Environmental Press # 44

Subj: $16: "Sewage remedy may cost less"
Date: Wed, 03 Jul 2002 16:23:37 -0700
From: Doug Korthof <doug@seal-beach.org>
To: voiceforveterans@aol.com (via CleanOcean@orange-county.net)

One suspects that the true cost of going to full secondary treatment, like anything else, is much less than OCSD has claimed. It's always less when you start out doing things the right way from the get-go. For example, without the waiver, the expensive, extensive "ocean monitoring program" would not be necessary; if we used innovative methods of aquaculture for low-cost tertiary and treated to "potable" standards, there would be no testing of receiving waters.

And then, why is our sewage district in the Ocean monitoring business? It's even less likely than its presence in the financial markets. And more surprising.

Instead of the "$1 billion" cited by Norm Eckenrode, the "$200 per year" cited by Blake Anderson, the "300% increase in business user fees" cited by both, it now turns out that sharp-eyed Jim Hinch was closer to the actual cost -- if any, with an estimate of $18 per resident:

 

 

Sewage Remedy May Cost Less", Nov. 4, 2001, by Jim Hinch, in the OC Register, using OCSD's own figures.

But maybe, just maybe, doing things the right way will be even cheaper than that. After all, 700 acre feet per day of water now used as cheap slurry to dump fecal solids on the Ocean would, if treated, be worth $70,000 at the well-water rate, $320,000 at the MWD rate, or $1,400,000 at the GWRS projected rate of $2,000 per af. This huge waste every single day cannot long endure.

Since OCSD's total Operations and Maintenance budget (salaries, equipment, chemicals, etc.) is only about $60m, another $30,000,000 per year worth of water (at $140/af) would be a LARGE sum of money to gain.

The cost estimates bandied about seem to change from week to week, and sometimes seem little more than fuel for the OCSD struggle to keep the waiver. But the only waiver backers, so far, are OCSD and those they pay, like Scott Baugh, Burt Jones and Stanley Grant./Doug
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"This message brought to you by Orange County Sanitation District "A letter from the Orange County Sanitation District, dated June 25 was sent to you with incorrect information. Please accept my sincerest apology and see the accurate information below. "In the third paragraph the first line states incorrectly that additional treatment will require a 50% increase in sewer fees. This information is based on information prior to the updated Strategic Plan. The updated information shows residential fees lower. The increase in sewer fees for additional treatment will
range from no increase in some years, to $36 in other years.

So, on average over 15 years, residents will see an increase of $16 per year per household. All other information in that paragraph, and in the rest of the letter, is correct. You will be receiving another letter from us in the next week to provide you more information about the scientific studies conducted during the summer of 2001 and about the upcoming decision by the board of directors. In the meantime, if you have questions, please call me or e-mail me.

Thank you for your interest.

Lisa Murphy
Communications Manager
lmurphy@ocsd.com
(714) 593-7120 office
(714) 394-0734 cell"

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