Friday, August 08, 2008

Mr. Murphy, Meet Mr. Packard. Mr. Packard, Meet Mr. Murphy.

If you picked up a copy of yesterday's(8/7/08) Bay News, there was a two-page white advertising insert Q&A and previously printed "advertorial"from Mr. Tom Murphy of The Also, there was an opinion piece from Harvey Packard, RWQCB, titled "Why NOT the Reclamator?" (

Mr. Murphy, meet Mr. Packard. Community of Los Osos, Meet Mr. Murphy AND Mr. Packard.

Hide the silverware!

Husna Valley, Look Out!

And if you picked up a copy of yesterday's New Times, the Commentary page by Trish Norman ("What's the rush? Aug.7,08) limms an interesting "project." Seems an Australian firm wants to drill!drill!drill! and pump oil out of an old field in Huasna Valley. Naturally, the residents are up in arms, with visions of dozens of oil trucks trundling up and down the local roads, noise, smells, etc. All to get a a small amount of oil which will be burned up in a second, thereby contributing to global warming but having absolutely NO effect on oil prices.

So, here's the question I have. Instead of rushing to give this firm permits to drill, why doesn't the County sugggest that instead of investing all that nice money into trying to wring possibly cruddy, useless "oil" out of an old field, that this Australian company invest all that nice money in constructing a solar array in the Hausna Valley? Nice, long term, clean, renewable energy? Something for the future, not just a messy flash in the pan?

Just asking.


Billy Dunne said...

If memory serves, two vocal anti-everythings concerning the county/sewer, Bruce Paine and Piper Reilly, are also huge Reclamator fans. Since I'm sure they both are willing to put their money where their mouths are, I was wondering if they could check in here and tell us how their Reclamator installs are going. In fact, if ANYONE is taking Murphy up on his deal, this would be a great place to share your experiences. So, has anyone installed a Reclamator or going through the process and wants to tell us how it's going?

Shark Inlet said...


Thanks for providing the link to the tolosa press website. It's really nice. Especially nice is the ability to print out articles. For example, I printed both Murphy's and Packard's commentaries of the last two issues.

alabamasue said...

I have picked up 2 copies of the Bay News and still haven't found the two-page insert you mentioned.
Can you post it online?

Churadogs said...

Alabamasue, uh, as that was an insert, it isn't postable online. If Mr. Murphy has a website? (, maybe he's posted it on his web page?) At the bototom it gives a phone number of (I presume) Mr. Murphy as 439-0510. I think he's got an office on LOVR? If so, stop by, I"m sure he'd have a copy for you.

Inlet, Yep, All the Tolusa Press papers are online, which is nice.

Billy, the problem isn't installing the reclamator. Anyone can get permits to install one from the county and hook it up. The problem comes in 2011 and with owing the county $$$ for the assessment and with getting a little visit from Roger Briggs. THAT's when the rubber hits the legal road.

Watershed Mark said...

Here you go Tunes:
The prison’s sewer system discharges to Chorro Creek, which flows into Morro Bay. The bay now carries the additional designation as a state marine protected area.

The prison’s old plant had a history of spills.

But its new plant is having trouble meeting the stringent discharge standards, and prison officials have agreed to pay $135,000 for a recent series of violations.

A close and objective read of David Snead's piece should prove insightful, even for you.
Bear in mind, this is what the county's current consulting engineer wants for LO/BP.

There are better technologies, not being considered. Go figure...

Sewertoons said...

ws mark - yeah, I read today's Trib. The Men's Colony has a new treatment plant however, and the January incident was due to a new piece of equipment failing. The discharge problems as to too much or not enough chlorine would not be repeated in the Los Osos project whose treatment will be done by UV rays and will not discharge into a creek.

It is certainly not incumbent on the Water Board to test every new technology that hits the radar, that is the responsibility of the inventor. Your device may be great - where are the years of testing to prove it? It has certainly been around long enough to have acquired it, WHY didn't you do it?

Watershed Mark said...

Los Osos project whose treatment will be done by UV rays...
I didn't know the "type" of treatment had been chosen.

Sewertoons said...

Read the Tech Memos, mark, they are posted on the County site. No matter what treatment type is chosen, water reuse requires the killing of pathogens.

Watershed Mark said...

Accumulating the risks through a leaky conventional centralized collection contrivance is what lead to the current state of affairs.
If I saw the technology discussed in the tech memos, I could believe that better technology is being considered.

It appears you missed the point that a recently built facility designed by the county’s current consulting engineer, is not doing “the job”.
What has changed in the diets of those cloistered in the Men’s Colony that is so different from years ago when the consulting engineer, engineered that system?

Answer- Nothing that would be causing the problems discussed in Snead’s piece.
Also, if there is any turbidity present, which can be caused from number of things that happen in conventional engineered systems on a regular basis, the effectiveness of the UV Light disinfection is degraded. Again you must use better technology to avoid cloudy water that shields the pathogens and viruses from being “sterilized”. UV light does not “kill”.

ECOfluid USBF design uses flocculation of wastewater constituents in an ingenious pre-engineered arrangement which uses gravity and hydraulics.
Run the effluent thorough simple sand filtration and UV light and BAM!, Title 22 Reuse quality water, consistently, efficiently, effectively and economically.

I’ll shoot you the PowerPoint with the Engineer’s comments and other information if you get yourself a “anonymous” Gmail account.
I gave it and other exhibits and case studies with data to Carollo in June 2007 and Mark Hutchinson December 2007.

The USBF treatment technology can easily handle low strength BOD influent from STEPSTEG.
STEPSTEG will provide for future individualized reuse “options” which will not be readily available once the holding tanks are gone.

Sewertoons said...

I'll ask again mark. Why didn't you test YOUR product for the past 10 years?

Um, why are you pushing this ECOfluid thing? Has the impossibility of Wrecklamator use in LO finally sunk in? Then why are you placing those ads in the Bay News? Are you really Tom (the real Mark having jumped ship)? Are you Mark? You both seemed to post here under this name in the past. This doesn't make sense. You are now pushing step/steg instead of your product? Do you own stock in ECOfluid? I don't get this at all. Please explain or get a new handle to use here.

The men's colony discharges into a creek with protected species in it - whatever is chosen for LO and whatever reuse options are chosen - for this point in time - does not need to meet those standards. There will likely be a combination of reuse options, but none will discharge into a creek and all sorts of protections will be put into place for unlikely but possible runoff. Fish need cleaner water than is allowed for drinking water for some chemicals.

My objection is to step/steg anyway, as I don't want a giant tank destroying my front yard and I don't want to run electrical to it either. Probably need to add a slot or panel or something. I don't want the out-of-pocket expense for that and yard/driveway restoration ON TOP of the $25,000 I'm going to pay anyway - PLUS my share of bankruptcy fees = hey - I'm STILL paying on the last sewer on my tax bill! I'd like to AT LEAST get a gravity collection system out of THAT payment!

I'm not the party you need to convince here, it's the Water Board!!

Sure - shoot me the Powerpoint - I'm

I wasn't all that impressed with ECOfluid - the numbers don't meet what the Men's Colony must as far as I could tell.

But I did find this interesting report referenced off of their site at:,%20Davis,%20CA-Review%20of%20Technologies-Abbreviated1.pdf

I confess, I couldn't find ECOfluid on this report - but I did find AES Read for yourself, but I will try with cut and paste to represent the table on that pdf:

System description Domain status Status of technology
Expected performancea, b (a Based on review of independent data from operational and experimental systems.
b Performance rating based on notation outlined in Table ES-2. )
BOD TSS TN TP FCc (This last criteria had no letter listed for AES)

System description

Domain status

Status of technology
In use

Expected Performance for AES BESTEP



TN - B

TP - C

FCc (This last criteria had no letter listed for AES)

Table ES-2
Classification system for onsite wastewater treatment system performancea

Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD),
total suspended solids (TSS), and
total nitrogen (TN)

Total phosphorus (TP)

Fecal coliform (FC)

A < 10 mg/L < 2 mg/L < 2
B < 20 mg/L < 5 mg/L < 800
C < 30 mg/L < 10 mg/L < 2000
D > 30 mg/L > 10 mg/L > 2000
Based on values obtained from operational systems, independent certifications, and
experimental systems.

Watershed Mark said...

Toons, try looking for USBF in the report, it's a little further down the page, just above Zenon and Kubota.
There was "no" disinfection used on that USBF system tested.

Watershed Mark is my handle and I'm sticking to it. Mr. Murphy never used it to post.

The WB will only review what is submitted by the county.
The county plans to only submit what the consulting engineer recommends and what Paavo and his team choose to put forward to the Supervisors.

Do you see the pattern developing here?

What about the folks that cannot afford or don’t want to pay for 40+ miles of deep trenching through fine Baywood Sands?
How about the water that infiltrates and the raw sewage that leaks from the stinky, energy intensive gravity sewerage you want so badly? (Vintage WSM, eh?)

Watershed Mark said...

While assembling a delivery for Toons, this USBF – SBR – MBR COMPARISON THIRD PARTY EVALUATION jumped out:
USBF vs. MBR (Zenon)
• The USBF system has a smaller foot print than the Zenon MBR process and the capital investment
is about 70% less than that of a Zenon MBR system.
• The Zenon process requires a biological treatment system and chemicals in order to remove
carbonaceous and nitrogenous oxygen demands in addition to the membranes used for TSS
• MBR system requires a computerized control system that is essential for the operation of the
system. Class “A” experienced operators must operate and “fine tune” the MBR system twenty
four hours per day seven days per week.
• The USBF process is a self regulated system and very little, if any operator attention is required.
• The membranes in an MBR process must be cleaned on a daily basis by the use of “back-pulsing”.
This is done to reduce the possibility of fouling and debris collection on the membranes. The
USBF process does not require the additional controls or daily cleaning of the internal
• MBR system has a potential for fouling of the membranes by biological, chemical (sulfates,
carbonates, etc.) or physical contamination (hair, plastics, paper, etc.) associated with the waste
• MBR system requires a fine mechanical bar screen (~1 mm) upstream of the unit to minimize the
potential for physical fouling of the membranes. The USBF uses a standard mechanical bar screen.
• The membranes in the MBR must be cleaned by the use of a chemical cleaning process on a
monthly or quarterly basis. The cleaning is done with NaOCl and acidic solutions, both of which
must be handled and used properly to prevent injury to the operators.
• The USBF process is simpler and requires less equipment, and electricity to operate. The USBF
flows via hydraulic gradeline (gravity) and the aeration is provided by fewer blowers. The MBR
system on the other hand requires permeate suction pumps and internal recycle pumps in
addition to the blower requirements in order to operate.
• MBR system typically requires the addition of chlorine in order to control filamentous growth
within the system, as opposed to control of the filamentous sludge by the process itself as is with
the USBF process.
• The USBF process has an extended sludge age of 25 to 30 days with low microbial loading which
produces less excess, aerobically stabilized sludge and improves sludge structure and mechanical
dewatering characteristics.
In summary, we believe that the USBF is a superior process for this application due to the following:
• Overall simpler process to operate
• Requires less electrical power
• Does note require computerized controls for operation
• No chemicals required for operation
• Less mechanical equipment to maintain
• Produces less sludge
• Requires less land area

SORRY for the Commercial Ann. I won't do it again.(Vintage WSM)

Mike said...

...and just where are the test tanks and scientific data to show the USBF process actually works in a 15,000 person community...???

Watershed Mark said...

About 10 years ago ECOfluid moved away from individualized in favor of clustered and municipal facilities.

STEPSTEG is a best case and cost technology for LO/BP.

The low impact to the environment and options that the tankage will provide make choosing it a no-brainer.

If your a consulting engineer who does not design STEPSTEG such a solution would be "undesireable".

You all will be bearing the cost of the decision, not those who are ignoring better technology.

Watershed Mark said...

The complete review is located here Toons:

Sewertoons said...


The decision of gravity or step/steg is a no-brainer for me. I don't want to pay the on-lot costs to put in a new tank - PERIOD. That's right we - the individual property owners - will be bearing OUR OWN COSTS of on-lot electrical, and driveway and yard restoration - plus the pumping required periodically. We do not decide whether directional boring (the more costly, less invasive answer to trenching) is used - the contractor decides that. No thanks. I never want to see a septic tank again.

The supposed "low cost" of this at this point - is a possibility but merely an ASSUMPTION as a GIVEN on the part of you and others. Gravity and step/steg cross over on the high of step and the low of gravity. The fact is - we have a gravity system designed already.

I am really more interested in why YOU mark, have abandoned the Wrecklamator with some pretty harsh words and have decided to now offer up a "new solution" for Los Osos. Why would we trust your new offering after you tossed aside your last "greatest" solution?

Watershed Mark said...

I was in LO/BP with ECOfluid late 2006.

There will be "on lot costs" not included in the project cost, which will be paid by the homeowner, no matter what technology is picked.

You should be interested in which system of technologies will be "best" for you and your future.

The Gravity/STEPSTEG "crossover" pricing is not realistic. Only Ripley and his crew ever put out anything close to an actual "bid".

The county's consulting engineer's study will only yeild a parts list that will be bid out to the "qualified" bidder.

How "low" will the cost of connecting 5,000 homes to a sewer go, in a "crunch time" environment?

My estimate is that the $2-$10M the county estimated a year or so ago will be actually higher than expected.

But hey, you voted for it.