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    Category: Sewer and Septic Clean

    Point of View: Martin County still blaming Fanjuls, Big Sugar for all woes - March 28, 2014 by admin

    I just finished reading Maggy Hurchallas commentary on Wednesdays Op-Ed Page of The Palm Beach Post. I am not getting into a debate on HB 703. I have always said that our state Legislature rides the short bus. But Martin County continues to embarrass itself by blaming absolutely all of its environmental problems on Florida Crystals and the Fanjul family.

    There are 270,000 septic tanks that drain into the Indian River Lagoon. It is safe to assume that Florida Crystals does not own one of them. The counties that border the Indian River Lagoon have all taken great steps in correcting their practices that have for decades had a detrimental effect on the lagoon. The glaring exception to this is Martin County. Their fallback position is, and always has been: Its Sugars fault!

    Do they forget that it was Hurchalla that championed septic tanks over a centralized sewer system when she was on the Martin County Commission? The logic being it would control growth. Not very sound logic. The fact that Martin County and Hurchalla fail to accept any responsibility for the condition of the Indian River Lagoon is getting to the point of being comical.

    All of their hollering and screaming that the state should clean up the Indian River Lagoon because it is a $4.5 billion economic engine to the area has not gone unnoticed by Tallahassee. I recently attended a meeting where a representative from the Areas of Critical State Concern in the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity laid the blame squarely on the 270,000 septic tanks within the lagoon drainage area. Their position was that, like Apalachicola Bay and the Florida Keys, the Indian River Lagoon is too valuable an asset to the state to leave it up to the five counties to fix the problem. Particularly when it was those five counties land use plans that contributed to the problem.

    One solution is for the state to declare the Indian River Lagoon an Area of Critical Concern. This would focus all of the states resources on fixing the lagoon. This option was very successful in saving both the Florida Keys and Apalachicola Bay ecosystems from their septic tank issues.

    Hurchalla and the other local officials are opposed to this because it requires them to step up to the plate and face the facts. The sticking point is it will put the state in the drivers seat. Maybe in this case not a bad thing.



    Editors note: J.P. Sasser is a former mayor of Pahokee.

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    Point of View: Martin County still blaming Fanjuls, Big Sugar for all woes

    Popular park may get fixup - March 24, 2014 by admin

    FAIRMONT - An attempt last year to obtain a state grant to improve Cedar-Hanson Park northwest of Trimont was unsuccessful. Now the county is looking at scaled-down plans that might finally get the park the upgrade it needs for its heavy use.

    Martin County Engineer Kevin Peyman said Tuesday that building a restroom and showers, including septic and sewer, along with providing the other side of the park with water and electricity, would cost $300,000. This is down from the $500,000 price tag used when applying for a Parks Legacy Grant from the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment last fall.

    "We currently have $60,000 in our park fund," Peyman said. "Out comes the pay for the caretakers and the day-to-day expenses, and usually some project comes up, so we use about $30,000 to $35,000 a year."

    Peyman estimates that if the county goes forward with the new proposal, it could take the parks department five to seven years to pay it back.

    "We have no more projects planned for any of the parks for seven or eight years after that," Peyman said. "This would essentially finish Cedar-Hanson Park, and then after that we could concentrate on the others."

    Cedar-Hanson Park is the largest and most-used county park. It is a favorite spot for campers, with electrical sites for RVs, and another side with more traditional camping. Cedar-Hanson also brings in the most revenue, with $20 per night camping fees for electric sites and $10 per night for non-electrical sites.

    While no action was taken Tuesday, Martin County commissioners told Peyman to keep exploring and getting details on the proposed project.

    In other business, commissioners offered the Martin County emergency manager position to Erin Busta, after LuAnn Akres declined to accept it.

    "She was one of our top choices," Commissioner Elliot Belgard said of Busta. "She has a bachelor's degree in emergency management, and is very high energy."

    The board approved the hiring of Busta, contingent on a background check. She is scheduled to begin work April 6.

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    Popular park may get fixup

    Health Dept. has new Environmental Health Director - March 15, 2014 by admin

    Phil Bondurant is from Henderson, Nev.

    Henderson, Nev., native Phil Bondurant is the Summit County Health Department's new Environmental Health Director. Bondurant previously worked for health departments in Richfield, Ut., and Las Vegas, Nev. (Aaron Osowski/Park Record)

    Phil Bondurant has worked for one of the largest health departments in the country and for one of the smallest, and he thinks Summit County suits him just fine. Bondurant was recently brought on as the Summit County Health Department's new Environmental Health Director and is excited for what he sees as the county being "on the cusp" of becoming a larger health department.

    "In my opinion, environmental health always has to be proactive," Bondurant said. "My main focus is I always try to earn my keep from an organizational as well as a taxpayer standpoint. They pay to have clean air and clean water."

    Bondurant, who is from Henderson, Nev., is taking over for the retired Bob Swensen. He has worked for nine years with the Southern Nevada Health District in Las Vegas, Nev., and previously worked as Director for Environmental Health for the Central Utah Public Health Department in Richfield, Ut.

    Bringing sewer to county residents with outdated or malfunctioning septic systems is one of the main goals of the Health Dept. going forward. The department has also brought on an environmental consultant who will assist with on-site wastewater inspections for all new septic systems under 5,000 gallons.

    "There have been some [septic] systems that have failed to the point of, 'Whose fault is it?' The installer? The county?" Bondurant said. "We're working on bringing sewer to a lot of outlying areas that are on septic systems. It's part of a push being sought nationwide."

    The two most important areas of focus for the Health Department, Bondurant said, are air and water quality, based on residents' concerns and the Summit County Council's goals. Being proactive on air quality is helped by the fact that conditions in Salt Lake City can often be expected to have an impact on Summit County.

    "As this county grows, people need to understand that the ozone and PM (particulate matter) 2.5 air quality concerns are not entirely the fault of Salt Lake," Bondurant said. "There is a certain component [of pollution] caused in Summit County."

    PM2.5 is the primary winter pollutant, while ozone poses more of a threat in the summer. Bondurant said the Health Department's campaigns such as an anti-idling ordinance and "check engine" light awareness are crucial. Check engine lights almost always mean an emissions problem with a vehicle and the Health Dept. will work with mechanics to make motorists aware of the issue.

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    Health Dept. has new Environmental Health Director

    Public to weigh in on plan to clean up E. coli in lower Bear Creek - March 8, 2014 by admin

    David Watson, a senior biology student at Metro State, measures the water flow of Bear Creek during a water quality testing project on Feb. 28, 2014, in Sheridan,. (Anya Semenoff, Your Hub)

    David Watson, a senior biology student at Metropolitan State University of Denver, measures the water temperature at Bear Creek on Feb. 28 in Sheridan. Spearheaded by Groundwork Denver, a water-quality study being conducted along the length of lower Bear Creek aims to ascertain the level and behavior of E. coli in the water. (Anya Semenoff, YourHub)

    Four years after high levels of E. coli bacteria were first detected in lower Bear Creek, the public will finally get a chance to see the plan for cleaning it up.

    A draft of the plan is expected to be completed this month and will receive input from the community and other stakeholders before being sent to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment this summer.

    Eighteen months ago, nine people representing Lakewood, Denver and Sheridan the communities through which the creek flows formed a steering committee to review available water-quality data, devise strategies and write a watershed plan to improve water quality in the creek. The plan is the result of their efforts, said Rachel Hansgen, program manager with Groundwork Denver. The local nonprofit got a grant in 2012 from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to spearhead the effort to clean the 8.2-mile stretch of creek that runs from the east end of Bear Creek Reservoir to its confluence with the South Platte River.

    "The state of Colorado has identified that any water body with E. coli contamination has a priority for cleanup," she said. "Right now we're only looking at coliform fecal bacteria, which is a marker bacteria that reflects the presence of fecal matter in water."

    The levels found in the creek in 2010 exceeded the standards set by the federal Environmental Protection Agency for recreational water bodies. People have since been warned to be cautious about swimming, fishing or wading in the creek.

    Last summer, the steering committee worked with the EPA at 12 in-stream locations and sampled water twice a month.

    The monthly average surpassed Colorado's limit of 126 colony forming units of E. coli that is the threshold for swimming water, said John Novick, an environmental scientist at Denver Department of Environmental Health.

    The source of the contamination is unclear. Hansgen said it could be anything from minute leaks in sewer lines, runoff from pet and wildlife waste or septic systems that aren't properly cleaning the water.

    Originally posted here:
    Public to weigh in on plan to clean up E. coli in lower Bear Creek

    Build a Better Toilet to Get Rich and Popular - March 6, 2014 by admin

    A sustainable, energy-producing toilet for developing countries has meant a flood of phone calls--and an investment from Bill Gates

    Caltech/Michael Hoffmann

    Since word got out that Michael Hoffmann and a team of his students had developed a state-of-the-art, sustainable, energy-producing toilet for rural, developing countries, his phone has begun to ring much more frequently.

    Hoffmann, a California Institute of Technology professor, was the team leader for Caltech's winning entry into the Bill and Melinda Gates contest to invent a more sustainable toilet. He and his team of six developed a flushing toilet that sanitizes the water and produces hydrogen from human waste to create electricity. One upshot was a $100,000 prize.

    Another result was the callers, who are not always the kind one would expect. Some are American cabin owners who live off the electric grid. Others are owners of luxury apartment buildings in India. Others are developers in China, home to a middle class that is expanding much faster than the nation's sewer systems.

    "There's a broad-scale interest," Hoffmann said. "There are much bigger markets out there."

    While World Toilet Organization founder Jack Sim called improving access to sanitation in the developing world the "cheapest preventative medicine in the world" at the World Economic Forum on Africa in May, the cause has not been advancing as quickly as some think it should.

    The seventh of the United Nations' eight Millennium Development Goals is to cut the number of people living without access to clean water in half between 1990 and 2015. So far, 2 billion people have better access to clean water, but the world is still off track to the goal, according to the latest World Health Organization report on sanitation. It is unlikely to reach it in the next three years.

    While China and India have made great strides in providing access to sanitation by decreasing the rate of open defecation, sub-Saharan Africa and most of South Asia lag behind.

    One answer to an urgent question Many of these regions also face diminishing water resources in the face of more severe droughts caused by climate change. Waterless toilets do exist but can be less sanitary and, for obvious reasons, much less pleasant.

    Build a Better Toilet to Get Rich and Popular

    Sangre Chronicle > Archives > Angel Fire > Much-needed Angel Fire water credits hinge on missing documents - March 5, 2014 by admin

    ANGEL FIRE The village of Angel Fire could get more much-needed water supplies upon completion of certain documentation up to two decades past due, the State Engineers Office reported last week.

    The village requested a variety of water consumption credits through a return-flow report filed with the State Engineers Office in 2005. The report suggests the village should be allowed to take more from its wells because much of the water used by the municipality returns to the ecosystem as a result of snow-making, land applications, septic discharge, golf-course irrigation, waterline breaks and waterline leaks.

    In a letter delivered to Angel Fire Manager M. Jay Mitchell last week, however, Sheldon Dorman of the State Engineers Office wrote the village will not be eligible for any water credits until the municipality files a variety of documentation that should have been submitted from 1992-2013.

    Among the missing documents are 23 well-completion reports due Nov. 30, 1992, a well-completion report due Dec. 30, 2008, and proof of beneficial water use due Oct. 31, 2013, Dorman wrote. Another well-completion report is due March 31 of this year, he wrote.

    Dorman also wrote that the only water credits available to the village are for snow-making and sewer discharge.

    It is recommended that credit for return flow for golf course irrigation, septic tanks, land application and unaccounted water such as leakage will not be granted to the Village of Angel Fire, a memo from the State Engineers Office states.

    Although Angel Fires return-flow report suggests 79 percent of its water used for snow-making returns to the ecosystem, the memo states the villages snow-making credit would be based on an analysis for the Santa Fe Ski Company. Angel Fire Resort used an average of 84.24 acre-feet of the villages water for snow-making during each of the last three winter seasons, according to municipal records.

    If the Santa Fe study came back and actually showed that theres a higher level of evaporation or something like that, it might be a lower (credit), Mitchell said.

    Through the sewer-discharge credit, Mitchell said, the village would be allowed to use an additional acre-foot of water for every acre-foot of effluent released into the Cineguilla Creek. Although the village has the ability and permits to discharge about 1,120 acre-feet of water into the creek each year, the municipality released an average of only 63.08 acre-feet during each of the last six years.

    This is why we need to get more people hooked up on our sewage system. We dont get septic credit. Its metered, so anything we process, clean and discharge, we get one-for-one credit on it, Mitchell said. ...Out of just roughly over 1,800 water customers that the village has, weve only got 389 that are on our sewer system.

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    Sangre Chronicle > Archives > Angel Fire > Much-needed Angel Fire water credits hinge on missing documents

    Forum sheds light on Owasco Lake status - March 3, 2014 by admin

    AUBURN | Three water scientists shared their knowledge Saturday of the current status of Owasco Lake, the local body of water that supplies drinking water, aesthetic beauty and recreational opportunities.

    Sponsored by numerous organizations, The State of Owasco Lake symposium reviewed environmental and economic impacts on the lake and its users regarding occurrences of phosphorus, algae and disinfection byproducts.

    John Halfman, along with two officials from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, led off the three-hour event in the Irene A. Bisgrove Community Theatre at Cayuga Community College.

    His presentation "The Trophic Status of Owasco Lake," focused on phosphorus in the lake's watershed. The nutrient manifests both naturally and via manmade routes, such as through agricultural runoff. Phosphorus proliferation, particularly in shallow waters, is the basis for growth of algae blooms. Algae is preventable and can be costly, he said.

    "The cleaner the lake the less you have to filter it, and filtering costs money," he said.

    A professor in the geoscience department and environmental studies program at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Halfman also leads the Finger Lakes Institute.

    "Will I swim in the lake? Yes. Does it need to improve? Yes," he said.

    Citizen groups, he said, make a difference in how municipalities fare financially when the time comes to make potable water available for public use. He pointed to the effective efforts of residents and users of Skaneateles Lake, the drinking water source for the City of Syracuse, at staving off water maintenance costs.

    "By keeping that water clean they've saved millions, if not billions, in costs for Syracuse," he said.

    Wastewater treatment plants, farmers and lake residents all play a part in Owasco Lake's health. Significant steps were made when the water treatment plant in Groton cleaned up its facility's operation several years ago, and more recently soil and water groups are working with area farmers to manage agricultural runoff, Halfman said.

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    Forum sheds light on Owasco Lake status

    Guest Column: Nothing simple about our water crisis - February 23, 2014 by admin

    Kimogener Point on the Bay off New Suffolk Avenue earlier this year. (Barbaraellen Koch file photo)

    Protecting our surface and ground water is Long Islands public issue number one. The Long Island Clean Water Partnership has done a great job in increasing public and political awareness. But we must avoid the trap of oversimplifying both the problem and the solutions.

    Any campaign has three elements: awareness, education and action. Awareness has been raised. Now the hard work, education, has to begin. Education involves inclusive public discussion, scientific debate and a broad coalition on how best to move forward.

    Today, everythings a 10-second sound bite. However, using sound bites to explain proposed solutions can be harmful to long-term success. For example, in County Executive Steve Bellones recent public talks on the water issue, he and others read from the same script weve heard over and over again. We deserve more than that. We need more than that.

    We need full information to make informed decisions.

    Take Mr. Bellones main proposal to solve our water problems: prioritize areas with failing septic systems, identify those near existing sewer systems and extend the sewers to those properties. Interesting concept until you look a little deeper.

    Now putting priority properties, especially waterfront lots, onto a municipal sewer system will remove nitrogen from septic systems and from leeching into our waters. This is good. But think about this a little more. In Long Islands history, when you extend sewer systems, high-density residential and commercial development follows. Always has. Always will. So what problems do extended sewer systems and more development add to our current water problems?


    First problem is the sewers themselves. Septic systems work by seeping wastewater back into the ground. As the water moves through the soil, it filters out and reduces the concentration of nitrogen and other elements. In areas of high density too many homes and people on too little land the ground becomes over-saturated with septic output, thus the filtering of nitrogen and other elements is impaired. Sewers solve that problem, to some degree.

    Most of Long Islands municipal sewage treatment plants, and the smaller community systems which feed into them, take wastewater from the sewers, treat it and pump the resulting effluent into the Sound, bays or the ocean. While this prevents nitrogen from entering the ground, it also means all of that sewered water is removed from the recharge cycle. In other words, instead of returning a large portion of the water we use back to the water table and deeper aquifers, its diverted to our surrounding bodies of salt water.

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    Guest Column: Nothing simple about our water crisis

    Ray Caldwell's wife gets license to pump septic - February 23, 2014 by admin

    Cowlitz County issued a septic pumpers license to Joanne Caldwell last week, just a month after it revoked the pumpers license of her husband, All-Out Sewer & Drain owner Ray Caldwell, following his conviction of 33 federal felonies.

    I cant bar her from having a license since there is no evidence that she participated in any crime, county Environmental Health Manager Chris Bischoff said Thursday.

    Ray Caldwell was convicted Dec. 16 in U.S. District Court of illegally dumping into the city of Longviews sewer system the septage waste All-Out Sewer collected from customers. A federal judge found Caldwell guilty on all 33 counts: 25 felony counts of violating the federal Clean Water Act, six counts of mail fraud and two counts of making false statements.

    In addition to the illegal dumping, Caldwell had been accused of grossly underreporting the amount of septage he collected from customers and pocketing the 6-cent-per-gallon disposal surcharge instead of giving it to the county.

    The county notified Caldwell in January that it was pulling his license. He has appealed the decision.

    Meanwhile, county officials want to take a more active role in regulating septic business and enforcing the rules to prevent a similar situation from occurring, Bischoff said.

    When the county first wrote its septic business regulations, we never conceived of a situation like that surrounding All-Out, Bischoff said. So we were sort of hamstrung by the way the rules were written.

    The county is looking at other jurisdictions that have more active enforcement practices and meeting with local septic professionals about adopting additional oversight, he said.

    Some of them really want a lot (of oversight) and others dont want much, Bischoff said, adding that he didnt want to be oppressive.

    However, he said, Were not even inspecting their sites or really auditing their records, and maybe those are some things we want to do.

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    Ray Caldwell's wife gets license to pump septic

    Yes on bonds supports small-lot owners - February 22, 2014 by admin


    Corrales has two general obligation bonds on the ballot on March 4, both raising funds to assist property owners who choose to connect into Corrales existing Septic Tank Effluent Pumping sewer system. It is important that voters understand that the villages STEP sewer is already in place and operational, with some village properties already hooked in. The vote on the bond questions will have no impact on whether or not the village has an operating sewer system. That decision was made years ago, including yes votes on funding for the STEP system by all current village councilors and for full disclosure, by me when I was on the council.

    The bond questions on the ballot are not a referendum on whether the village should have a sewer or whether the STEP system is the best option.

    So, why are there G.O. bond questions on the ballot?

    Because hooking in to the STEP sewer system will be the only affordable option for many small lots in Corrales to comply with New Mexico Environmental Department regulations. Lots that are 3/4 of an acre or smaller are no longer permitted to discharge on-site from a septic tank.

    The village will not require properties to hook in to the STEP sewer, and NMED has accepted the villages position not requiring mandatory hook-ins. But NMED will require a permit for all septic systems for a transfer of title (a sale or inheritance), a remodel of the property, or to replace a failed system. The small lots will not be issued a permit for a conventional septic system, and owners will have few options for compliance, such as a very expensive ($17,000 -plus) individual Advanced Treatment Unit. And for some lots, a unit may not fit on the site due to the required 100-foot separation from existing wells.

    The bond questions raise funds as a community to offer property owners affordable access to the village STEP sewer system by establishing a zero-interest loan fund and by extending transmission lines into neighborhoods with clusters of small lots. Many of these neighborhoods are older subdivisions established before village incorporation, and deserve community support to solve the NMED compliance issues.

    A no vote on the bonds will not change the fact that someday all small lot owners will confront the costs of NMED compliance. I urge voters not to punish the small lot owners because of continuing opposition to the controversial STEP sewer decision. Clean water is a community responsibility, and together we can share the burden of keeping our ground water clean, rather than abandon those with small lots to bear the costs alone.

    All of Corrales benefits by protecting the water quality in the village from contamination known to be caused by densely located leaching fields. We protect our property values by ensuring that Corrales is known for clean water, not for contaminated wells.

    I will vote yes on Bonds 1 and 2.

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    Yes on bonds supports small-lot owners

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