhat introspective about whether they've made selective choices to ignore some key aspects of the larger question at hand."

Areat 51 se: "I blame the people who refused and/or were too lazy to research for themselves and make educated decisions. (twice) Blaming local newpapers is too easy. (By the way, if the Trib endorsed a no on 218 vote, the obstructionists would be lauding the paper as the greatest in the world)."

Once again, Inlet, you don't get it. My job is not to solve YOUR problems or answer YOUR questions, or do YOUR homeword for you. In the limited space I have, it's to raise questions and issues that require that YOU get off your duff and look into and then decide for yourself.With an issue as complex as the Sewer Saga, only the Tribune has at its fingertips the kind of resources and ink and pages needed to write about some of these key issues and ask some serious questions. But if you read so much of what they have done, you'll see that after the first couple of "new" news paragraphs, they've dropped in the formula "history," much of which has been wrong and, interestingly, I note, has now subtly changed.

No, you're still barking up the wrong tree. And you still refuse to see the hip bone connected to the thigh bone. Because certain things were done by the old board, made other things destructively (and unnecessary)inevitable. Until you trace back, you won't see the branching trails where an informed public getting off their duffs COULD have made all the difference. That's another reason that I'm again sounding the warning bell: Pay Attention!

As for the Tribune endorsing anything, KVEC radio host Dave Contalton used to have a wonderful time pointing out that the Trib's record is such that an endorsement by the Trib of anything or anyone was usually the absolute kiss of death.

Inlet also sez:"There are some subtle issues that the County information does not present clearly enough. For example, Julie Tacker pointed out that should the actual costs be higher than $25k per home, the County will do something to cover those extra costs. If not a grant, perhaps an additional assessment but if not an additional assessment, a higher monthly sewer bill.

This is not a surprise to us, but it would be to many who don't read carefully.

The problem here isn't, however, the County's lack of information but the massive amount of misinformation provided by one side or the other."

In what way is missing information, especially critical information like informing the voters that the way this 218 was set up left hanging a HUGE potential debt if the undeveloped properties don't come on line (lack of water) and so the county will add "fees and charges" onto the assessment debt to make up the missing amount. Is failure to describe that clearly in the county hand-outs as much mis-information as private local groups who have been wildly inflating costs? Both missing info and exaggerated information are a form of MISINFORMATION. And the county doing that is far worse than some outside, NGO outfit doing it since "caveat emptor" is more strongly attached to NGOs than with the government in the minds of many citizens. (How many times have you heard or even read on this blogsite, "I trust the County." Well, as your comments points out . . . maybe that's not such a good idea?

Inlet sez:"Well, if the "Cuesta Study" showed that the "Ponds of Avalon" would not work for the RWQCB (and I don't remember that study well enough, but I do remember the RWQCB essentially saying "there is no track record of nitrate removal from such ponding systems so you can't get a SRF") ."

As Ron has so amply demonstrated, right there is the trainwreck: Clinging to Tri-W even after it became clear that the ponds wouldn't be permitted and/or the mitigation (because it was ESHA and the pond's footprint was so huge) pushed the costs waaaaayyyyy past the traditional gravity system the county had proposed, RIGHT THERE was the fatal misstep by the CSD that led to all the rest. They needed at that point to go back to the community and say, We can't make this fly. Do we return the project to the county? Or do we use the county's plan and move the plant off the ESHA property? Do we admit (as Paavo knew at the time but only mentioned years later) that a small CSD simply doesn't have the resources to undertake the kind of "process" the county's doing now to determine what system the community wants, and then hold an advisory vote or somehow engage the community in making some choices. But that didn't happen, and from that one failure to stop, look and listen, all the rest flowed, link by link.

Again, that's the reason I am repeatedly telling this community NOT to fall asleep like they did after the initial CSD formation vote. They thought Uncle Daddy would solve all their problems and deliver a $35 a month Ponds of Avalon. They weren't paying attention to what was happening at the CSD meeting, watching the morphing, unaware the SOC was a phony, unaware of a whole lot of things.

Does anyone want a repeat of that? I don't.

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

I feel like it is you who doesn't get the point here.

I am not asking you to do my homework for me. I gave you a homework assignment ... to research some of the financial implications of stopping the sewer. You neglected to even attempt the assignment. I asked you to research whether there really was a reasonable plan that would cost us only $100/month as the recall candidates promised. You didn't bother.

You complain that people are asleep at the wheel. Ann, you are asleep at the wheel. When I tried to prod you to wake up to some very real aspects of the sewer debate, you sleepily mumbled something about my conclusions being based on speculation and so weren't worth further consideration. Had you simply taken the time to do even a bit of research on the question of cost, you would have realized that I was right, as usual.

Nope, I don't pretend that the Solutions Group didn't screw some things up and that many felt that TriW was a poor choice of locations and that many want various changes including sustainability ... but to have those sorts of discussions without including a discussion of the costs of making changes is where you are pretending the hip bone is not connected to the thigh bone. To tell us that stopping TriW was inevitable is simply silly ... it was only because the recall candidates unwisely and short-sightedly promised us something they could not deliver, a $100/month solution, that the recall passed. Had they told us the truth, that they didn't have any plan at all and that anything they did come up with would cost at least $200-250/month they would have lost overwhelmingly.


Here's my question for you, Ann ... do you consider entirely ignoring costs and blowing off any discussion of costs as being asleep at the wheel?

I would suggest that it is and that when Ron (for example) advocates for a recall while asleep at the wheel, he's contributing to another train wreck.

That being said, do you consider the recall a success? Has the benefit of the likelihood of another location for the WWTF been worth the cost of our loss of the project, increased debts, additional pollution and likely increased costs? Surely by now you've got to have an opinion on whether where we're at now is better or worse than were we were two years ago!

Sewertoons said...

Thank you shark for articulating precisely what many of us feel.

I would ask Ann if she cannot come up with an opinion all on her own, if she would agree with Steve Senet in his board comments that if the sewer bill is $205 a month with the County, we are about where we were two years ago (forgetting the LOCSD undetermined amount of bankruptcy debt and adding more pollutants into the ground).

To so easily say that moving it out of town would have been easy, is to discount and forget the people who live out of town. There was at least one representative from out of town at all of the TAC meetings, in SLO or LO, and there was never one indication upon listening to them that they wouldn't put up a fight were the plant to go out there. It would take a bit more massaging of the impacts to the out-of-towners to get them to agree to that.