Are we all comfortable with 43 California municipalities dumping their “treated sewage affluent” into the ocean? We must be. California has been doing it for decades!
I’m reminded of a Jacque Cousteau special in 1972. He made the argument that any dumping of sewage into the rivers, lakes, seas and oceans is most destructive. Unfortunately, all California coastal communities pump millions of gallons of “sewage effluent” into the Pacific Ocean daily! All of these coastal cities are really to blame for the decrease of flora and fauna in our ocean.
Communities in California who are not near the ocean deal with their sewage effluent in a far more environmentally sustainable manner. How? Valley cities and mountain communities rid themselves of their waste by recycling the effluent, which is used to make compost or irrigate farmland by growing crops that are not for human consumption or treating the effluent and recycling water for domestic needs.
These valley and mountain communities are following federal aw, which prohibits the discharge of effluent into rivers, canals, lakes or other bodies of water. For some reason, coastal communities do not have to follow! Coastal communities have federal “permission” to discharge directly into rivers, lakes and the ocean.
Chemicals and human waste (like ammonia from human urine) are very harmful to our ocean! There is blatant disregard for the health of our oceans! Los Angeles’ Hyperion Plant has a 12-inch pipe that goes out into the Santa Monica Bay 5 miles, dumps millions of gallons of sewage effluent per day seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.
LA water treatment plants Hyperion, Tillman, Burbank and Glendale collectively average over 300 million gallons of “sewage effluent” into the Pacific Ocean per day.
San Francisco typically discharges 80 million gallons of sewage effluent into the ocean per day on a dry day!
Why is the sewage effluent so destructive? Our oceans are becoming more acidic and that is the main reason for flora and fauna demise in our oceans. All living creatures have adapted to a specific pH, which is a major influence in the capacity of any living organism to exist.
Take humans, for example: our blood pH is 7.4. At a pH of 7.2 we die. At a pH of 7.6, we die. Oceanic creatures, such as plants, coral and fish, have evolved to live in a pH habitat of 8.0 to 8.1. Coral is exceptionally susceptible to pH changes. Sewage affluent treated or not has a pH that ranges from 7.1 to 7.8 that is being pumped into our ocean at the rate of billions of gallons per day, thus acidifying the ocean and killing aquatic life.
And what have communities done about fixing this reality? They have done nothing! Well, that may have been OK 50 years ago, but the population has doubled since then! That means, a lot more toilets.
The Blue Plains Water Treatment Facility in Washington, D.C., is the largest treatment plant in the world, treating 330 million gallons of sewage effluent per day. That “treated sewage effluent” ends up in the ocean!
All of the major coastal cities around the USA have done this effluent discharge for generations! Where do you think sewage effluent goes leaving New York, Atlanta, Miami, Boston, Minneapolis, Seattle and Portland?
Lake Erie of the Great Lakes has as much as 20 feet of brown foam on top of the water? Twelve million people get their drinking water from Lake Erie.
The Pacific Rim countries dump their waste into the ocean directly upstream of the Great Barrier Reef, killing coral at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, the death of that coral is being blamed on global warming, not sewage contamination.
Eighty to 90 percent of all wastewater in developing countries is raw effluent that goes directly into rivers, and eventually the ocean.
The Nile River dumping into the Mediterranean Sea is hopelessly contaminated, wiping out life in the Mediterranean Sea for miles in all directions.
Here in America, the realization that the people who “scream the loudest” about the environment are people who live by the oceans and major rivers and they are the ones who are the most environmentally destructive.
Just thought you should know.
Ed Davis was born and raised in Bakersfield and attended local schools. He is a professional agronomist, water science specialist, APCA, CCA and has been a business owner since 1981.