Post 36 in a series. When Green Turns Brown is an examination of a small town’s digester-energy project, in which Whitewater, Wisconsin would import other cities’ waste, claiming that the result would be both profitable and green.
In this post, I’ll consider the Donohue firm’s December 2014 public presentation to Whitewater on a wastewater upgrade. The full presentation is embedded immediately below. As the discussion is long, in this post I’ll consider the first 36 minutes from the discussion. (This is the initial portion during which Donohue and then City Manager Clapper describe the project. Thereafter, the discussion opens to public comments.)
(Every question in this series has a unique number, assigned chronologically based on when it was asked. All the questions from When Green Turns Brown can be found in the Question Bin. Today’s questions begin with No. 217.)
217. Donohue’s first technical memo mentions that a goal of Whitewater’s city officials is to sell water (“[t]he value of water was discussed in detail….The option of producing a sellable water product is of major interest to the city.”). Why no mention of that goal here?
218. Donohue’s presentation, by their account, addresses the ‘liquids train’ portion of the project (that is, not the biosolids processing at the plant). Can one have a liquids train project without a biosolids train? (It’s a rhetorical question.) More directly: does a particular liquids train method require a definite biosolids train method? If so, when and which methods are bound in this way?
219. Whitewater, as Donohue outlines it, has two options for phosphorus management: (1) Option One (immediate compliance with phosphorus reduction upon construction) or (2) Option Two, using the so-called “Clean Waters, Healthy Economy Act” without any capital costs. Donohue recommends Option Two.
The obvious question: how much phosphorus does Option Two remove, in absolute terms and relative to Option One? Since Option Two requires a payment in lieu of physical reductions, for Whitewater’s environment doesn’t Option Two’s solution really mean no practical, significant phosphorus reduction at all?
220. Why did Whitewater’s officials choose paying to allow continued levels of phosphorus discharge in the local environment rather than commit to actual, physical reductions in levels of phosphorus discharge?
221. When did City Manager Clapper first choose Option Two? (He presumably chose Option Two – payment in lieu of significant phosphorus reductions – by the time of this 12.16.14 presentation. If it were otherwise, Donohue would be advocating a key approach without the assent of Whitewater’s full-time staff.)
222. What record, if any, does City Manager Clapper have of the basis of his decision on or before 12.16.14 in favor of Option Two (payment in lieu of significant phosphorus reductions)?
Next: The December 2014 Presentation (Part 2).
WHEN GREEN TURNS BROWN: Mondays @ 10 AM, here on FREE WHITEWATER.