Residents opposed to Mason County ‘septic lagoon’ despite state paving the way for approval – Kitsap Sun

Whatever could go wrong?  Well this story is about mitigating what went wrong. This is one of the locations that process our wastes for Jefferson County.  There is a backstory to this, as the request by Bio Recycling, who  has been in Mason County for a long time, and this proposal is to mitigate a problem for winter discharges and brown-water issues. It has been an ongoing issue of nitrates getting into the environment from the current plant. Bio Recycling’s technology may be sound, but so much “green-washing” is happening these days, where companies with unsound technologies rebrand themselves as ‘environmentally friendly” that it’s worth it to review their proposal.

The bio-solids they process are taken to central Washington where they are reused as fertilizer, though it’s unclear on what crops, etc.

They have been processing on-site septic systems and waste water treatment plants since 1993. There is no requirement to test for organic chemicals such as drugs, chemotherapy chemicals, poisons, etc. though they mention in the video of the meeting that they have done some preliminary studies and not found more than traces of some chemicals.  They use a lime neutralization process to treat the septic product. They process home septic tanks, some grease trap material and some material from waste treatment plants like Port Townsend and Port Ludlow, if my information is correct.

Citizen concerns are over a variety of issues, one of them being the ability to withstand a seismic event and what would happen in the event of an earthquake causing the pond to be breached.

The entire video of the Mason County Commissioners meeting that goes over the request is found here: http://masonwebtv.com/archives/30031

Also the overview of Bio Recycling and it’s processes, it’s overview of the project, etc.  I can’t find any mention of the people who run the company on their web site, or if they are owned by another company. They are a privately owned company apparently run by Brian Hinkey (sp?) the son of the founder.

http://www.biorecycle.com/north_ranch.shtm

Bio Recycling is still awaiting permit approval from Mason County and the Department of Ecology to move forward with plans to build a double-lined lagoon to store treated biosolids, amid outcry from community members. The Department of Ecology and Mason County determined in March that the facility’s proposal to build an 18-million-gallon, double-lined lagoon to store treated wastewater and septage in Union will not have a probable significant adverse impact on the environment. The determination of nonsignificance, part of a state-mandated process, kicked off an intense period of public comment and meetings, wherein Ecology and Mason County received more than 100 comments from individuals, tribes and state agencies weighing in on the project. Arla Shephard Bull reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Residents opposed to Mason ‘septic lagoon’ despite state paving way for approval

Mussels on drugs found near Victoria sewage outfalls – CBC

For years, Victorians of all political stripes have been discounting their lack of a sewage system. Every time I’ve put a story up here, a couple of Victorians have, out of the blue, weighed in. I’ve even heard younger Victorians, who claim to be “green” tell me to my face that, “it’s no big deal” that their raw sewage has been pouring into the Strait for decades after every other city on the Strait and Salish Sea seems to have put in tertiary or secondary treatment systems. I rarely ever challenge them when they do that, as it’s pointless to argue with people who refuse to even look at scientific data. Well, the CBC finally looked into it, and the unfortunate joke is on them, as they have likely been poisoning themselves and their children if they have been eating any of the shellfish or bottom feeders from the area around their city.

As stated in the article, the sewage treatment plant *should* remove many of these chemicals. Now it is up to the local environmental departments to get the message out that people should not be dumping their pharmaceuticals and other chemicals down the sink or in the toilet. My hope is that, in some distant time, we will actually stop dumping *all* our wastes into the Straits and Salish Sea. Composting toilets have advanced to a place where we should be able to end the expensive and stupid habit that we have picked up in the last 100 years. While it was an improvement over what came before it, we have paid a price for it. There are no free lunches.

Monitoring by the Capital Regional District has found high concentrations of antidepressants, as well as other pharmaceuticals and personal care products in shellfish near the sewage outfalls around Victoria.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/sewage-victoria-crd-drugs-contamination-mussels-pharmaceuticals-1.4537222?utm_source=Sightline%20Institute&utm_medium=web-email&utm_campaign=Sightline%20News%20Selections

As sewage still spills, no timeline for fix to treatment plant’s Katrina-scale damage – Seattle Times

This is an incredibly bad situation. We are going to be dumping the entire sewage of Seattle into Puget Sound with only screening of primary solids for months.  I chalk this up as a Global Warming event, as the massive rains that  created this event, are consistent with the projections of increasing storm intensity in global warming scenarios.

It’s going to be a long road back to recovery for the crippled West Point wastewater-treatment plant in Seattle. A workhorse of the regional wastewater-treatment system, the plant is estimated to have sustained at least $25 million in damage in a flood Feb. 9 and cannot presently function properly. Recovery of the plant remains in very early stages. Damage had never occurred at the plant at such a scale. It has taken Hurricane Sandy or Katrina-scale damage to produce similar wreckage elsewhere in the country. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/as-sewage-still-spills-no-timeline-for-fix-to-treatment-plants-katrina-scale-damage/

Plan would ban boats from releasing sewage into Puget Sound – Seattle Times

This proposal has been in the discussion phase for a couple of years now. We discussed it in the Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee back in 2014 I believe. It was clear then, and is clear now, that if they are going to do this, it should be in more than one stage, with exemptions for working commercial vessels that cannot retrofit for the new rules.  I have to say that I agree with the critics that are quoted in the story. What those of us involved with the preliminary rules found back then, was that a number of tug boats, have never had an ability to have a holding tank, because they were built in an era where it wasn’t required, and they filled the hold with engine. There is no way to retrofit some of these working boats. As you can see from the reaction of commercial interests in this article, the issue has not magically gone away. That Ms. Bellon has chosen to ignore this feedback and simply given them 5 years to comply or have to buy a new tug is not going to solve the problem. It leads to the kind of anger against agencies like DOE, run under this Democratic governor. It can be fuel for the fire of the Republicans which is not needed in this election year. Ms. Bellon needs to come to the table with an exemption status for the small number of commercial vessels, perhaps establishing a 20 year exemption, what would allow the natural cycle of vessel replacement to happen.The small amount of treated human waste from these commercial vessels pale in comparison with the fecal runoff of the roads, which carries away pet waste by the ton every time it rains. I don’t see DOE getting all upset and banning cities from expanding until they fix their storm sewer systems. We know that it would not be politically acceptable. I highly recommend that if you are involved in any kind of organization or NGO that is involved in Puget Sound protection, that you write Ms Bellon, and call your legislators, and tell them and her that we need to have the commercial interests on board with this proposal before inacting it. As to the recreational boaters, getting them  to go to pump out stations is a good idea, but DOE better fund an expansion of those stations. There are not enough around the Sound.

Boaters and vessel operators would not be able to release sewage, treated or untreated, into Puget Sound under a proposal by Washington state regulators. The Department of Ecology said Thursday it and other state agencies petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to designate the waters of Puget Sound a “no discharge zone” to improve water quality and protect shellfish beds and swimming beaches from harmful bacteria. If approved, the zone would cover waters from near Sequim to south Puget Sound to the Canadian border, and includes Lake Washington and Lake Union. There are dozens of no-discharge zones in the country, but this would be the first in the Pacific Northwest. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/plan-would-ban-boats-from-releasing-sewage-into-puget-sound/

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