Saturday, February 25, 2006

Will Peak Oil Economics will kill Tri-W?

The post oil economy begins now.
The scramble is on with 1.5 Billion Chinese jumping on the energy consumption bandwagon. Our per capita share of energy will have to drop by 50% in the next ten years to accommodate China and India. It's the law of supply and demand. You WILL pay double or more for the same amount of energy. Hence, if we continue pursue anything but zero energy waste solutions, small scale ecologically sound solutions, we will fall prey to the realities of energy economics. The O&M for the Tri-W project would have gone up 300% even before it could have been completed. Simply, it will become unaffordable to operate. Plus, the costs for constructing anything like the Tri-W project are totally out of control because of shortages derived from energy shortfalls right now. As a licenced General Contractor for 25 years I have never seen anything like it. Prices on construction materials are going through the roof. It's becoming unmanagable to give a fixed price on anything.

So if we want to have a functioning community in the near future we have to completely rethink how to clean up the ground water basin using near ZERO energy. With Tri-W, you have been sold a nineteen fifties solution in a 2100 century world by the same greed that has brought our federal government to the brink of corruption meltdown.

Let's think big for EVERYBODY a minute. Let's ponder that we want to remove 30% percent of the nitrates from our ground water and recharge the basin just like the Tri-W project with zero energy input. Could we do it? Yes......

First we remove every garbage disposal in Los Osos and set up community collection and composting. This cuts blackwater solids and BOD (wastewater oxygen demand) by fifty percent from the input side. Energy cost -ZERO. We take sink garbage out of the digestion loop. Now we have cut nitrates on the front end by 15%. Remember, Tri-W was only going to remove 30% of the nitrogen. (7mg/l vs. 10mg/l) We only have 15% more to go.

Next improve anaerobic digestion that occurs in your septic tank. A symbiotic relationship of five different micro-organisms is responsible for nitrate reduction in your septic tank. Over pumping your septic tank actually increases nitrates because it takes time for the biological community in your tank to actualize nitrogen assimilation.

The worst thing for the bioreaction is water surges like your washing machine or shower. Both are grey water development friendly. Even taking these loads and setting up surge tanks for them or bipass to the leachfield would help the bireaction of nitrates in the septic tank. Once you optimize the nitrogen metablism you are correctly optimizing nitrate reduction. Eliminating surges, garbage wastes, grease, and microbe killing household cleaners helps with anerobic digestion of nitrogen.

The next generation of residential nitrogen reduction will be small scale filter media beds. Basically large surface areas in small spaces for the anaerobic microbes to call home- Read here about modern anaerobic bioreactors, a step beyond septic tanks:

There is no sound science supporting bi-monthly pumping that I can find. Bacteria eats nitrogen. Bacteria in the septic tank. Bacteria in the ground. Remove the bacteria in the septic tank and you INCREASE ionic nitrogen! Were did these guys get their Biology degree? If its solids reduction that the RWQCB is after then.......

Then we install solids filtration and pump the tanks every two years. This is just a first step. Again near ZERO energy consumption. It needs to be cleaned every two years and looked at every six months.

Now you still have blackwater with high oxygen demand so you install after the tank, but before the leachfield, an Aerobic digester. You oxygenate the water to add aerobic bacteria to the digestion process. You could do this with DC photovoltaic driven compressor pumps. What you are doing is the same thing you do with a fish tank. You bubble air in the water to calrify it. Again near ZERO energy consumption. (.5 to 3 KWH/day) This would cover all systems that had the correct groundwater separation in Los Osos. The end product is as clean as the Tri-W output water.

You would need a maintaince contract and a waste discharge permit from the RWQCB and possibly a deed restriction to carryover your maintaince program to the next buyer. But your O&M is purely human oversight and human labor at .5 killowatt per man day. Almost NO energy input. Savvy? A system like this is installed in 400 Texas residences and is approved for California use in the Chico area with problems similar to ours:
So far I haven't suggested any owner oriented lifestyle changes except eliminating garbage disposals but if it was in the discharge permit and it would save you $175.00 per month you would consider it I bet.
Here is your Areobic primer:

Aerobic digestion (with molecular oxygen) is far more complete. Aerobic digestion takes place in a properly constructed and maintained drain, as well as in an aerobic treatment device (ATU). In an ATU, the aerobic bacteria are selected out from any remaining aerobic bacteria which survive the trip through the septic tank, or are facultative bacteria which can exist both with and without molecular oxygen, or are random seed bacteria which are everywhere in our environment. In the soil, there are hundreds of different types of organisms that proliferate in the trenches where there is a regular supply of nutrients (septic tank effluent). Biological mats develop on the sides and bottoms of the trenches and add to a biological filtration of the effluent passing through it into the soil environment. The structure of these mats are due in part to the long filaments often growing out of several common strains of soil bacteria. If biomats are improperly managed, the growth can become so thick that the pores in the soil structure surrounding the disposal trench can become clogged. With the right balance of molecular oxygen to influent, the biological mat can be maintained as a benefit to the water treatment, and the wastes can be degraded completely to carbon dioxide and water allowing the aerobic treatment to go to completion.

Aerobic treatment in a trench or in an ATU is complete digestion and can achieve the following reductions of influent contaminant levels:

Water Quality Parameter % Removal In A Septic Tank
BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) 75% to 90%
COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) 75% to 90%
TSS (Total Suspended Solids) 75% to 90%
Ammonia (Changed to Nitrate - N) 80% to 90%
Enteric Bacteria generally high but variable
Enteroviruses generally high but variable
Protozoa generally high but variable

So how does this measure up to Tri-W? Zero energy consumption. Equal or better water clarity and nitrate cleanup. Diffuse groundwater recharge. No real lifestyle change. And you don't have to kick out all the poor people in Los Osos to pay for it. For about 12,000 dollars per parcel or 12,000X2900=34 Million dollars for existing homes.

Low lying systems, the more pricey properties near the bay, would need pressurized ET wetland leachfields with lined, covered, beds or micro community plants with energy input a prime design factor.

Recharge? How about recharge credits by leaving the water in the ground. What is a recharge credit worth when just outside the city farmer's are allowed to pump all the water they want?
The real problem with the basin ground water managment is the legal structure that allows rampant pollution and consumption by Agriculture and squeezes urban users to make up for it. But that's another topic.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The incredible melting town

We have a very serious issue here folks,
To be or not to be-
Probably one of the most overused cliches of all time.

In Los Osos it will become a very real question.

Should we ask LAFCO to dissolve our CSD?
I'm hoping the comment section gives us substance to hold on to.

Not conjecture or opinion without merit

Base your statements on facts

If its your opinion, say so.

Thanks for participating.

Mike Green

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

All quiet on the Western front.

No real news to report from Los Osos except the Tree man Saga, and at Ann's blog about (non existant) community values.
And Ron, my friend is still asking some important questions. I wish him luck, He will need it.

I'm still playing with this blog stuff, I got a few good replies last time, so I thought I'd try someting else.

What, was your first sewer experience?

You see, I am trying to help our poor community by giving everyone an outlet for their feelings, to lessen the load, to get a chuckle.

Ok, Here is mine.

It was 1973 and I was 16 & I was an usher at the local drive in theater.
My job was to wear a white coat and red hat, ride a bicycle around the lot during the movie, supposedly upholding the rules, watching the kids at the playground during intermission and do generally anything the manager told me to

It happened one night that the men's urinal got clogged up.
Back then a urinal was a large oval tub bolted to the wall with a steady stream of water trickling down from a horizontal pipe with lots of holes in it.

Willie, my manager who was like a second mother to me,
caught me on the way through the snack bar.

"Mike, I need you to unclog the men's urinal"

I must have looked like a deer caught in the headlights, because she took me by the hand, issued me a mumbly-plunger and a set of huge gloves.

I went to the bathroom to confront the beast,
It was a foot deep in a sickening yellow liquid

There had to be a better way!

As I passed by the projectionist booth I spied my salvation.

Back then, the projectors were powered by arc- lights
Herman, the projectionest would keep a bottle of compressed CO2, which we used for soft drinks, with a hose and a hand nozzle near by to blow away the occasional dust that would obscure the lens.

The thought came to me to instead of manually pushing the clog down, BLOW IT DOWN!

I snitched the bottle and rig.

Well it worked, after giving it a good long shot of compressed CO2 though the drain with a towel wrapped tight around the nozzle it drained right out!

I cleaned up and took my station at the popcorn popper to get bags of popcorn ready for intermission.

"Hey Buddy" "we need paper towels" was my first order.
along with the next and the next and the next.

Willie came up to me .
"Mike, what did you do?"
After explainig myself,
And Willie could catch her breath.
She told me about "vents"
Which aparently exited through the roof of the snack bar!


This is a true story

I heard it looked kind of like a volcano

No one was hurt as far as I know
It was a far safer time

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Have at it! this post is to accept all comments about the hideous sewer wars.
My friend Ron, has turned off the comment section of his blog and I don't blame him.
He takes his writing seriously, I can understand that.
When you write a blog, you are putting it out there.

Me? I'm a car mechanic.

I have no pretense of writing skills

But I do have a weird sense of humor that some people seem to apreciate.

So what I thought would be amusing is to let the insane run the asylum

What is your most insane solution to the Los Osos wastewater problem?

Mine, is to give all our houses back to the Chumash

Imagine the great casino sitting on top of the underground sewer on the Tri W site with ample parking too

Of course, I would like a 1 dollar a year renewable and transferable lease.