Monday, January 01, 2007

The SewerWatch prediction for Los Osos in 2007: It's going to be a beautiful year

My predictions for 2007:

By year's end, Los Osos will be a model community on how to handle sewage, as the entire community installs hi-tech, modern, composting toilets, a solution that officials with the Regional Water Quality Control Board say will immediately lead to improved water quality in the region.

Micro-loans of about $5,000 will be supplied by the State of California to cover the cost of the system and its installation.

The building prohibition in Los Osos will be lifted.

And cottage industries will sprout up in the area to service the systems and profit from the compost.

It's going to be a beautiful thing.

According to a RWQCB document, composting toilets are not only an alternative to a sewer system, they considered "requiring" them in Los Osos.

The document reads, "Advanced treatment units (for improved effluent quality), portable toilets and/or composting toilets (for reduced discharges, as discussed in previous section regarding prohibiting black water discharges) could be required."

It continues, "For those existing discharges where such alternatives are implemented, water quality improvement will occur."

Which brings up the $150 million question: Will the RWQCB rope Los Osos into building a $150 million sewer system just to handle dishwater, and such, or will they allow property owners in the prohibition zone to install composting toilets, achieve "zero-discharge" black water, and then just use their septic system for grey water? And, according to documents, every property owner that chooses that route will not have to pay for the sewer, and other property owners will have to pick up that portion of the sewer assessment, until the monthly sewer assessment is so great that everyone else will simply install modern composting toilets, arguably a preferred method of... how should I put this?... relieving oneself.

The staff at the RWQCB all but rave about composting toilets. In their document, it reads, "... it remains one of the few alternatives, which can result in water quality improvement and is not subject to Coastal Commission approval."

Not subject to Coastal Commission approval.

In another State document it reads, "Under certain circumstances, grey water systems may be an acceptable method of disposal in conjunction with a composting toilet or holding tank to handle black water. Grey water systems shall be installed in accordance with the California Plumbing Code (24 Cal. Code of Regs., Part 5) and the local administrative authority. If properly constructed and operated, grey water systems are not expected to create a nuisance or pollution."

In another State document it reads: "The use of composting toilets should be encouraged because this will help address nitrate problems."

A brilliant wastewater expert in Canada recently wrote:

"Here is an interesting situation: Los Osos could provide every resident with a composting toilet and greywater processing flower bed for less than the cost of a new sewage treatment plant.

Voila....low cost, environmentally innovative, no nasty effluent into groundwater or the ocean, no significant draw down of potable water supplies.

And no debate about who has the sludge or sewage treatment in their backyard.

Los Osos, like Victoria British Colombia, Halifax Nova Scotia, and King City Ontario could look at composting toilets to meet their community needs. With large scale installations and professional municipal maintenance, the rewards could be immense."


Absolutely brilliant.

A web site dedicated to composting toilets reads:

"If a community were to embrace the total use of composting toilets and appropriate greywater systems, it would have no sewage charges, sewage pipe installations and maintenance costs.

The community would also have greatly reduced water costs.

It could also reduce its rubbish collection charges through recycling most vegetable matter, and would be able to produce valuable compost and worm castings for sale or reuse in community and private gardens."


I recently sent an e-mail to Mark Fong of the State Water Board's Division of Financial Assistance, that read:

"Hello Mr. Fong,

I was wondering if you could tell me if there is a small State loan available for a property owner that wants to install a composting toilet so they can stop using their septic system for black water discharges that are polluting groundwater?"

If he responds, I'll post it.

I'm tellin' ya, it's going to be a beautiful year in Los Osos.

###

18 Comments:

  • Ron, if you go to the RWQCB website and read their latest posting for the Jan 22 CDO hearings, you'll see they've change the playing field AGAIN. Now there's no mention of nitrates or mitigation or pollution or the waters of the state of California. Nothing but the word "discharge." If you live in the PZ and "discharge" ANYTHING -- spit in your sink, wash it down with drinking water, it comes out of your septic tank pipe, YOU'RE GUILTY and will get a CDO and/or a $5,000 a day fine and /or have to abandon your home. Pollution now has nothing to do with anything. So nothing will be permitted by the RWQCB except hooking up to a sewer they approve of by 2011. Period. End of sentence. Until they change the playing field AGAIN, thereby jerking around everyone in the PZ AGAIN. Welcome to 2007. Happy new year.

    By Blogger Churadogs, at 7:14 AM, January 02, 2007  

  • A sewer is not about pollution people, it's about groundwater management. We need to harness the used water, clean it up a little, and use it again, and again. Or we'll be out of water and importing state water. We'll be just like Nipomo in a few years, up a creek without water for the people that live there now. We are the culprits, we are using too much water, we have no sense of conservation, and are guilty of our own seawater intrusion. We're under the wrong mandate...to clean up water is not a big deal, it's about managing the basin, that's the big deal and if we don't do it right the state will come in and manage it for us, there conventional thinking will be to run a pipe from Chorro Valley across South Bay Blvd. and that's it...there's your build out, let's all remember that the General Plan still says we'll have a build out of 28,000 people, dear God, that's like Goleta.
    Los Ososians should want a sewer to protect supply, it's not necessarily about pollution! Whatever we do should be a communitywide plan, the PZ is a bunch of bunk!

    By Anonymous H2O mizer, at 7:55 AM, January 02, 2007  

  • Ann wrote:

    "If you live in the PZ and "discharge" ANYTHING -- spit in your sink, wash it down with drinking water, it comes out of your septic tank pipe, YOU'RE GUILTY "

    It seems to me that the key phrase there is: "out of your septic tank pipe."

    If a home owner were to install a composting toilet AND a "greywater garden," as that brilliant Canadian wastewater expert suggests, or another type of appropriate greywater system, then, when the RWQCB asks that home owner if they are operating a "septic system" -- as they do in the very first paragraph of those CDOs -- that property owner will be able to answer, "No." Therefore, NOT GUILTY. Buh-bye CDO. Hello new construction with composting toilets and a greywater garden.

    "Happy new year."

    Thank you. And a happy new year to you, too.

    H2O Mizer wrote:

    "A sewer is not about pollution people, it's about groundwater management. We need to harness the used water, clean it up a little, and use it again, and again."

    You might find this web site interesting:
    The Sustainable Home Water System

    By Blogger Ron, at 9:07 AM, January 02, 2007  

  • The more I research this very interesting topic, the more I come across Canadian references. Apparently, our neighbors to the North are really good at this kind of stuff:

    Ontario Onsite Wastewater Association (OOWA)

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:00 AM, January 02, 2007  

  • If this web site, Smart Communities Network, isn't enough to make a PZ property owner go the "composting toilets/greywater system" route, then you are either Joyce Albright, Pandora Nash-Karner, Gordon Hensley (who refers to himself as the "San Luis Obispo Coastkeeper," by the way), Richard Legros, Bob Semonsen, or Frank Fryler.

    Let me see if I have this straight: Exhaust fans ensure an odorless system, it's energy efficient, it reduces water consumption by 50%, AND it supplies free, automatic irrigation? Are you kidding me? Where do I sign-up, and I don't even live in Los Osos. These things sound sweet.

    What I find so interesting is that the "composting toilets/greywater system" route aligns perfectly with the Los Osos Vision Statement.

    By Blogger Ron, at 11:02 AM, January 02, 2007  

  • Composting toilets? Great idea. Just one small problem. Members of the 45 tried this avenue back in February and were told by the Water Gods that composting toilets would NOT be allowed in Los Osos.

    The Gods are set to block any alternative methods of compliance. Protecting the environment is not their primary goal. This is one reason that some of us continue to fight. Please support our cause.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:00 PM, January 02, 2007  

  • Will there be detergent police to ensure that we do not use all the wacky chemicals that are in most detergents, fabric and water softeners, etc.? Also, my friend has the strangest gray film on the portion of her lawn and bare soil that gets the outfall from her neighbor's graywater release.

    We have considerably less rainffall than our northern neighbors to dilute what we pour into the ground. That is part of the environmental mitigations that need to be considered.

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 4:13 PM, January 02, 2007  

  • Anonymous sez:"The Gods are set to block any alternative methods of compliance. Protecting the environment is not their primary goal. This is one reason that some of us continue to fight. Please support our cause."

    Along with the other statement, "the PZ is bunk," as in scientifically unsupportble -- it was always the BASIN, not some artificial lines on a town map -- True, too true, which is what makes this entire problem so tragic. There have always been many ways to skin this cat, but you have a scientifically challenged water board and staff (remember, Briggs was the CEO who apparently dreamed up or ran with that mad pumping scheme. NOBODY who knew anything about septics would have come up with that piece of lunacy. NOBODY>)

    and sewertoons sez:"Will there be detergent police to ensure that we do not use all the wacky chemicals that are in most detergents, fabric and water softeners, etc.? Also, my friend has the strangest gray film on the portion of her lawn and bare soil that gets the outfall from her neighbor's graywater release.

    We have considerably less rainffall than our northern neighbors to dilute what we pour into the ground. That is part of the environmental mitigations that need to be considered."

    Exactly, more cats that need skinning and as title 22 requirements keep getting higher and higher, our skinning methods better be flexible and adaptable for future changes.

    Right now the Show Trials the RWQCB are conducting against the 45 are a complete distraction and waste of time and money. It's clear reading how the RWQCB keeps changing the playing field, changing the goal posts, re-writing the language, torturing and changing the meanings, they're flailing away to get something -- ANYTHING -- accomplished or look like they've done something -- ANYTHING -- even though it's all a waste of time and energy. Once again, scientifically unsound regulators, unchecked, running amok, and running the risk of jeopardizing the county's plans. (Does anyone think, as has been mentioned, that some Los Osos citizen won't challenge the 218 vote as being coerced by these CAOs and CDOs and that the hearings themselves constitute illegal electioneering? More delay, caused -- again -- by the actions of the RWQCB?

    By Blogger Churadogs, at 7:30 AM, January 03, 2007  

  • Anon wrote:

    "Members of the 45 tried this avenue back in February and were told by the Water Gods that composting toilets would NOT be allowed in Los Osos."

    According to the CDOs, composting toilets alone would not be allowed, because the septic tank would still be used for greywater, but it seems that if a property owner were to install a composting toilet AND a greywater system (CT/GS), the RWQCB really wouldn't have a say in it. If a property owner were to go that route, they would not be operating a septic system that "consists of a septic tank that discharges wastewater to an on-site subsurface disposal facility." That wording is straight from the CDO.

    I don't see how the RWQCB even comes into play. Go CT/GS, and when they ask if you're discharging to a "subsurface disposal facility," you can say, "No, have a nice day, buh-bye." It takes them completely out of the loop. According to a State document, all you have to do is adhere to some plumbing codes, and get the local administrative's authority to go CT/GS. (I'm guessing that's the county in this case.)

    When the 45 tried that back in February, did they also say they were going to include a greywater system? That's the kicker, and there are several greywater system options.

    Remember, it was the RWQCB that brought up this idea in the first place when they said a composting toilet "will" clean water and doesn't require Coastal Commission approval.

    'toons wrote:

    "Will there be detergent police to ensure that we do not use all the wacky chemicals that are in most detergents, fabric and water softeners, etc.? Also, my friend has the strangest gray film on the portion of her lawn and bare soil that gets the outfall from her neighbor's graywater release.

    We have considerably less rainffall than our northern neighbors to dilute what we pour into the ground. That is part of the environmental mitigations that need to be considered."


    So? Use filters or something in your greywater system... whatever it takes. Also, keep in mind, you don't have to go this route, but for everyone that chooses the CT/GS route, they won't have to pay for the sewer, which means everyone else's bill will be higher. If 20-percent go the CT/GS route, then the other 80-percent's bill will go through the roof, and that will entice many of them to go that route, which will make everyone's sewer bill even higher, and so on and so on until everyone but Pandora is CT/GS.

    Ann wrote:

    "... and any wastewater, even the most benign, is considered a "discharge". "

    Yes, but according to the CDOs, that "discharge" has to come from a "subsurface disposal facility." CT/GS has no "subsurface disposal facility."

    "So far, what they've been dong for the past year is to keep refining and changing the language to make it do what they want done..."

    Well, then they are going to have to change this language: "subsurface disposal facility," to get around a CT/GS, and I don't see that happening. What they want done is for LO to stop using their septic tanks. Period.

    Remember, CTs are THEIR idea as an alternative to a sewer.

    "... they would then slap monitoring fees and discharge permits on you... "

    I'd be interested in seeing the documentation on that.

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:02 AM, January 03, 2007  

  • The WB rejected the composting toilet idea back when the CDOs were for discharging "nitrates". This was before, through multiple revisions, the CDOs morphed into "stopping all discharges". The WB then claimed that the county would not allow composting toilets in LO.

    At the last hearing, the Proseccution Team could not come up with any acceptable alternative compliance. They tried to give one rediculous dinasaur type suggestion, not realizing that their own documents had specifically negated it years ago. This persecution is not about the environment, it is about "bending the will of the people"

    Money and power are the big motivators. Does the WB really want Tri W? Or are they pushing us in that direction so we will rebel and they can fine us? The settlement options that they offered are not really looking for a settlement, but are making enforcement of future fines much easier for them.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:58 AM, January 03, 2007  

  • In Anon's good post, it said:

    "At the last hearing, the Proseccution Team could not come up with any acceptable alternative compliance. "

    Did they consider this one? After all, it's mostly their idea.

    Just, remember, composting toilets alone won't get around the CDO. It has to be a combination of composting toilet and an appropriate greywater system (and there are a bunch of very cool ones available).

    Did the Prosecution Team consider THAT alternative? It's mostly their's.

    To tell you the truth, I'm not seeing how the RWQCB is even in the loop at all in this deal. It's the property owner's decision to go the CT/GS route. The RWQCB are the ones that have always said they can't tell you which system to use, they just want "zero discharge" out of your septic tank. The CT/GS combo accomplishes exactly that... exactly... in a very modern, elegant, and gentle way, I must add.

    Why would the RWQCB have any say in that at all?

    According to documents, it's the "administrative agency's" call on the CT/GS route. Who is that in this case? Is that the LOCSD? Could you imagine? Or is it the County? Which would bring up one of the best questions ever:

    What's the county going to do when a PZ property owner, preferably a vacant property owner, walks up to them tomorrow and says, "May I please be permitted to install a lean and mean, kick-ass, on-site waste disposal method that the RWQCB has already said is not only feasible, but "will" immediately begin cleaning water? AND my elegant, efficient, environmentally friendly system does not require Coastal Commission approval. AND, I can have it installed in a month. AND, combined with my lean and mean, kick-ass greywater system, I will instantly come into compliance with 83-13 because I am no longer discharging one drop from my septic tank. AND, the system uses 50% less household water, therefore less saltwater intrusion. Well county? You don't mind if I do that, do you?"

    If the county's answer to that excellent question is simply, "Sounds good to us," as it must be, then the RWQCB is no longer in the loop for that property owner, AT ALL, same with the Coastal Commission, according to RWQCB documents.

    Buh-bye... been nice knowin' ya.

    By Blogger Ron, at 12:52 PM, January 03, 2007  

  • Ron ....... what are you smoking?

    Herein lies the rub: The RWQCB isn't looking for and doesn't want a solution for clean water or nitrate reduction. If that was their prime objective they wouldn't have lead with the CDO's. As Ann (and many others) have pointed out repeatedly the CDO's delay effective mitigation. It is clear to any objective observer that clean water is no longer the most important driver in this game. Any idiot can see that. Even the RWQCB and their staff have to admit to that during their more lucid moments. (Assuming they have any.) No, clean water is no longer a primary issue. What is the real and current issue is not clearly evident. Given such murkiness it is easy to imagine all kinds of weird drivers including conspiracies.

    Anonymous > "This persecution is not about the environment, it is about 'bending the will of the people' ".

    Even that ascribes too high a political motive to the RWQCB's questionable and, ultimately, counter-productive actions. Far easier to say 'personal spitefulness' than 'bending the will of the people'. The only purpose in bending the will of people is to turn them into compliant sheep. Yeah, turning the people of Los Osos into heardable sheep might help to ensure the passage of whatever Measure 218 is presented. But that suggests a degree of thoughtful strategic planning not evident in the previous actions of the RWQCB. Overly sensitive and power hungry personalities fit the historical model much better. How we inherited such a bag of dim-witted overly-sensitive power-hungry governmental agents can only be explained through the Peter Principle. Or as a perfect example of American politics at work. Probably some of both.

    Anonymous again > Money and power are the big motivators.

    Isn't that always the case? When in doubt, especially when things are murky, follow the money. We've learned this lesson time and again. It almost never fails. The money path might not be traceable yet but sooner or later ..... Someday, probably within the next five or ten years we will look back and see who was pulling which strings to gain whatever. < sigh > .... and the beat goes on.

    Now back to the original thread -
    Simply put it's hard to imagine any of the cooks in this kitchen (RWQCB, the county, coastal commission, TW, etc.) allowing any discharges what-so-ever for anything other than a central sewer. Technology, reason and effective solutions are NOT the influencers in this decision. If they were don't ya think some of them might have gained a little advantage already? As previous commentors have said, the goal posts will keep moving for whatever alternatives may come up no matter how good the solution. Even Steve's installed and monitored solution, one that by the time the sewer is finally built will probably have generated years of proven data proving it is performing better than the sewer will ever perform, will need to be de-commissioned and he will be forced to tie into the sewer. Go figure. Nope, the only possible alternative(s) that has even the remotest chance of not having to connect to the Taj MaSew is one that has absolutely Zero Discharge. That means nothing leaves the boundary of the lot or percolates downward except to be hauled away in bags and pots. And even then you're gonna have to say where you're taking it.

    I wish it wasn't so. Ron's fantasy isn't impossible. I agree with him. It is doable. If minimal nitrate pollution, clean water for the basin and water conservation were the primary objectives there are legitimate alternatives to the Great Sewer of Los Osos. Which really doesn't address any of those targets. But you're smoking some fine weed if you think you could present that proposal to ..... anybody and get it passed. What part of 'Government agencies don't like creative solutions' don't you understand? You'd be hardpressed to get the county to buy off on this for a single dwelling sitting alone at the top of its own mountain 5 miles east of Santa Margarita. Tain't gonna happen in Los Osos. Not unless you can get everybody else as high as you are ;-)

    Rules and reg's notwithstanding, Los Osos can't even build an old-fashioned sewer much less gather the necessary fortitude and buy-in required to build a model community sewage system for the new century. Now that would be a dream worth saving.

    By Blogger *PG-13, at 2:29 PM, January 03, 2007  

  • Nice post PG! You've nailed the situation right on the head. It's sad, but true. And Ron should share his smokables! Might take some of the edge off over here in Baywood Park.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:28 PM, January 03, 2007  

  • PG-13 sez:"Anonymous > "This persecution is not about the environment, it is about 'bending the will of the people' ".

    Even that ascribes too high a political motive to the RWQCB's questionable and, ultimately, counter-productive actions. Far easier to say 'personal spitefulness' than 'bending the will of the people'. The only purpose in bending the will of people is to turn them into compliant sheep. Yeah, turning the people of Los Osos into heardable sheep might help to ensure the passage of whatever Measure 218 is presented. But that suggests a degree of thoughtful strategic planning not evident in the previous actions of the RWQCB."

    In the search for "reasons" I would add a few more: Just who DID breach the SRF Loan contract? Just who authorized the dispersal of the additional $40 million in SRF UNSECURED money on the say-so of three people (CSD board members) facing recall in a few weeks (despite emails from other board members and the community warning of a train wreck ahead)? Is this the usual practice of the folks who are handling the SRF loan program? Do the Feds know their money is being handled in this careless way? Is it to the benefit of certain people on the SWB to CYA on this by "burying" both Los Osos and and evidence? i.e. kill off the CSD's breach of contract suit so NOBODY finds out just who pulled the plug or can ask any questions about just how that loan was written? Mighty powerful career-breaker questions can make for some mighty powerful efforts to bury the victim before an autopsy can be performed, methinks.

    By Blogger Churadogs, at 7:49 AM, January 04, 2007  

  • PG-13 wrote:

    "Even Steve's installed and monitored solution"...

    But, does he still discharge ANYTHING from his septic tank? You can't do that. You need to fill your septic tank with cement.

    "If they were don't ya think some of them might have gained a little advantage already?"

    That's a good question. Well, if the RWQCB wasn't putting out all this misinformation like community-wide implementation of composting toilets would be more expensive than a sewer (it wouldn't -- it'd actually be about a third of the cost) AND, when the RWQCB says composting toilets won't get around a CDO, like, apparently, they have, they are right on that. However, what they neglect to mention is that if you also mix in a greywater system, NOW you're around the CDO. Add all that up, and it starts to become clear why this alternative has not gained a little advantage.

    "... the only possible alternative(s) that has even the remotest chance of not having to connect to the Taj MaSew is one that has absolutely Zero Discharge."

    The CT/GS IS absolutely Zero Discharge. The only discharge would be treated greywater into a specially designed garden, and that discharge ain't coming out if a septic tank. So, until the RWQCB determines that your treated greywater is polluting the groundwater, which I'm sure they'll get right on, the RWQCB is not in your life anymore.

    "That means nothing leaves the boundary of the lot or percolates downward except to be hauled away in bags and pots."

    That's not what 83-13 says. 83-13 says you can't discharge out of your septic tank. Period. That's it. So, put in a CT/GS and fill your septic tank with cement.

    "What part of 'Government agencies don't like creative solutions' don't you understand?"

    The only agency involved would be the County. Like I said above, the RWQCB has zero say in the matter. Personally, I don't see why a homeowner couldn't just go ahead and put one of these systems in, as long as they followed the proper plumbing and building codes (I did some research, and both these things -- composting toilets and greywater systems -- are very hi-tech, yet their installation is very low impact. There's even one that flushes with a pint of water and takes everything outside to the sealed composter. Too cool.), then instantly come into compliance with 83-13. Instantly.

    I'm currently checking to find out if there are special regulations in the county, other than plumbing and building codes, involved. If there are special regulations, then find a way around them. They are likely outdated.

    If there are no special regulations on the books governing hi-tech composting toilets in SLO County, then just slap one in, along with a hi-tech irrigating greywater system, complete with plants that are designed to munch up greywater stuff -- as communities from Canada to Australia are doing -- and you will be 83-13 compliant. You will be. It's that close. It really is. F--k what the RWQCB has to say. You are zero dischargin', baby. Your septic tank is filled with cement. F the RWQCB. The Regional who?

    "... much less gather the necessary fortitude and buy-in required to build a model community sewage system... "

    Fortitude unnecessary. If 5% went that route, the other 95% would eventually follow.

    "Ron ....... what are you smoking?"

    No comment.

    Ann wrote:

    "Mighty powerful career-breaker questions can make for some mighty powerful efforts to bury the victim before an autopsy can be performed, methinks."

    Methinks too.

    By Blogger Ron, at 11:15 AM, January 04, 2007  

  • My heart wants to say "Oh yes! What a delightful and wonderful idea. So reasonable. So logical. And a legal slam-dunk!. Let's do it!!"

    Please forgive my mind for it's ugly pessimism.

    Most everything you say sounds good. It almost sounds like it might just play. Assuming they don't move the goal posts again. And again. Then again in response to such reasonable resolution of the primary issues (nitrate pollution, clean water recharge and water conservation). I kinda feel like Sancho Panza to your Don Quixote de la Mancha wherein 'Quixote attempts to apply a knight's sure, simple morality to situations in which much more complex issues are at hand.' (citation) Ann, are you up for the role of Dulcinea (nee Aldonza)? I'm getting tired of falling down the rabbit hole. Let's change it up a bit. Gee, I wonder who can stand in for the Spanish Inquisition?

    Ron > The CT/GS IS absolutely Zero Discharge. The only discharge would be treated greywater into a specially designed garden, and that discharge ain't coming out if a septic tank. So, until the RWQCB determines that your treated greywater is polluting the groundwater, which I'm sure they'll get right on, the RWQCB is not in your life anymore.

    Ahh, and therein lies another rub. Your point that 83-13 is limited to discharge from a septic tank is both valid and just another goal post. As you suggest, even you don't think they aren't going to amend that to include any discharge from the dwelling. That's a no-brainer. And then the RWQCB is very much back in the game front-and-center. As previously alluded to, there is more afoot here than simply low nitrate pollution and clean water. There are, seemingly, vested interests to be protected and the goal posts are going to be moved to protect those interests. Get used to it.

    Plus there is a fundamental systems problem with greywater irrigation gardens. Simply put, they can't be easily monitored and centrally managed. They require some attention and commitment to make work. For those who are willing to pay that attention and give that commitment a CT/GS system is an effective alternate solution. They would work just fine and the basin would be better off for it. Certainly better than most of the sewer systems being discussed. But they aren't for everybody. I daresay only a fraction of the population would pay the price to ensure appropriate performance of such a system. But monitoring and managing those systems which are not being well managed creates a compliance dilemma. Policing people's behavior - especially their domestic toiletry and waste water discharge - is the crux. Until the powers-that-be can be convinced that each on-site system is being used correctly and performing appropriately and performance failures can be quickly identified and corrected we're not gonna win this battle. That's not to say there aren't technical solutions for even this. It can be made to work. Its been proven to work. But it requires more than either the population of Los Osos or the controlling agencies have shown any willingness to make work.

    >> Ron ....... what are you smoking?"

    Ron > No comment.

    Cool. Can I come over and drink some of your brew?

    By Blogger *PG-13, at 6:06 PM, January 04, 2007  

  • PG-13 wrote:

    "Assuming they don't move the goal posts again. "

    I happen to disagree with that take. They may keep moving the kicking spot around, but the goal posts have been firmly planted in the exact same place since 1988. The bottom, bottom line: You need to fill your septic tank with cement. That's a real thing. It's called "decommissioning" your septic tank, and that's been the only goal since day one. If you were to go down to the hardware store today, and buy a bunch of bags of cement, mix them with some water and pour them in your septic tank, you would instantly come into compliance with 83-13. Then, all you have to do is hook up a CT/GS, and away you go. Remember, the CT doesn't discharge a thing, so you won't need a discharge permit. In fact, I can't think of any permits that you would need, unless there's a permit required to have a composting bin in your backyard.

    "As you suggest, even you don't think they aren't going to amend that to include any discharge from the dwelling. "

    If they did, it would make it so you can't water your garden with a hose? Using the logic above, that'd be considered a discharge.

    " But they aren't for everybody."

    So? Who cares? Trust me, if they are for 5% of the PZ, they WILL be for everybody. Economic realities will dictate it.

    "Policing people's behavior - especially their domestic toiletry and waste water discharge - is the crux. "

    It's against the law to dump your used motor oil in your backyard, but some scumbags still do it. Fortunately, the vast majority of us are not scumbags, and we do the right thing voluntarily. Also, that's an entirely different argument than 83-13. We'll cross that bridge IF we come to it.

    "Until the powers-that-be can be convinced that each on-site system is being used correctly and performing appropriately and performance failures can be quickly identified and corrected we're not gonna win this battle. "

    The powers-that-be, in this case, are the property owners. All you have to do is purchase the system, hire a contractor to install it, and fill your septic tank with SEEEEE-MENT. What's stopping anyone from doing that today? As far as I know, it's not against the law to have a composting bin in your backyard. And, keep in mind, the composting toilet idea was the RWQCB's. They considered "requiring" them in Los Osos. That means you can consider them "approved" in Los Osos, or anywhere else, for that matter.

    "Cool. Can I come over and drink some of your brew?"

    How's this: We'll all meet for a drink some day at Mike Green's wine bar... that his contractor will build atop his composting bin compartment. (Oh, that reminds me... the irrigating greywater system will ensure that everyone in the PZ gets a community garden. That should make Pandora happy.)

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:13 AM, January 05, 2007  

  • Just some quick housecleaning:

    Above I misspelled Richard Legros, and Frank Fryler.

    The corrrect spelling is:

    Richard LeGros and Frank Freiler (sorry 'bout that guys... ohhhhh, my old journalism professors would have frowned on that).

    By Blogger Ron, at 9:29 AM, January 08, 2007  

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