Who’s watching the money?

December 10th, 2013 by Ken

When I heard that the LOTT Clean Water Alliance (that’s what they call our sewer company now) had just spent $2 million dollars for a study – – I thought – – not another study and $2 million dollars seemed like a lot to pay.

Imagine my surprise when I attended a public meeting last night and found out that the study could cost as much as $4.5 million dollars and last for as long as three years.

Here’s some background.

In the 1990’s when it became apparent that Thurston County was growing at a rapid rate and would need to build a new sewage plant on Puget Sound – – the Department of Ecology said – no way in hell.  (Maybe not those exact words.)

So, LOTT came up with an alternative called “The Highly Managed” plan  Under this concept waste water would be treated and re-used for such activities as irrigation and watering for public facilities.   In the future it was hoped that the treated water would be also used in private businesses and homes.

In the meantime, all waste water not being used would be pumped into the ground where it would eventually find its way into the underground water table.

The program started in 2006 and significant sums of money have been spent to treat the water and deliver it where to could be re-used.

That’s where the study comes in.

LOTT has hired a scientific firm to evaluate the quality of the water.   The study will determine how re-charged waste water moves underground and to check for unwanted chemicals in our water supply.

The study is very scientific and detailed.  Environmental engineers, toxicology specialists and geoscience professors are all part of the study team.

LOTT staff are scrambling hard to gain enough expertise so they can understand what the scientists are saying.

There are some thousand chemicals in our drinking water.  Some are natural and some are man-made.  LOTT wants to know what those chemicals are, how pumping treated waste water into the ground affects the quality of our drinking water and what can be done to assure us a safe water supply.

That’s what the study is about.

All of that scientific expertise is expensive.

Let’s hope someone at LOTT has enough expertise and experience to keep an eye on our money to make certain its spent wisely and correctly.

Four and a half million taxpayer dollars is a lot of money for a study.   Even if it is important.

Posted in Government, History, Informational, The Real News

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