Reclamator’s Up And Running!
The following email exchange between Tom Murphy of AES and Barry Tolle of the county. For those following the Reclamator story, here’s further info as to its operation.
As with all things Sewerish, this little Danse Macabre de Merde will have to be resolved either in the courts or by an official sit-down/pronouncements by RWQCB, the County and Mr. Murphy before anything gets clarified in a meaningful manner. The question I raised in another posting regarding “selling” reclaimed water at 6 x the cost, remains. (i.e. The CSD can say to Mr. Murphy, No thanks, we don’t want your nice water. If it’s not a “discharge” then you don’t need to hook up to a sewer, so keep your nice water out of our sewer pipes, thank you, and go talk to Roger Briggs, thank you.) So, stay tuned.
And, posted last, an email from Harvey Packard to the CSD that raises as interesting question. Note his use of the word “may.” As in, We don’t know, we’re just guessing here. Who’s job is it to stop guessing and actually find out? Clearly, not Mr. Packard’s or the RWQCB’s.
Mr. Murphy’s reply to Mr. Tolle’s email (qwhich follows below, Mr. Packard's email after that)
. . . . Now, I am in Hawai'i closing a large commercial project, taking effluent from a> municipal plant and purifying it for irrigation to serve a very large health> care facility on Oahu utilizing the RECLAMATOR. Additionally, we are> discussing a Private Public Partnership arrangement with the Hawaii> Department of Health, providing the RECLAMATOR to retrofit over 180,000 residential cesspools and over 3,000 commercial cesspools statewide.
In regards to the RECLAMATOR being up and running, I somewhat puzzled by your suggestion that the RECLAMATOR shouldn't be running. Why not? Barry, I have been in contact with you and made several offers for you to arrange to meet me at the RECLAMATOR. Ed Ochs told me you came by the house last week, however, I didn't know you were coming by and wasn't available to show it to you. As of now, there won't be an opportunity to inspect it until I return from Hawai'i next week. So am I to understand a "water heater" or a "garbage disposal" isn't allowed to be put into operation until someone actually inspects it first?
I will contact you as soon as I return, until then, the RECLAMATOR is connected to the house sewer pipe, reclamates (reclaims and repurifies) the water, decants the reclamated water through a wireless water meter into a permeate reservoir from which it overflows back into the sewer line which delivers the metered reclamated water to the LOCSD's sewer lateral for purchase at the gong market value. The water meter and box with plumbing was exposed when you stopped by last week. I assume you saw it. Keep in mind, the RECLAMATOR does not produce any "effluent". It provides for the maximum degree of effluent reduction as is the criteria set fourth in USC 33/26 Sec. 1316. I brought by a jar of permeate which was drawn directly from the reservoir tank of the RECLAMATOR for your viewing pleasure or testing if you wish. As the LOCSD has not provided me with an "exemption from required connection", they currently are paying me for the water based upon my water meter reading. You may want to refer to the RECLAMATOR as a "money tree" when I connect it up to a publicly owned sewer lateral within the CCRWQCB jurisdiction as they are requiring a "hookup" to the publicly owned sewer laterals. Good for me as the reclamated water cost is 6 times (6Xs) the cost of the public drinking water supplied to my property. Also keep in mind that there is NO disposal as there is NO waste associated with the RECLAMATOR. I know this is very different from the onsite wastewater treatment systems you are familiar with which treat wastewater for disposal, however, the RECLAMATOR reclamates (not treats) water (not> wastewater) for beneficial reuse (not disposal). The RECLAMATOR does not require a "disposal field". When there is no publicly owned treatment works> collection lateral available to connect to and charge for the water, nor an existing disposal field which served a previous onsite wastewater treatment system, the reclamate simply flows into a 1 1/4" well point installed only 6-10 feed into the soil, I will install one soon to show how this is done.
As the system has only been operating for one week last Friday, the nitrates are not yet where they will soon be as it takes the de-nitrifiers a little longer to develop than the nitrifiers. NSF waited 6 weeks prior to starting their testing for the Nitrogen Series Analysis. However, I believe we are already less than 10 ppm since 5 days after startup. The electrical is very simple as I use 4 conductor cord run inside of 1" electrical conduit hard wired into a circuit box at the house which is off of a 15 amp breaker. All control is within the RECLAMATOR itself, not on the wall of the house as is others. As is explained in the RECLAMATOR Engineering Report you have a copy of, the maximum amp draw of any one piece of equipment is only 2.9 amps and there is a maximum draw of less than 6> amps for only one minute during the post decant back flush of the ultra filtration membrane upon the startup of the aeration phase of operation which happens a maximum of only 6 times per day. I understand this RECLAMATOR is very different in nature than anything the County has previously been exposed to as it complies with the MCLG USEPA standard for drinking water quality which is a non-enforceable public health goal standard. However, as we move to start installing 1000s within your jurisdiction, we will be glad to work with your department to fine tune a program to track all installs as they occur. I will discuss some ideas as to how this can happen next week upon my return, until then...ALOHA!
Hi Tom: . . . . . Sorry I missed you last week . . .I just received a call that Mr. Low appeared at the Board of Supervisors meeting yesterday and claimed that the Reclamator was up and running.> Please be advised, until I make a final inspection of the Reclamator unit,> this unit should not be operating. Please contact me as soon as possible> to schedule a final inspection. I will be looking at connections between> house sewer and the reclamator unit, how effluent is handled, the disposal> field, and all electrical connections. Please contact me ASAP: Thanks: Barry Tolle 781-5628
And From Harvey Packard, RWQCB
As noted, above, at this late date, what’s that word “may” doing in there? As in “. . . may even be of higher quality.” Doesn’t anybody KNOW? Who’s job is it to actually KNOW something here? And To Mr. Packard’s Knowledge means. . . what, exactly? That he’s presuming? Guessing? Also note Mr. Packard’s statement that the basin plan prohibits all discharges of waste from sewer disposal systems. If that’s the case, how was it possible for the RWQCB to issue a discharge permit for the TRI-W plant to discharge waste onto the Broderson site, which is within the Basin? If that discharge was allowed because it met certain criteria that the RWQCB set, then does whatever the Reclamator is “discharging” also meet that same criteria? If Mr. Packard doesn’t know, i.e. the Reclamator “may” be doing something or other, then who does know?
email to CSD
Thu Feb 28 15:36:28 2008
Subject: Re: FW: Los Osos Community Services District
Ms. Biggs, I stated in my Feb 19 email (shown below), that we would have a further response to the CSD's inquiry within a couple of weeks. However, upon further review and reflection, we have only the following to add at this time.To our knowledge, the effluent quality from a Reclamator would not be any worse than that from the CSD's existing facilities, and may even be of higher quality. The Central Coast Water Board supports measures to minimize ongoing adverse impacts from septic systems. However, even if it works as well as its promotors claim it will, the Reclamator will still discharge waste. The Reclamator therefore does not comply with the Basin Plan, which prohibits all discharges of waste from sewage disposal systems, including engineered alternative systems.
The Central Coast Water Board has indicated that it does not intend to take additional enforcement action for violations of the Basin Plan prohibition as long as the County’s process stays on track. Once a community sewer system is available, or sooner if the County discontinues its efforts to build one, the CSD will be required to eliminate all onsite discharges of sewage waste. The CSD can do this by connecting to the sewer system, or by proposing and obtaining approval of another legal alternative to eliminate all onsite discharges. The requirement to eliminate onsite discharges does not violate Water Code Section 13360, even if the only feasible compliance alternative is connecting to a public system.
Harvey Packard, Section Manager and Enforcement CoordinatorCentral Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board895 Aerovista Place, Suite 101San Luis Obispo, CA 93401Phone: (805) 542-4639Fax: (805) 788-3558