Our readers may recall that as the question of the composition of leachate and the general quality of
That editorial piece was intended, we assume, to put the public’s mind at ease about the quality of the City’s wastewater treatment system and its ‘effluent’ (discharge) into
We stated that Eddington’s desire to provide public reassurance about the wastewater treatment plant’s compliance was understandable and appropriate, but we urged him to make data from the City’s internal testing of the leachate public-- to improve the fact set available to Council, and the public, before the work session dedicated to the topic.
Finger Lakes Zero Waste has reported that the City has been slow to produce the records requested under FOIL. But it is a different set of FOIL requests, in a different venue, that have provided all groups interested in this topic with a better set of reliable data. The new group inquiring about this topic? Not the
The second installment in that series, an article entitled “Clean Water Laws Are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering” discloses violations of the Clean Water Act that, while reported in a central database, have gone largely unaddressed by state and federal regulators.
The New York Times offers maps and tables which fill in additional details and provide more information for a better analysis of the big picture of water quality compliance. One map of registered “pollution points” in New York State (this includes any user who discharges material into groundwater, including waste water treatment plants, industries, farms, etc.) shows there are 4,606 facilities in New York State that fall under the EPA’s direct supervision.
The New York Times ranking of polluters, by violation, shows the City of
If anyone wanted to check things out for themselves, the New York Times piece provides direct links to the EPA’s online data reports for each facility. So, of course, we took a look at the City of
According to the chart, “effluent violations are displayed as the highest percentage by which the permit was exceeded for the quarter. Bold, large print indicated Significant Non Compliance (SNC) effluent violations. Shaded boxes indicate unresolved SNC violations.”
Geneva has bold, large print entries in three of the ten criteria: Chlorine, Settleable Solids, and Total Suspended Solids. In the last reported quarter (January-March 2009), Settleable Solids exceeded the permit by 233%; Total Suspended Solids by 109%; and Chlorine exceeded the permit by 70% earning a designation as an “unresolved” significant non compliance effluent violation.
On a brighter note, we should point out these numbers actually appear to be an improvement over the noncompliance statistics from previous quarters, perhaps due to recently completed upgrades at the facility. For instance, the same time last year (Jan-Mar 2008), Settleable Solids exceeded the permit by 13233%. That’s not a ‘typo.’
The June editorial piece left an impression of compliance, but we believe more information is needed with regard to this database of noncompliance. In terms of handling leachate, it would be good to know how much of this noncompliance is due to events that occurred as a direct result of the leachate, or when leachate was present in the city system. But even if the leachate stream ‘dries up,’ it seems that Council and the appointed Green Committee should discuss the way in which local monitoring and oversight can track with the monitoring done by the epa, so that future results don’t come as such a surprise, and so that we can more assuredly answer the question posed in a previous post: “How Clean Is Our Water?” To answer these questions, it seems that City Council and its Green Committee should echo our earlier request to the Director of public Works to please “show us the data!”