Jump ahead almost fifteen months, from 12.3.13 to 3.16.15, and City Manager Clapper and Wastewater Superintendent Reel are at the Whitewater Unified School District. Months later, and millions in spending requests, but still lots of questions.
(Every question in this series has a unique number, assigned chronologically based on when it was asked. All the questions from When Green Turns Brown can be found in the Question Bin. Today’s questions begin with No. 34.)
34. City Manager Clapper contends that “the water that actually goes [back] into the watershed is cleaner than the water in the [Whitewater] creek.” A few obvious questions: (a) how clean is the water that’s returned now, (b) how would an additional level of imported waste affect the water returned to the creek?
35. Do any by-products of waste processing now enter Whitewater’s ecosystem apart from discharge immediately from the treatment plant?
36. If they do, then what are those by-products, in what amounts?
37. If Whitewater’s municipal officials contend that no by-products enter Whitewater’s ecosystem except from immediate discharge from the treatment plant, then on what do they base that confidence?
38. Wastewater Superintendent Tim Reel (Reel) wants to make sure he is “utilizing the digester capabilities that we had [have] at the facility.” Generally, how does Reel evaluate the value of any given capacity, that is, by what economic measure does he assess the merit of one course of action over another?
39. Reel contends that “and really, the digester complex really does mimic our own digestion system, only in much larger volumes.” Why does Reel think that human digestion, following his analogy, is a clean process?
40. Reel states that one of Whitewater’s digesters is unused, and another at limited capacity. Why are the digesters so much larger than Whitewater’s present needs? (One knows, and Reel must know, but it’s a logical question.)
41. Does Reel think that his planned importation of waste into Whitewater’s digesters would be equivalent to prior local uses? Can he show a composition of waste then-and-now comparison?
42. How much importation by volume does Reel contemplate? How does he know?
43. How much in tipping fees [from other cities depositing their waste into Whitewater] does Reel contemplate? How does he know?
44. Reel estimates $2,000,000 in cost for digester upgrades. How much of that amount is for importation?
45. About 15 months ago, Reel contended the digester was a standalone project. Does he still think so? Why or why not?
46. When City Manager Clapper (Clapper) says “green is in,” what does he mean by that? Does he mean clean, or renewable, or both?
47. Does City Manager Clapper believe that waste importation is clean? Does he think it’s as clean as solar power, for example? If he does, then why does he think so? If he thinks there’s a difference, then how much of a difference?
48. How much energy does Clapper think he’ll produce?
49. Clapper contends that the by-product sludge from the waste digester is really a “green product that could be used as fertilizer.” If he thinks so, then would he put that sludge on his lawn, or on a school lawn?
50. If Clapper would place the sludge on his lawn, then why has he not yet done so?
51. If Clapper wouldn’t place the sludge on his lawn, then why not?
52. What federal and state regulations, if any, limit the deposit of sludge near residences?
53. If there are federal and state regulations that limit the deposit of sludge near residences, then why does Clapper think they’ve been enacted?
54. What scientific and industry standards, if any, limit the deposit of sludge near residences?
55. If there are scientific and industry standards that limit the deposit of sludge near residences, then why does Clapper think they’ve been established?
56. Does Clapper believe that he can produce enough power to “give back to the grid”?
57. If he does, then why hasn’t he considered how existing utilities would react, as WE Energies has reacted (negatively) elsewhere?
58. If he doesn’t think Whitewater can produce enough electricity, then how is this a meaningful power-generating program at all?
59. If this isn’t a meaningful power-generating program, then isn’t it truly a waste disposal program, using Whitewater as a vast depository for other cities’ unwanted waste?
Original School Board Presentation, 3.16.15
Full Presentation Video https://vimeo.com/122470431
WHEN GREEN TURNS BROWN: Mondays @ 10 AM, here on FREE WHITEWATER.