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    Category: Sewer and Septic Clean


    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?

    Many.

    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.

    Read more here:
    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.

    View original post here:
    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.

    Read more here:
    Yes on bonds supports small-lot owners

    Editorial: Talk is cheap - February 21, 2014 by admin

    Published: Friday, February 21, 2014 at 6:30 a.m. Last Modified: Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 10:36 p.m.

    It was encouraging to see that at least 200 water advocates from around the state, including Ocala/Marion County, rallied Tuesday in Tallahassee. They need to keep up the pressure to prevent a much smaller group from weakening or killing legislation to protect our imperiled springs.

    The Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee held a workshop Thursday on draft springs legislation. The measure would create protection areas around springs where homeowners would be required to upgrade septic tanks or hook up to sewer systems. The work would be funded with about $378 million per year from existing fees paid when real estate is sold.

    A workshop last week on the legislation attracted about a dozen lobbyists, only one of them representing an environmental group. The group was dominated by representatives of utilities and business interests, some of who questioned the need for any springs legislation.

    You don't have to reinvent this wheel, said Doug Mann, representing Associated Industries of Florida. The toolkit's out there. It's putting the money towards that toolkit and setting some parameters.

    Rhetoric about the state already having enough regulatory tools to protect its water resources has become a popular excuse for inaction. It's disingenuous for groups seeking to weaken regulations to claim that the state has all the regulations it needs.

    The Legislature passed minimum flows and levels for springs and rivers more than 30 years ago. Now that regulators are finally setting them, special interests are trying to chip away at those protections.

    Mandates to develop basin management action plans to clean up polluted water bodies passed about 15 years ago. The first of those cleanup plans for springs was not established until 2012. Plans will be developed for another 140 or more springs this year, the DEP says.

    This is dramatic, said Herschel Vinyard, secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. And we did it with the tools we have in our toolbox today.

    Yet tools also have been taken out of that toolbox. Legislation passed in 2010 would have required Florida's 2.7 million septic tanks to undergo inspections to ensure they are properly working. Special interest and tea party pressure led to the bill's repeal just two years later.

    Go here to read the rest:
    Editorial: Talk is cheap

    Sewer line controversy bubbles up in Mid-Mich. community - February 20, 2014 by admin

    HAMPTON TOWNSHIP, MI (WNEM) -

    A sewer line connection issue has some residents crying foul in a Mid-Michigan community.

    Hampton Township residentsRussell Gunther and Louis Czuba claim there is a very serious health issue going on in the Bay County community because dozens of residents aren't being required to hook up their homes to the township sewer system.

    "I'd like to see some action taken in the right way, to correct this so we can safeguard the health of the township people, that's the number one concern" said Czuba.

    The two men have taken their concerns to Hampton Township officials. Township supervisor Tom Foret says it's been on the books since 1965. But he saysthe townshipnever enforced the lawby sending out letters informing residents they need to hook up to the sewer system if they live within two hundred feet of the line because officialsfelt it would puta hardship onresidents of a twelveto 15-thousand dollar expense."We feel if there's no health issue, we don't feel it's right or fair" says Foret.

    Foret says township officials have contacted Bay County Health officials about the issue,who say there are no health concerns in relation to septic tanks in the township.He says if a septic tank system fails residents are then required to hook up to the sewer system.

    But Gunther disagrees, saying"It boils down to health issues, as far as I'm concerned. Gunther says sewage from septic tankscould seep into the soil and it's not clear where it could go. Heconcerned that septic tanks in his neighborhood could rupture or cause problems."We're trying to clean up our environment" Gunther said.

    One thing Gunther and Foret agree on. Gunther says the township fears lawsuits from residents who would be forced to hook onto the sewer system. Foret says that's true.

    "For a $15,000 expense they'll hire an attorney and fight it and I don't want to use tax dollars to throw away for not a just cause" said Foret.

    Click here to sign up for Breaking News texts, here for our email newsletters and alerts and here to follow us on Twitter.

    Original post:
    Sewer line controversy bubbles up in Mid-Mich. community

    Guest Spot: Nothing simple about our water crisis - February 18, 2014 by admin

    The view from Route 105 bridge at Indian Island golf course as the Peconic River leads into the Bay. (Barbaraellen Koch Photo)

    Protecting our surface and ground waters is L.I.s public issue number one. The L.I. 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 L.I.s history, when you extend sewer systems, high-density residential and commercial develop follows. Always has. Always will. So what problems do extended sewer systems and more development add to our current water problems?

    Many.

    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 L.I.s 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, our 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.

    Originally posted here:
    Guest Spot: Nothing simple about our water crisis

    Hints from Heloise 2/15/2014 - February 16, 2014 by admin

    Grounds for Problems

    Dear Heloise: In a recent Washington Post article, you stated that leftover COFFEE GROUNDS should never be put down the garbage disposal. Why? Al S., via email

    Al, you and many readers were curious, so heres the scoop. Its not that the disposal wont handle them; it does grind up all sorts of food. Its when they go down the drain and supposedly disappear into the sewer system. That black hole in the kitchen sink is attached to the plumbing, and thats where the problem might come up and, well, really stop things up!

    Look under the kitchen sink, and you will see a P-trap (I say it looks like a bent elbow). If you dont run enough water (and most folks dont), the grounds can get stuck in there or in the plumbing farther down the line.

    Then you add other foods scraped from plates, or you wash a pan that has grease or oil on it. Combine all of these factors, and you just might end up with a clogged drain. My mantra: Its better to prevent a problem than to have to deal with one.

    When in doubt, throw it out! If you live in a house, the plumbing can run a long way to the sewer or septic system.

    Hope this helps clear up the coffee-grounds question. Heloise

    PET PAL

    Dear Readers: Debra Amos in Moulton, Ala., sent a photo of her blue-eyed Lab puppy, Crystal Dynasty, sleeping wedged between furniture. She was named after her owners alma maters numerous national football championship titles. She is full of personality and has become the ambassador for a nonprofit organization that her owner runs. To see Crystals photo, go to http://www.Heloise.com and click on Pets. - Heloise

    YEAR-ROUND LABELS

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    Hints from Heloise 2/15/2014

    Charlotte investigating illegal chemicals dumped into sewer system - February 8, 2014 by admin

    Charlotte investigating illegal dumping into Charlotte's water sewer system. (WSOC)

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WSOC) The city of Charlotte is asking for the publics help in trying to find the person who illegally dumped chemicals into Mallard Creek.

    Officials held a media briefing Friday morning to share details on the investigation into the illegal dumping.

    City Manager Ron Carlee, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities Director Barry Gullet, CFD Hazmat Deputy Jeff Dulin and CMPD Detective Rob Klass were in attendance.

    Officials said that on Thursday, CFD hazmat crews responded to reports of an unusual substance flowing into the Mallard Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant on U.S. 29 North. An oily sheen could be seen on the surface of the water. The flow was contained in a holding tank until it was determined that it was safe to return the plant for service. The plant was back online Friday morning.

    We worked through the night to make adjustments in the plant to be sure that we could handle the product and that we could produce safe and clean wastewater from the plant. So the plant, like Mr. Carlee said, is back online, and is functioning this morning, Gullett said.

    The chemical has been identified as polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs and trichlorobenzene. Officials said the citys water supply has not been affected by the illegal dumping and that this was an isolated incident in Mallard Creek.

    Police think this is a case of illegal and deliberate dumping. They are asking anyone who may have seen anything suspicious late Wednesday evening or early Thursday morning near the Food Lion grocery store along Sugar Creek Road and W.T. Harris Boulevard to call police.

    A Food Lion representative said the company is working closely with the City, EPA and other agencies to investigate the possibility of a third-party illegally dumping chemicals into a sewer drain near our Food Lion Store located at Sugar Creek Road and Harris Boulevard. Food Lion is working with authorities in the investigation to lead to the ultimate arrest of any and all individuals responsible for this situation.

    The drinking water is safe, including the well water that many people in this area use, officials said, however they want people living along Mallard Creek south of the plant to be careful and avoid animal and human contact with the water until more tests can be done.

    Go here to see the original:
    Charlotte investigating illegal chemicals dumped into sewer system

    Lenroc pays for study on how Ephrata system handles chemicals - February 8, 2014 by admin

    EPHRATA Ephrata is looking how its septic system could serve heavy industry.

    The city agreed to hire Gray and Osborne to review how well the sewer system could handle the waste from Lenroc. The Ephrata fertilizer company wants to connect to the citys system.

    The $2,200 bill for the study will be paid by Lenroc, City Administrator Wes Crago said. The company is located at the north side of the port.

    Theyve got a number of interesting chemical compounds that they work through, he said. They would like to see if its possible to use our sanitary sewer system to process their discharge.

    City officials are concerned what chemicals would go into the citys wastewater treatment plant, and how they would affect it.

    Before we can say, Yes or no, we need to have a study done about what we can accept and what they would need to pretreat, Crago said.

    The study will give the city more information about what the sewer system can support. He said the sewer system at the port isnt designed for heavy industry.

    This could give us some more knowledge (about) what we would need to do to make ourselves more postured for heavy industry, Crago said. (It would) definitely tell us what we can and cant do.

    Excerpt from:
    Lenroc pays for study on how Ephrata system handles chemicals

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