Safety Of Sewage Sludge
Being Explored

      High winds greeted a few of the attendees at a Baja Water Quality Meeting who climbed an exterior multi-story stairway to the top of a large cylinder Anaerobic Digester at the Victor Valley wastewater treatment plant.  Pictured (left) in the late afternoon is Jeff Gaastra, president of the Newberry Springs Recreational Lakes Association; Roberta "Bobbie" Willhite, county Agricultural Commissioner; Holly Shiralipour, District Conservationist of the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the USDA; and Logan Olds, General Manager of the facility.  In the background is a green vegetation belt along the Mojave River; and further back is the TXI-Riverside / Portland Cement facility.

Posted April 13, 2015

      A Baja Water Quality Meeting, was held Tuesday, April 7, 2015, at the Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority's facility in Oro Grande.  The 2-hour meeting focused upon the sewage processing at the facility, laws and regulations, and the safety of the sewage sludge after the process.

      Although none of the VVWRA processed sewage sludge is trucked to Nursery Products in Hinkley, California, it is felt that the VVWRA's facility offers a similiar processed waste sludge to that of the urban waste sludge received at the Hinkley processing facility.  Newberry representatives wanted insight as to how the urban sewage sludge, being trucked from Nursery Products to Newberry Springs, is likely processed by wastewater facilities in the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, and elsewhere.

      The Oro Grande facility processes about 13.5-million gallons of sewage per day, 24/7.  As can be imagined, there are numerous steps that raw sewage goes through after it enters the facility.  A major step involves the waste being subjected to bacteria for nearly two weeks.

      Like a canary in a mine, the bacteria levels are regularly monitored.  Most hazardous materials mixed within the sewage sludge would likely lower the normal bacteria count.  If the bacteria count is below expectations, then additional lab testing is initiated in hopes of identifying the cause.

      With 13.5-million gallons of sewage being processed per day, the politically set safety standards for the final discharged water appear very good; however, lingering questions remain regarding the safety of the waste sludge withdrawn throughout the process.

      Also attending the meeting was TedIStimpfel of the Newberry Springs Community Alliance; Ellen Johnson, president of the Newberry property owners association; Jehiel "Jay" Cass, Senior Engineer of the state's E.P.A.'s Regional Water Quality Control Board; Bob Berkman and Fred Stearn of CEQA-NOW; and Annette DeJong of Newberry Springs.

Related groundwater blogs:
U.S. farmers making hay with alfalfa exports to China -  L.A. Times  6/8/14
Readers React -  L.A. Times  6/14/14
Is Newberry Springs being slowly poisoned like Hinkley? -  7/14/14
Is Newberry Springs killing horses? -  8/3/14
Dirty secret of some Newberry Springs farmers. -  8/17/14
Evidence grows for possibility of tainted horse feed. -  8/20/14
Farmers continuing import of toxic sewer sludge. -  9/11/14
Planning Sustainable Water - Community Turning Against Farmers -  9/19/14
Angry Residents Call For Rampdowns And Pumping Tax -  9/26/14
Farmers are horrified at proposed draconic rampdowns -  10/4/14
Emergency action necessary to save water supply. -  10/11/14
Water activist meets with citizens on water law. -  10/16/14
Pivot farming is seriously depleting local water. -  11/11/14
Baja Areawide Sustainability Plan supports status-quo. -  12/9/14
Newberry Springs lakes are being choked. -  12/29/14
Special Report: Silver Valley's water plan. -  1/1/15
Newberry Springs residents flood water meeting. -  1/7/15
Robert Kasner's views on farmers' water rights. -  1/16/15
Newberry Springs has large Watermaster turnout. -  1/29/15
Baja water plan offers delusions for everyone. -  3/20/15
Thirsty crops should require state regulations. -  L.A. Times  3/22/15
Baja water basin moratorium ordinance planned. -  4/11/15
Watermaster plays politics against minimal producers. -  4/12/15

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