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  1. TopTop #1
    MikeH
    Guest

    Trucking of Occidental Wastewater

    The County (Water Agency) is now in the business of trucking out Occidental wastewater in order to be in compliance with regional water quality control board regulations. This is a shame and it seems there needs to be a better solution. Occidental is treating their wastewater to the secondary level and it seems they could be in compliance if they could discharge in a way that it is not considered to be going into the Russian River or one of it's tributaries.

    The County is purchasing two Peterbuilt big rig type tank vacuum trucks to haul the wastewater for $448,733. There will be many more costs associated with this daily hauling of sewer water, like drivers, fuel and maintenance.

    Any better ideas for handling this?

    Here is some info:

    https://sonoma-county.granicus.com/M...meta_id=241855

    Sonoma County Water Agency Procurement of two Vacuum Trucks: Adopt a Resolution Authorizing Adjustments to the Board Adopted Budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 for the Sonoma County Water Agency General Fund and Equipment Fund, each in the Amount of $448,733 for the procurement of two vacuum trucks for hauling wastewater. (4/5th Vote Required) (Fourth and Fifth District)

    On February 6, 2018, the Board approved of the Occidental County Sanitation District Wastewater
    Transport Compliance Project, which will allow for wastewater from the District to be transferred to and
    treated at the Airport-Larkfield-Wikiup Sanitation Zone treatment plant located at 800 Aviation Blvd in an
    unincorporated area of Sonoma County. By transferring the District wastewater to the Airport-LarkfieldWikiup
    Sanitation Zone, Project would eliminate the discharge and storage of secondary-treated effluent
    into Graham’s Pond, and eliminate direct discharge to Dutch Bill Creek during the wet season.

    staff has determined two vacuum trucks are required to facilitate the daily (typically
    Monday-Friday) hauling of raw wastewater from the District lift station to the Airport-Larkfield-Wikiup
    treatment plant.
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  3. TopTop #2
    occihoff's Avatar
    occihoff
     

    Re: Trucking of Occidental Wastewater

    I'm confused. Doesn't the Supervisor's vote total show one for the plan, two against, one absent, and one abstain? That sounds like the plan was defeated. And where does Hopkins, the absent one on this crucial vote, stand on this issue?

    I've always been dumbfounded by the fact that Occidental has struggled with this issue for so long, and has never been able to figure out a reasonable local discharge solution. Having to use trucks does seem insane! In fact I thought that was against county code. Certainly, they would never let me, who lives 3/4 mile from town, do that. Nor would I ever want to. I strongly feel that in an unincorporated semi-rural area like ours each property should be able to deal with its waste on site. Fortunately, like everyone else who lives out of town, I have a good leach line system.

    I recall that there was once a small trial in town with composting toilets, but I never heard where that went.

    Thank you for your post, MikeH.

    Quote MikeH wrote: View Post
    The County (Water Agency) is now in the business of trucking out Occidental wastewater in order to be in compliance with regional water quality control board regulations. This is a shame and it seems there needs to be a better solution. ...

    Here is some info:

    https://sonoma-county.granicus.com/M...meta_id=241855

    ...
    Last edited by Barry; 05-15-2018 at 10:24 AM.
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  5. TopTop #3
    markwjam's Avatar
    markwjam
     

    Re: Trucking of Occidental Wastewater

    composting toilets could be part of a solution....I can't imagine these supes even mentioning it, though...mb
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  7. TopTop #4
    tommy's Avatar
    tommy
    Supporting member

    Re: Trucking of Occidental Wastewater

    My recollection is that Occidental has explored pumping their wastewater to the Guerneville and Graton sewer plants, without success. I think they're ending their use for many years, of a private property near Dutch Bill Creek, for wastewater storage... thus the trucking of wastewater. It's a more complex problem than it would appear to be.

    Quote MikeH wrote: View Post
    The County (Water Agency) is now in the business of trucking out Occidental wastewater in order to be in compliance with regional water quality control board regulations....
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  9. TopTop #5
    ChefJayTay's Avatar
    ChefJayTay
     

    Re: Trucking of Occidental Wastewater

    Quote markwjam wrote: View Post
    composting toilets could be part of a solution....I can't imagine these supes even mentioning it, though...mb
    It's a much more difficult situation than that. Removing services has county and state legal implications on businesses and their water use in the area. They would likely be sued by multiple businesses for resulting in a shutdown or slowing of sales/production.
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  11. TopTop #6

    Re: Trucking of Occidental Wastewater

    This whole thing about trucking the wastewater seems just crazy--and so expensive and wasteful. How do the other small towns along and near the river deal with this?

    Lilith
    Last edited by Barry; 05-16-2018 at 12:59 PM.
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  13. TopTop #7
    MikeH
    Guest

    Re: Trucking of Occidental Wastewater

    Quote occihoff wrote: View Post
    Doesn't the Supervisor's vote total show one for the plan, two against, one absent, and one abstain? That sounds like the plan was defeated. And where does Hopkins, the absent one on this crucial vote, stand on this issue?
    I'm not sure what vote you are referring to, but the purchase of the tank trucks was on the agenda for the May 8th meeting.

    I think it was approved on the consent calendar. I could be wrong. The minutes for the meeting (May 8th) are not available yet. It was item #3 on the consent calendar. They all voted yes on all items on the consent calendar, except for David Rabbitt who voted No on consent item #10 which was the housing bond measure, financing the cost to craft the actual ballot measure. I watched the video, but it is hard to follow and the audio breaks up due to my slow internet connection.

    We'll know for sure once the minutes are published, or we could call someone in the County Administrator's office or even the Water Agency.
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  15. TopTop #8

    Re: Trucking of Occidental Wastewater

    I don't know what Occidental Arts and Ecology Center does, but back when that same location was the Farallones Rural Institute, there were composting toilets used there.

    The composting toilets were, btw, odor free, clean and pleasant to use.
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  17. TopTop #9
    occihoff's Avatar
    occihoff
     

    Re: Trucking of Occidental Wastewater

    Thank you for that information, Gaiasophia. I wish some of you knowledgeable people out there would fill us in further in regard to the history of composing toilet use and experimentation in Occidental.

    I have my own hypothesis in regard to the Permit Department's reluctance to look more seriously into this issue. We moved to Occidental 22 years ago. Our property had an old cesspool. The official in charge of our permits immediately told us we had to upgrade to an extremely expensive fancy high-tech system involving several noisy pumps and two large chambers right near our house, which happens to be extremely far from our water source, Salmon Creek. We had to pay a specialist for expensive blueprints. Holes were dug all over our property to test for "perc," holes I had to refill myself. The perc was declared marginal. But even during the heaviest rains we never saw water puddling in our forested land. And in spite of all this expensive high tech water treatment, in time we would still have to hire a truck to pump out our tanks and remove this effluent to some supposedly sanitary facility elsewhere!


    I did a lot of research into composting toilets used and permitted widely in Scandinavia. The more research I did the more insane the county's Rube Goldberg system seemed to me. But they told me that systems used in other countries did not count! We were declared in violation and threatened with dire consequences.


    But at one point, in a phone conversation, one of the permit officials who in the past had been very strict with us blew my mind by telling me that regulations were such that if we had remodeled our house in stages, separated by a few years, we would not have triggered this severe septic requirement! I asked him why he had not told us this before. He replied that I had never asked!

    Armed by this knowledge, I asked DeWayne Starnes, the second in command of the department, to give us a break. He said it was too late, we had already done the remodeling. But the department had misled us from the very beginning, they should take responsibility! He refused to budge.

    In outrage I continued to hammer him. Finally, just as a new department head was about to take over, Starnes offered me a highly technical bureaucratic possible way out: if we had constructed under a certain number of square feet of new walls in our remodeling, he would give in. Fortunately we passed the test. We hired an excellent septic contractor, Carl Van Dyke, who made us a nice new leach line system, and the long nightmare was finally over! Since then our creek has shown no signs of pollution.

    So my hypothesis is that there may be some kind of unwritten understanding between higher-ups in the permit department and some septic contractors that lucrative business will be steered their way. The technocrats know that few if any ordinary citizens will comprehend the arcane and often arbitrary intricacies of permit regulations. People are fair game for lucrative and sadistic manipulation. Carl Van Dyke told me that if we had known him from the beginning he would have been able to save us from this torture.
    Last edited by Barry; 05-17-2018 at 09:09 AM.
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  19. TopTop #10
    occihoff's Avatar
    occihoff
     

    Re: Trucking of Occidental Wastewater

    Hi, Sealwatcher--

    What do you mean when you refer to biosolids Santa Rosa delivers free of charge?

    Quote sealwatcher wrote: View Post
    .. What do you think about the biosolids the City of Santa Rosa offers in large amounts delivered free of charge? A greater good? Or another problem being passed downstream?....
    Last edited by Barry; 05-18-2018 at 12:07 PM.
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  21. TopTop #11
    MikeH
    Guest

    Re: Trucking of Occidental Wastewater

    I suppose BioSolids is reference to the Laguna Treatment Plant digested and composted sludge. My father happened to be a Santa Rosa Sewer Treatment Plant Operator, so I am familiar with the way plants work and how they have this type of solid waste to dispose of, in addition to the treated water to discharge.




    Biosolids
    Biosolids provide nutrients and organic matter to soil and help it maintain moisture. The Biosolids Compost Facility is an agitated, aerobic, naturally heated, biological process that produces approximately 12,000 cubic yards of compost annually.

    Links - https://srcity.org/1093/Biosolids https://srcity.org/1052/Water-Reuse
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  23. TopTop #12
    rekarp's Avatar
    rekarp
     

    Re: Trucking of Occidental Wastewater

    Occidental Arts & Ecology Center continues to use the compost toilets from the old Farallones Institute - legally, and they also have a large scale compost toilet project underway right now that services their retreat center. Here is the link to the update on that project: https://oaec.org/compost-toilet-project-update/

    Quote gaiasophia wrote: View Post
    I don't know what Occidental Arts and Ecology Center does, but back when that same location was the Farallones Rural Institute, there were composting toilets used there.

    The composting toilets were, btw, odor free, clean and pleasant to use.
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  25. TopTop #13
    ChefJayTay's Avatar
    ChefJayTay
     

    Re: Trucking of Occidental Wastewater

    Quit suggesting composting toilets like it's going to solve something...
    Without water & wastewater disposal... NONE of the restaurants, bars, supermarkets, vineyards, or hotels could legally operate.
    They would all be shut down by state law.

    Perhaps none of you notice that they don't exist (other than grandfathered locations decades old) on unincorporated CA land?
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  26. TopTop #14
    rekarp's Avatar
    rekarp
     

    Re: Trucking of Occidental Wastewater

    I suppose you didn't check out the link to the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center where, with county cooperation, are testing a medium scale composting toilet solution for their retreat center and conference building.

    Change is made difficult by people who insist that it's not possible. That's part of our human condition.


    Quote ChefJayTay wrote: View Post
    Quit suggesting composting toilets like it's going to solve something...
    Without water & wastewater disposal... NONE of the restaurants, bars, supermarkets, vineyards, or hotels could legally operate.
    They would all be shut down by state law.

    Perhaps none of you notice that they don't exist (other than grandfathered locations decades old) on unincorporated CA land?
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  28. TopTop #15
    markwjam's Avatar
    markwjam
     

    Re: Trucking of Occidental Wastewater

    well said, with your quote "Change is made difficult by people who insist that it's not possible. That's part of our human condition"
    Last edited by Barry; 05-20-2018 at 11:05 AM.
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  30. TopTop #16
    ChefJayTay's Avatar
    ChefJayTay
     

    Re: Trucking of Occidental Wastewater

    Look, I'm not against such methods, but neither of you seem to grasp what I'm saying. The water needs of any commercial kitchen or winery (of which there are multiple) are considerably more, and not really compost able at all. It's nice that the occidental center wants to be green. It doesn't solve the issue. It's large amounts of soiled waters, trucks of it... The problem here is much, MUCH larger than a couple of toilets.

    Edit: this is dishwater, bleach water from cleaning tanks... not what you even want to compost.
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  31. TopTop #17
    tommy's Avatar
    tommy
    Supporting member

    Re: Trucking of Occidental Wastewater

    I've followed the various proposals for getting rid of Occidental's waste water through the years. They've included pumping or trucking it to the Guerneville sewage plant, which has been operating at half capacity. Evidently Occidental has a sewer facility, but the problem is where to discharge the waste water. I read that the trucking plan at a one time cost of $1.4 million is the most cost effective of 15 different plans considered. It'd cost $6m to upgrade the Occidental sewer plant, and pipe wastewater to a storage pond on a nearby vineyard. Occidental has been under a 1997 state mandate to not discharge into Dutch Bill Creed, to protect the salmon there. When you read the arguments and discussion over the last 20 years, money seems to be the biggest problem in fixing it.

    Per the 3/18/17 Sonoma West Times, "Occidental’s sanitation district, which serves about 118 parcels clustered along Bohemian Highway, has the highest rate in the county — and among the highest in the state — at $2,086 a year"... thus the appeal of the relatively inexpensive trucking system.
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  33. TopTop #18
    MikeH
    Guest

    Re: Trucking of Occidental Wastewater

    It may not be acceptable to discharge into a fish spawning creek but it should be fine to discharge elsewhere in a less sensitive environment.

    Wastewater treated through the secondary level should be free of pathogenic bacteria (coliform) such as E Coli. It may have some residual organic matter in it. This could be bad for a creek as it would cause algae to grow and associated oxygen depletion impacting fish. But this same water could well be fine for irrigating a field to grow grass for dairy cows or some similar use.

    All options have supposedly been considered. Nothing is cost effective (supposedly).

    I find it hard to believe there is not some other option to discharge this well-treated wastewater in the local area, instead of trucking or piping it miles away.

    There was once a Sonoma State project studying using wastewater to grow redwoods, as a way of discharging it without actually discharging into a waterway. Can't seem to find it online though.

    https://web.sonoma.edu/waters/projec...ity/index.html

    A multi-year project with the City of Santa Rosa tested the capacity of channelized wetlands to remove residual nutrients and other pollutants from treated municipal wastewater.
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  35. TopTop #19
    MikeH
    Guest

    Re: Trucking of Occidental Wastewater

    There was a long hearing today at the County on revised septic regulations. You may be interested to hear that significant time was given to the possibility of allowing composting toilets. Several supervisors seemed supportive of allowing composting toilets.

    OWTS (Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems) regulations is a big deal for areas like Camp Meeker, lower Russian River, Fitch Mountain Road. Some small properties have "Cesspools" which are not good, and they don't have the space for a real septic tank and leach field. So what could they do to avoid having their homes condemned? One may be to have a composting toilet, and the water from sinks and the bathtub would go to a "grey water system" and used for watering the landscape.



    https://hootsystems.com/residential-solutions/products/

    Another option may be the "Hoot" systems, which as I understand it is like a mini treatment plant contained in a tank. There is pumping, active separation, maybe air injection.

    The County code does not specifically say you can use a Hoot System, or tell you what is required if you want to use one. It doesn't prohibit it either. So you can submit plans, signed by an engineer and get approval and install it. I think then the county would come out and make sure it works as it's supposed to. So the installer assumes some risk.

    County PRMD was told to take their proposed revised regulations, and revise them again, and come back with a new version in 6 months.

    People with small lots ans cesspool type tanks are concerned about their system being condemned, and not having any good options for replacement.

    This was prompted by Water Quality Control board requiring the county policy be updated.

    https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water...programs/owts/

    Water Quality Control Policy for Siting, Design, Operation and Maintenance of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS Policy)

    News

    Notice of Public Hearing, Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (OWTS) Policy, Conditional Waiver Renewal and TMDL List Amendment. Please refer to the notice of public hearing and the staff report for a full description of the project and how to provide comments. The State Water Board will accept both written and oral comments on the proposed conditional waiver renewal and TMDL list amendment. Comments must be received by 12:00 p.m. on April 6, 2018.

    County -

    PERMIT AND RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
    48. 9:00 A.M. - Local Agency Management Program and Onsite Wastewater Treatment System Regulations and Technical Standards Revisions: Receive an update regarding County on-site septic standards and authorize submittal of a revised Sonoma County Local Agency Management Program and supporting documents to the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.
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