html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Why, <em>why</em> do I live so far away?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Why, why do I live so far away?

I was starting to despair of Los Osos. There has been news, but nothing worth telling you about. A board member of the Los Osos Community Services District had a guest editorial in the paper, but it didn’t sound like it was written by a raving nutcase. Some engineering firm was unfortunate enough to enter into a contract with them to evaluate potential sewer locations and designs; I look forward to reading that the senior partner who brought in that work is ‘no longer with the firm’. A judge threw out a local voter initiative forbidding sewers in downtown, on the grounds that it usurped authority that belongs to the CSD board. I was beginning to be afraid that reason had descended on Los Osos.

But it hasn’t! There is a public meeting of the Regional Water Quality Control Board this Friday. The RWQCB has been forced to reconsider their decision that all citizens of Los Osos pump their septic tanks every other month (enforcement orders will start with fifty randomly chosen people at a time) until a sewer is built. The anti-sewer people went to the Air Pollution Control Board, claiming that diesel emissions from the pump trucks would outweigh the benefits of septic tank pumping. The Air Pollution Control Board asked the RWQCB to include an analysis of diesel emissions in their decision Friday.

In today’s news, the Los Osos CSD president is “begging” the County Supervisor representing Los Osos to come to Friday’s meeting to show support. The Supervisor doesn’t want to. I guess she feels it was enough that she wrote to offer her help immediately after the new board was elected and was rebuffed. Or maybe she didn’t like the way anti-sewer activists have been coming to County Supervisor meetings for months to attack her personally. Could be her feelings were hurt when she had to request a sheriff’s escort to attend Los Osos CSD meetings, because anti-sewer activists would “follow her to her car, yelling”. People are so touchy.

It doesn’t look like any County Supervisors will be attending Friday’s meeting on behalf of the Los Osos CSD. They must not have been persuaded by the presentation showing that mandatory septic tank pumping will drive the people of Los Osos to homelessness*. Me, I would pay to attend that meeting. I would bring popcorn.

*I swear I don’t make this up.

(For your sake, dear reader, I am also keeping an eye on this situation. It shows some potential.)



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Megan: How can Los Osos residents avoid pumping their septic tanks without their tanks exploding eventually? Please clue me in.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Septic tanks ordinarily drain liquids into a leach field. Solids sink to the bottom of the tank, gradually filling it up. You generally have to have your septic tank cleaned out once every few years (although part of the problem in Los Osos is that their old tanks are leaking anyway). The RWQCB is proposing to make homeowners pump their tanks every other month, to prevent any solids from accumulating, until a sewer is built. Getting your tank pumped costs about $2000 (or more, now that the pump trucks will have to be outfitted with scrubbers to prevent diesel emissions). Such a widespread punitive order from the RWQCB means that they are PISSED.

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the impact from spills associated with the pumping (at the home or the transfer/dump site)? When I've had my tank pumped, it's not always been mess free. And how many homes would be covered by this order?

I don't live anywhere near Los Osos, but I guessed the part about failing septic tanks. That and well problems, mostly contamination, are the usual reasons for residential annexations to the local munipalities (that provide water & sewer).

-Another anon

10:12 AM  
Blogger Scott Calvert said...

You've opened my eyes to a whole new realm of human stupidity... bless you! I grew up in Arizona and my grandfather runs a small water company. I've seen plenty of water drama on the _supply_ side, but this is the first time I've ever really followed a water drama on the waste side.

Unfortunately the drama in Byron looks to be slow out of the gates. Sure there's a bit of drama, but the people in Byron seem to have some reasonable concerns, at least as they were related in the article. Maybe the crazies in Byron are still holed up in their houses, doing various stretches and warmups, drinking Coke, eating Pop-Rocks, and letting their crack addict jonesing build up so they can come out with a full biblical scale spectacle of complete insanity. Or not. Anyway, I trust you'll keep us informed of any new wacko developments in the poop treatment arena.

4:10 AM  

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