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Find Water Polluters Near You

Original post made by Resident on Sep 14, 2009


Across the nation, the system that Congress created to protect the nation's waters under the Clean Water Act of 1972 today often fails to prevent pollution. The New York Times has compiled data on more than 200,000 facilities that have permits to discharge pollutants and collected responses from states regarding compliance. Information about facilities contained in this database comes from two sources: the Environmental Protection Agency and the California State Water Resources Control Board. The database does not contain information submitted by the states. Web Link

It's interesting to see the Palo Alto facilities. I'm wondering who else collects this information.

Comments (17)

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2009 at 9:15 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

We have here another "So what?" situation.
The oceans and streams of the world have been, and will continue to be, the ultimate receptor of all erosion and corruption processes, and the concept of "clean water" is a flexible one. Any experienced hiker knows that the "clear running spring" can be the effluent from a cesspool elsewhere. To demand that effluent from a process be cleaner than the receiving body is a complete waste of the money spent.
Amazingly, the only significant ground water contamination has been MTBE contamination, a contaminant forced into gasoline by the CARB. While even that is unlikely to directly affect any of us, the loss of job opportunities caused by these too rigid standards is all too real.


Posted by bru, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 15, 2009 at 1:54 pm

bru is a registered user.

I am not sure but I think the functions of these systems that Congress mandates seems to be to put an issue away when the public thinks there is someone on the job, as well as give plum jobs to a certain segment of our society.

I am sure if we could find the "national rug" and pull up the corner of it we would be quite alarmed.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Just as the railroads established time zones, they established minimum standards for drinking water by refusing to take on drinking water from low grade city supplies. Civil Engineering has a proud history providing for the infrastructure without which cities, and large populations are impossible. Two tests were applied, necessity and possibility. With the centralization of authority, those two tests were trashed and replaced with zero tolerance, zero justification.


Posted by bru, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 15, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Well, maybe way in the dim past survival was so tenuous that we needed as much water in any condition at any price, but with the technology we have today I don't see a significant problem in trying to keep water clean, especially when you look at how even the smallest contaminants are amplified by the magnitude of our consumption. For example ... I think it is the zinc we use in our sunscreen washing off in showers and then showing up in our own systems, antibiotics in agriculture, etc.

I hear your point, but I personally think that for future design a zero-tolerance approach is, technically doable, economically feasible, and environmentally desirable and will provide jobs and detection of problems by its existence.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Very few of us draw our drinking water from the Bay, and those that do, ships with Reverse Osmosis filters have far more than zink to deal with. When you spend enough to operate a clinic for a week to remove that last 3000 lbs of human solid waste from a body of water, and a whale comes by and leaves his daily 3000 lb deposit, was the money wisely spent?
The jobs you would create are rickshaw driver jobs, in that they provide a service that was long ago replaced with more efficient, more humane processes that are destroyed by fiat.


Posted by Bru, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 15, 2009 at 5:58 pm

First you focus your argument on the bay, and then you talk about whales in the bay leaving deposits.

I would want to know what is in a 3000 lb. whale deposit and what is in a 3000 lb. human deposit or more to the point, how do the actualy volumes of waste measure up.

This lax humorous attitude has been in part to blame for the fact that almost every city bordering the bay is dangerously old and out of spec from what I have read lately. I'm sure you have a point but it sounds like you don't take water quality seriously at all and will not on your own qualify your statements in any measurable way except to grouse about the whole subject.

Also, there are jobs that will be created by the need for environmental regulation that pay more and take more skills than a rickshaw driver, is that supposed to be a serious reply?


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2009 at 4:08 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Bru, my point is that the Earth is not a pristine virgin except where despoiled by man. The tectonic, biochemical, photochemical and chemical changes that precede and will outlive man are orders of magnitude larger than any contribution by man except in limited areas. I began my engineering career in pollution control and believe firmly we should not degrade our environment, but I equally believe that spending billions to create a never-never land of rock candy mountains and lemonade springs is stupid misuse of authority.


Posted by Bru, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 16, 2009 at 5:10 am

> The tectonic, biochemical, photochemical and chemical changes that
> precede and will outlive man are orders of magnitude larger than any
> contribution by man except in limited areas.

It is not that I disagree so much with your general viewpoint, it is that it is a viewpoint from back when there were less than 1/2 as many people on the planet.

I want to look ahead at the rigidity and lack of redundancy that we are leaving out, the subject to massive failures we get from increasing our numbers and our effects on the planet.

I think someone with leadership has to have a vision, and people have to buy into it almost on faith, because no one can know how bad global warming will get, or volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, weather pattern changes, desertification, but if we could keep out population in check we would be less subject to extinction if there was massive climate change and preserve the environment as well.

If we could build the cost of recylcing and disposal into a product we would have less frivolous buying, better resource use and less pollution.

When any of these ideas are mentioned the typical refrain is that it will destroy the economy, but the economy can mean a lot of things, and our economy in addition to meeting our needs also generates a lot of external costs that we are ignoring.

I cannot help but see complaint of the nature of yours as a kind of mindset that those who want to see no change adopt when they hear someone express that, even if you are sincere in your firm beliefs those that hear your viewpoint are not sophisticated or caring enough to hear anything other than that you may be used to make them some money. So, not like I disagree with some of your general ideas, I think it is too late not to look ahead and try to preempt problems in whatever way we can.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2009 at 10:24 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

And so the underlying Malthusianism of the Earth worshipers comes to the fore. "It would be a nice world if only half of you would go away" is your mantra. Your Gurus Gore and Ehrlich are consistent in their errors, and yet "...people have to buy into it almost on faith,..."

because it requires the dismissal of experience and education to follow the Messianic trail. Go, True Believer.


Posted by Bru, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 16, 2009 at 4:07 pm

> Malthusianism of the Earth worshipers comes to the fore.

This is the kind of silly language that comes out when you have no more arguments.

What is wrong with building external costs into products? Do you have answer or just more anti-Gore rhetoric.

Did you ever see this:
Web Link
You-Tube video by a Colorado University Physicist?


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Externalities are difficulty to measure, especially when they are speculative or just plain fiction as with most. Look at the externality assigned a mercury thermometer as opposed to a CF bulb for that rubber ruler. Utility, on the other hand, is easy since the user decides.
Had the professor, on his lift ticket example, started with zeroth value before the facility opened the first year price would be infinity. I suspect the prof was betting there were no calculus students present. You and Malthus and Gore and Ehrlich do not know how society will accommodate future growth, primarily because they lack a clue as to how society accommodates our needs today.


Posted by Bru, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 16, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Part of living life is intelligently dealing with the limits to what can be perceived and computed. You just want to throw the whole idea about the window, but I'm glad you at least took a look at the guy's talk. Of course it was simplistic, but no simpler than Bush basing tax cuts on high revenue, and then Obama basing tax increases on low revenues.

Doing nothing perpetuates the boom and bust knee-jerk behavior and may be the major cause of it. It's also not so hard to measure the cost of externalities if you just account for what it costs to take back whatever product is being sold to the extent possible over time. Why not prepare our processes to be flexible and improveable over time.

And by the way, I can do without the silly incantations of Malthus, Gore and Ehrlick, none of them are reading this and you are just using their names to tweak anti-global warming people, none of which are apparently here. It's a waste of time.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 17, 2009 at 8:39 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

There is a vast chasm between doing nothing and doing nothing unnecessary that I advocate. I cite the names of the gurus of your notions. People who protest the limits of the world's carrying capacity, however wrong they may be, seemingly believe the supply of money to promote their agenda is bottomless and beyond the need for justification. They, and you, Bru are wrong.
I am going out, now, to distribute free plastic bags in front of Safeway. Come early and get yours.


Posted by Bru, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 17, 2009 at 12:30 pm

> People who protest the limits of the world's carrying capacity, however wrong

You can make that point without all the inciteful comments that detract from it, but if you did that people would realize that:

1) The difference between doing nothing and nothing unnecessary is a straw argument. If you were really interested in fine tuning or improving people's critical processes you would not consistently throw in the insults and hyperbole. Translation is you do not mean what you say, you are just hear to feign superiority, likely because no one listens to you at home.

2) The supply of money is not unlimitedm, true, but again, if you bothered to consider that comment it also means that the supply of money to remedy "real" mistakes is not unlimited either, so it is economical to catch and stop those mistakes before they are applied to our health or the environment.

3) There are no gurus or my notions, first because you don't seem to be able to clearly understand my notions, and second because you don't evidence the powers of concentration required to stay on point instead of just characterizing me as Al Gore.

Again, in closing, I think somewhere in some isolated circumstance and issue your point of view is valuable in that if you were engaged seriously you probably could find specific examples where the cost benefit is upside down. But your belligerent attitude undercuts your own effectiveness at education, because no one likes to listen to a know it all grump.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 17, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

When you allow your opponent to define the terms you have already lost. That same belligerent attitude was unlimbered also against communists, Jim Crow, separatism and throwing virgins into volcanoes.


Posted by Bru, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 17, 2009 at 4:08 pm

You belligerent attitude has to make your fellow citizens into "opponents" you can call names and argue with in order to avoid having to deal with the facts they do bring up ... even if some of Gore's facts may be wrong.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

I presented nothing but facts.


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