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Posted 9/21/04
Police: Workers Dumped Restaurant's Grease At Car Wash

Indianapolis Police say two men who work for a business that unclogs drains illegally dumped restaurant grease at a car wash said an article at .

Timothy Taylor and Anthony Watts could face felony charges of criminal mischief, and their employer, Just Drains of Indianapolis, could face civil penalties for allegedly hauling hazardous waste without having a license, police said.

Environmental enforcement officers said they recently saw Taylor and Watts dumping the grease at the car wash, located on the 5400 block of West 38th Street in the city.

Officers were watching the car wash because someone complained to the city that Just Drains had dumped there before.

Environmental enforcement Officer Bradley Craig said that when he asked Taylor and Watts why they dumped the grease at the car wash, they replied that it was convenient and close to their business.

"I then asked them if their company had a proper way of disposing of this, and they said no," Craig said.

The car wash's owner, David Doyle, said people have illegally dumped waste at his business for two years, causing him to spend $10,000 to unclog drains there.

"Financially for us, it's just been devastating," Doyle said. "We were having to unclog the drains about every three months."

The city's Department of Public Works said it is clear that illegal dumps have been made at the car wash. The department found grease, oil, solvents and human waste trapped in its drains.

Posted 6/21/2004
Western states kick off summer under threat of crippling drought

By Patrick O'Driscoll,

DENVER — Drought conditions in parts of the West are the worst in more than 400 years. Western governors will meet today with federal climate officials to assess conditions and discuss how to prepare for the threat of wildfires and what could be a dire summer for crops and drinking-water supplies.
The governors, from 18 states from Kansas to Hawaii and Arizona to Alaska, are meeting in Santa Fe on the first day of summer for the annual meeting of the Western Governors Association. Their meeting comes as:

• The drought in the Colorado River Basin, which is the main water supply for seven states and the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, Phoenix and Las Vegas, is probably as bad or worse than the basin's biggest drought in 1590-94, the U.S. Geological Survey says. The agency, which studied rings on trees among other things, also says the flow of the Colorado River during the past two years was barely half than during the Dust Bowl in the 1930s.

• The nation ended its third-warmest spring on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Near-record warmth in March prematurely melted mountain snow on which the region relies for drinking water and crop irrigation.

• The long-term drought picture "remained virtually unchanged" with no break in sight in the latest "Drought Monitor," published weekly by NOAA. The report says at least half the rangeland and pastures in California, Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona were in poor condition.

• Las Vegas, the nation's fastest-growing metro area, may have to declare a drought emergency at year's end if the water level in Lake Mead drops to its lowest point in 40 years as predicted.

The National Weather Service predicts above-normal heat across the West and below-normal rain for the Northwest in July.

Most of the governors' states have suffered four to six years of drought that has sapped supplies, hurt recreation and damaged crops. The governors will meet with the head of NOAA, retired Navy vice admiral Conrad Lautenbacher, to discuss an early-warning system that could help them plan for drought and predict wildfire conditions.

June 1, 2004
Drought Drains Western Businesses

DENVER — As homes and businesses curb water use amid a multiyear drought, many industries have fallen on hard times while others are surviving by offering water conservation designs.

Extreme drought conditions range from Montana to Arizona and are expected to persist, according to the Drought Monitor at the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska.

Aside from the drought, there is the issue of an adequate supply of water in high-demand areas. "The reality is that is going to be an increasing problem in this industry as well as any other industry that is water-dependent," Bob Dolibois, executive vice president of the American Nursery and Landscape Association, said in the article.

"What we're seeing in fast-growing areas around the country are selected water crises occurring more fundamentally as an issue of shortcomings of city planning in dealing with water consumption," Dolibois said in the article.

Phoenix is asking residents to voluntarily decrease water use by 5 percent, but has not imposed mandatory restrictions. Officials in Las Vegas, which depends largely on water in a severely drawn-down Lake Mead, are worried about the impact drought could have on its explosive growth, the news service reported.

May 03, 2004
Recycled water key to valley's growth

By Launce Rake

In the drought-stricken West, any source of water is precious. In Las Vegas, even treated wastewater is becoming a more valuable commodity.

Not everyone might embrace the idea of the recycled water, a product of the urban area's sewage stream, providing sustenance to the region's grassy areas, but it is already part of Southern Nevada's portfolio of water sources.

Officials from across the region say that because of the drought and continued population growth, treated wastewater will only be more important in the future.

The water is treated to remove biological and chemical contaminants, and local officials say it is safe for use outdoors, to play in and to come into contact with people. Recycled water, they say, mitigates the Achilles' heel of the local water system, an increasingly vulnerable weakness during the drought: More than 60 percent of the region's water use goes to irrigation.

A patchwork of local agencies is responsible for bringing recycled water.

The Las Vegas Valley Water District is the largest, providing 10 golf courses with the treated water for irrigation last year. Las Vegas, which has three treatment plants, gives water to the water district and to three golf courses operated by local developer Billy Walters.

The Clark County Water Reclamation District sells water to Nevada Power for generating electricity and two golf courses. Henderson sells water to eight golf courses.

All of the providers have different rates ranging from the water district's current $1.85 per 1,000 gallons to Las Vegas, which sells water to Walters' Stallion Mountain and Royal Links courses for 23 cents per 1,000 gallons.

In the middle is the water reclamation district, which sells water based on a formula that comes to about $1 per 1,000 gallons. The reclamation district board -- the Clark County Commission -- is scheduled to consider raising that rate to $1.35 on Tuesday.

Marty Flynn, reclamation district spokesman, said other changes on the table at the 9 a.m. meeting in the commission chambers could be more important and help the reclamation district and its partner, the Las Vegas Valley Water District, sell more recycled water.

The increased rate will enable the reclamation district to bring infrastructure to new potential customers such as the Clark County School District, he said.

"The old rules have been that the customer essentially comes to us," Flynn said. "The new rules would allow us to bring the water to where the customer is. We can go beyond the traditional power plants and golf courses to parks, cemeteries and the other big users."

The move by the water reclamation district, which would go into effect July 1, comes two weeks after the Las Vegas Valley Water District raised its rates for recycled water from $1.69. Water district officials said they needed to raise the rates to balance the agency's costs for delivering water to its customers, who aren't using the volume of water that the district once anticipated.

Those golf-course customers pointed out that one reason they aren't using the water in the anticipated volume is that they have followed the water district's instructions to reduce irrigation during the drought.

Despite the reductions, local water officials say that in the long term, more irrigation must be done with recycled water. Richard Wimmer, deputy general manager of both the water district and the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which brings wholesale water to the region for the local distributors, said a primary reason is that the authority is planning to bring more groundwater into the local system.

The authority now gets about 90 percent of the region's water supply from Lake Mead. Water from the lake can be treated and returned to the lake for "return flow credits." For every gallon of lake water returned, the federal Bureau of Reclamation allows the authority to draw up an equal quantity above its basic allotment.

But groundwater taken from other areas cannot be returned to the lake for the credits, which makes it more important that as Southern Nevada's water portfolio expands, more uses for the treated and recycled water from wells are found, Wimmer said.

Recycling the water also has environmental benefits because less waste water goes into the Las Vegas Wash and it saves the water agencies money because less water has to be pumped uphill from Lake Mead, he said.

"It is extremely important in the long run that we start being more aggressive aboout reusing water," he said. "We're going to ultimately have to look at any large irrigation projects."

The use now is relatively paltry. The water district, the largest supplier of recycled water, sold about 6,000 acre-feet of water to its golf course customers last year -- about 2 million gallons. The region annually uses about 400,000 acre-feet, one-quarter of that from return-flow credits.

Richard Goecke, Public Works director for the city of Las Vegas, said his agency sells about 548 million gallons, or about 1,700 acre-feet, annually. But the three treatment plants operated by the city produce about 24,000 acre-feet of treated waste water daily annually. So there is a lot of room to grow.

He noted that the water agencies are already supplying Southern Nevada's golf courses with recycled water, but they are the relatively easy customers to find and serve. Others will come, he said.

"As the drought continues, reuse water is going to gain greater acceptance," Goecke predicted. "That will open up opportunities for greater use."

April 13, 2004
Compliance Dates Kick In for EPA Effluent Rules

WASH RACK operators were reminded that they are required to submit a baseline monitoring report on their effluent discharge to the local publicly owned wastewater treatment works (POTW), and it was due by March 12, 2001. The report is part of the new Transportation Equipment Cleaning-Effluent Limitation Guideline issued in 2000 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Jack E Waggener, an environmental consultant with Dames & Moore, delivered the reminder as part of an update on the Effluent Limitations Guideline final rule. He spoke April 10 during the National Tank Truck Carriers Tank Cleaning Council seminar in San Antonio, Texas.

“We realize that some POTWs are accepting a pollution management plan (PMP) in lieu of the baseline report,” he said. “However, the baseline report is a federal requirement, so go ahead and do it. It's proactive for your operation, and it's easy to assemble.”

More Deadlines

Another important date to keep in mind is September 13, 2003. This is the deadline for full compliance with the regulation. Most tank wash racks fall under the rule as indirect dischargers, because they release their treated wastewater to a municipal sewage plant. Data gathered by Waggener and NTTC suggest that just a handful of wash operations are classified as direct dischargers.

Waggener said he believes the pollution management plan will be the best compliance option for most tank cleaning facilities. A few companies will opt for numerical limits, and some will use both systems.

“Most POTWs will work with you on all of this,” he said. “ Wash racks are not required by the regulation to provide both a PMP and numerical limits program, but they may want to do so if that will keep a POTW happy. It's all negotiable.”