Friday, June 25, 2010

Los Fábrica del Fertilizante" -- The Series: Sierra Club, I Thank You in Advance for Your Support

TO: Andrew Christie, Director, Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club
DATE: 6/25/10

Hello Andrew,

Long time, no talk ; -)

Hey, real quick...

I just read your letter to the editor in a recent New Times where you write about the "Sierra Club's work to promote clean energy solutions," and I was hoping that I could get your organization's support for something I'm working on that involves "clean energy solutions."

On my blog, SewerWatch, I recently exposed how the SLO County Public Works Department failed to include composting toilets in their EIR for the Los Osos wastewater project, and how the one reason they gave for not including composting toilets in the EIR proved to be faulty.

They assumed that, because "the majority of residents" in Los Osos MAY not want composting toilets, that it made that option "infeasible," and therefore, because only "feasible" options can be included in an EIR, composting toilets were left out.

However, as I showed in my piece, the composting toilet option is entirely up to the individual property owner, which means that the "majority of residents" argument when it comes to composting toilets in Los Osos, is completely irrelevant, which, in turn, means that composting toilets SHOULD have been included in the EIR, and HAD they been, almost certainly, that option would have come out on top as the most "environmentally preferable" option... by far.

Furthermore, I also uncovered (three years ago) a Regional Water Quality Control Board document -- Item 19 -- where they all but rave about composting toilets in Los Osos, and even considered "requiring" them in the Prohibition Zone, saying that composting toilets are "one of the few alternatives" that "will" lead to improved water quality, and are "not subject to Coastal Commission approval."

Also, I personally know people in SLO County that are currently using composting toilets (with the county's blessing), and they love them.

Additionally, according to composting toilet web sites, "The widescale use of composting toilets would be very beneficial to the environment. Reduced water use would minimise storage and piping impacts, elimination of sewage would reduce nutrient flows into river and oceans and subsequent rejuvenation of marine systems."

So, considering that the SLO County Public Works Department failed to include composting toilets in the Los Osos wastewater project EIR due solely to faulty reasoning, and if they HAD included that option, it would have, almost certainly, come out on top... by far, I'm now urging property owners in the PZ that either 1) can't afford the pending $200 - $300/month sewer assessment, or 2) want to do the environmentally correct thing, or 3) both, to take the initiative to just go and buy a composting toilet system, install it, and then argue "no benefit, no assessment," as an alternative to the County's proposed $180 million community-wide sewer system.

And here's where the Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club, and your "work to promote clean energy solutions" comes in.

Can I get your organization's support for my effort -- to encourage the use of composting toilets in Los Osos -- which are, by far, the most environmentally sensitive "alternative" for Los Osos, that the RWQCB once considered "requiring in the Prohibition Zone, and was left out of the Los Osos wastewater project EIR due solely to the county's faulty reasoning?

Considering your organization is all about the environment, and "works to promote clean energy solutions," my request seems like a no-brainer, so I thank you in advance.

If you have any questions, please just ask.

As always, much thanks,

P.S. I've published this e-mail on my blog:

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[NOTE: Neither Paavo Ogren or Supervisor, Bruce Gibson, responded to my recent e-mails to them, here, and here]



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