O.K. Time To Stop Walking While Stupid, Please; or How I Learned To Stop Shooting Myself In The Foot Because The Limping Was Slowing Me Down Some
Mother Calhoun hopes you all had a nice holiday break from The Sewer Wars? Unfortunately, she wasn’t so lucky and has been bombarded with daily emails and cc’s of an ongoing squibble-squabble that just kept getting sillier and sillier. So, perhaps, it’s time for Mother Calhoun to say a few words?
Below, is Mr. Tom Murphy, CEO of AES & the “Reclamator.” This email made Mother Calhoun think of a Fuller Brush man coming to a potential customer’s door and saying, “If you don’t buy this really swell vegetable brush, I’ll shoot you in the kneecaps.” For some weird reason, Mother Calhoun doesn’t think that’s been proven to be a particularly successful sales ploy. And, as the New Times’ “Shredder” has pointed out, threatening to sue a bankrupt entity for big bucks . . .? Uh . . . . And threatening the good people of this community individually, based on their assessment vote, is either a very, very bad joke that went awry, or the ka-boom of a gun going off with Mr. Murphy’s foot as the unfortunate recipient of the bullet.
This email was among many emails between Murphy& Mark Low & The Water Guy. Alas, most of them just got silly, so I’m not going to post them here. They’re embarrassing. But, The Water Guy’s email below DOES lay out a procedure that can and will go a long way towards moving this all from a war of words into something somebody can actually deal with.
And, finally, Gail McPherson notes where the REAL problem and concern lie: Make sure The Process has sufficient will and onsite-expertise available to honestly evaluate any onsite plans during the due diligence phase, not simply treat onsites as “also-rans,” as in, “O.K. O.K. already, I’ve looked at your plans thank you for coming there’s the door.”
The “County Process” is already “dead”. It doesn’t matter if we are in the County process or not, the County isn’t going to be able to borrow the money to do the project. The assessments are illegal, if they attempt to asses my house, they will soon find that out. And, when the County goes to borrow money with the old “guaranteed hookup” ordnance to guarantee revenue and payback, we will just notify the lender of the RECLAMATOR at peoples homes and that such an outdated “guaranteed hookup ordnance” concept doesn’t work anymore as some properties now only have “water”, i.e. “Recycled water” which is defined in California Water Code Secton 13050 as a “Valuable Resource”. A “guaranteed hookup” doesn’t guarantee a “revenue” stream to pay for the loan. Any “required hookup” only creates a NEGATIVE REVENUE STREAM.
So, _____, how can the County pay back the money they would have to borrow to build a “non-federally compliant, non-affordable, non-sustainable, energy waster, regulatory created non-point source pollutant generator (it is already a matter of totally industry awareness that a centralized sewer waste management method is the number one source of pollution of our nation’s waters, even beats out septic tanks), and what tops it off is, even if they put the thing in, we will still be providing our service and the customers they might have will eventually disconnect from the sewer (and subscribe to our services) at some point so they can have back control of their water.
Again_____ these guys are already dead and they just don’t want to admit it. These guys aren’t stupid, they are engineers, however, they really are slow to take up change and admit that they have lost control.
It is over for them, I’m not going to do business with the County anyway, even if they called me on Christmas day. I gave them an ultimatum and a date and they didn’t take me up on it. They are out.
Now, we are going to give the LOCSD the last opportunity to do business with us. That should be your focus now, as if they don’t, I am going to go after them for $100,000,000 in damages.
The result will be Los Osos will have to pay the award ($20,000.00 per DUE), AES will then be given the project anyway as an additional reward as the law requires it, make the typical profit it would have made anyway, the grants that I have telling everyone about will kick in to pay for the project and Los Osos still got the most affordable project while AES made an additional $100,000,000 and it only cost each homeowner $20,000,000 and not $70,000,000 per DUE.
However, I am going to exempt all who voted NO and who DIDN’T VOTE. Only the ones who protested our program and voted “yes” are going to be the ones who must pay all “reward” amounts. After all, it will only be fair, don’t ya think?
The BRIDGE is OUT! The “COUNTY PROCESS” IS NO LONGER OF ANY SIGNIFICANCE…………….
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO THE ________
D. Thomas Murphy
RECLAMATOR, “The Future of Water”
Email from The Water Guy:
Dear Mr. Murphy:
Here is the background/data/proof of concept for the high performance biofiltration treatment concept. There are two papers attached. One provides a general review of the technology, along with some examples of its implementation and capabilities. The other explores in more detail nitrogen reduction capability of the technology. The attached tables accompany that paper.
Past experience indicates that you will immediately go after the circumstance that the high performance biofiltration concept may not produce total N concentrations of <10 mg/L. As we have discussed (and apparently disagree upon), that is not necessary in most situations. Nitrogen can be a fertilizer, a valuable resource just like the water is, if applied properly -- e.g., by dispersing treated effluent with nitrogen concentration <20 mg/L in a subsurface drip irrigation field to fertilize the landscaping as well as obtaining an irrigation benefit. There is no prohibition in the "law" against including the soil mantle in the "treatment zone". However, if it is determined that <10 mg/L out of the pipe is required under the conditions of a given circumstance, you can put a "Nitrex" filter on the end of the treatment train, problem solved. So what we have here is a not just a demonstrated "best" technology on the terms that you claim it must meet, we have a technology with a long history of--thus a well-deserved reputation for--stability, robustness, consistency and reliability, even in the face of difficult operating conditions. ESPECIALLY in the face of difficult operating conditions, such as the very lightly supervised on-lot system environment, where any number of "out of bounds" events WILL occur.
From all appearances to date, what you have is an experiment, some ideas (no pun intended) that have been strung together. While they may indeed produce a viable treatment concept, its long-term capabilities--either in terms of consistent effluent quality or in terms of basic operational reliability--remain to be demonstrated. As has been noted, your widget has failed--badly--to perform up to your claims in at least two publicly-funded, independent demonstration projects. It would appear that what you need to find is a demonstration site, your own "Washington Island". AFTER you run your widget through something like that, AFTER you identify its strengths and weaknesses, AFTER you figure out how to minimize or eliminate the "glitches" that WILL occur, THEN you could in good conscience promote your widget in a situation like Los Osos.
That is what the situation appears to be. If indeed you do have in hand the operating history and evaluation that matches in rigor to that presented for the high performance biofiltration concept, we still await you sharing it. In any case, you have been shown that there are other technological strategies that can do what you claim is the sole province of your widget.
David Venhuizen, P.E.Planning and Engineering as if Water and Environmental Values Matter www.venhuizen-ww.com
And McPherson’s observations: (excerpt)
The possible solutions are screened based on meeting criteria from a complete needs assessment. Then the best value options that meet the criteria are placed on the table. Is TRIW adequate to remain on the table? Can any other plans be modified to allow them to remain on the table? Based on the criteria which options and configurations of systems are left???? The rest fall away.
Because the needs assessment was limited and not well knitted together or updated from the TRI W failure, decentralized isn't on the main table.
EIR affords the final comparisons of options and technology/site configurations ...and decentralized must be here as well as Ripley plan. The flaw in the rough screening was setting artificial limits to the "solution paradigm" to centralized only. This allowed an early process failure to develop defensible "best value" project criteria. This prematurely knocked decentralized and Ripley out of the running favor of centralized only and Carollo only.
This can be corrected now and evaluations can be made complete so there is no question for the legitimacy for the process.
Let me repeat that:
“The flaw in the rough screening was setting artificial limits to the “solution paradigm” to centralized only. This allowed an early process failure to develop defensible “best value” project criteria. This prematurely knocked decentralized and Ripley [My note: also Pio Lomobardo’s decentralized cluster/water-reuse plan?] out of the running in favor of centralized only and Carollo only. This can be corrected now and evaluations can be made complete so there is no question for the legitimacy for the process.”
Meantime . . . .
. . . . This can be corrected now. . . yes, IF the citizens will make their voices heard that onsite will be evaluated by experts in onsite programs and on a level field with the other options, not simply something cursorily reviewed at the last minute as window-dressing to prop up a Process that was off kilter from day one.
Meantime, enough with Mr. Murphy & Mr. Low’s Word War 2.0. It’s simply too silly. The documentation path is clear, the test-case path is clear, the necessity of getting a definition of what “is” is, is clear, necessary data required for a fair evaluation should be clear. All of which needs to go to the county and the RWQCB. Or Mr. Murphy can head to federal court and file whatever he needs to file.
In the meantime, Mother Calhoun sez: “Threatening residents isn’t included in that list of Things To Do, Thank You.”
Have a happy New Year!