Monday, July 4, 2016

How much sludge?

Have you wondered just how much sludge would be headed to Bastrop County every year? Until last night that has been an elusive figure because the Denali Water Solutions’ application is complex and much of it very technical.

The answer to that question was found just last night in the least expected place - under the “Application fee” section on page 1 of the application form. Next to that section there is a handwritten note referencing attachment 1 which contains a scan of the $4,000 check that was paid to the TCEQ as well as a chart calculating the yearly fee based on dry tons per acre per year. The total weight is an impressive 14,532.33 dry tons or about 7 tons per acre per year!

And that weight will be degrading nearby roads at taxpayers’ expense. If there is a provision for road maintenance in the contract, we haven’t found it yet. It would be interesting to know the exact weight of a fully loaded truck but that is an investigation for another day.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Who is Dalton Wallace?

Tuesday’s meeting in Rockne had an unexpected guest - Dalton Wallace. The meeting had an overflow crowd that was standing room only and he walked right into the lion’s den. Have to give him props for that. He said he came to learn something. Well, maybe . . .

Or is something a little different going on. The first time I heard of Dalton Wallace was the previous day in Asher Price’s Statesman article - “Austin’s sewage sludge could head to Bastrop County”. The first sentence of that article begins:

“Twenty-five years ago, shortly after he bought his 3,000-acre ranch in western Bastrop County, Dalton Wallace . . .”

So just who was this Dalton guy? Before then, I had never seen his name despite having read the entire Denali Water Solutions application to the TCEQ and searching BCAD for information on the property. The owner on record in BCAD is Roger Donald Wallace who also executed the contract with Denali.

The first sentence of the embedded video solved the mystery. Dalton starts out by saying, “My son and I own this ranch . . .”. Well, maybe in spirit. And the land is still in the family. But certainly he has no legal ownership according to BCAD. Neither does he have a contract with Denali.

Yet, this affable old farmer is now the front-man touting the wonders of sludge for his ranch. Image is everything. And the picture of an old Texas farmer painted by Mr. Price is certainly more sympathetic than the reality of an absentee landowner/businessman living in Austin who’s making deals to dump Austin’s sludge in a neighboring county.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Class A or B biosolids?

There has been some confusion as to whether Bastrop would be blessed with Class A or Class B biosolids. So that was the second question posed to Mr. Sierant. Here is his detailed response:

To answer your questions below, the permit application is to land apply Class B biosolids from the City of Austin’s Hornsby Bend facility. Class B biosolids is essentially Wastewater Treatment Plant Sludge that may or may not be combined with Water Treatment Plant Sludge (WTP), which is the river mud from the treatment of drinking water. In the application, Denali has also listed WTP sludge to be land applied although a particular WTP source is not listed in the application, (i.e., City of Austin as the source for the wastewater treatment sludge). If the permit is issued, a WTP source can be added and approved in writing by the TCEQ if the sludge meets requirements for land application.

Since Dillo Dirt is a type of biosolids that meets the quality requirements considered by EPA and State standards for marketing and distribution (Class A), a permit like this proposed one is not needed. That would be to say that every person in the Austin metropolitan area that buys a bag of Dillo Dirt from Home Depot or Lowe’s or any other hardware store and puts it on their lawn would need a permit like this one. So, even though this proposed permit is for Class B biosolid land application, Denali can land apply Class A material in addition to Class B at the site since Class A material by itself does not need a permit to be land applied.

To clarify what type of sludge Denali plans to land apply at the site, Page 11, Section l. of the application has checkboxes next to each type of waste to be applied (see attachment). You will see that Wastewater Treatment Plant Sludge and Water Treatment Plant Sludge have been checked.

The rules prohibit land application of material coming off of a landfill, a grit or grease trap processing facility, car wash facility, chemical toilet waste, industrial waste, medical waste or, of course HAZARDOUS WASTE

Read the entire response

You’ve gotta love the irony in that last paragraph. It points to the complete denial from the EPA down that this toxic sludge IS hazardous waste!!

Is there a contract?

Earlier today, the Biosolids Coordinator at TCEQ, Brian Sierant, clarified two questions relating to the Denali Water Solutions permit application. We wanted to know if this hauling corporation based in Arkansas actually has a contract with the City of Austin. The answer was no they don’t. Furthermore they don’t need one to apply for or to be granted the permit. Here are his exact words:

In regards to the contract with the City of Austin, there currently isn’t one. That does not mean Denali cannot submit an application and list City of Austin as a biosolid (wastewater treatment plant sludge) source. There may be a bid out to haul the biosolids, and the City of Austin may request that a bidding company either have a permit in place or that an application is pending with the TCEQ (which is, in this case). Denali would apply for a permit requesting to land apply City of Austin biosolids to “get the ball rolling” so to say if they were rewarded a contract.

Read the entire response

Friday, June 17, 2016

Denali is full of it!

This classic corporate-speak is most worthy of this blog title!