Monday, June 14, 2010

Letter of Feb 21, 2010, to KDC Agenda Meeting

Here is the original letter of Feb 21, 2010 that got the KDC to sit up and listen to concerns about the wastewater proposal. But NOTHING has happened after this letter was tabled and entered into the public record. This letter is also in response to the one sent in by Mr. Chris Cochane with his "instructions" to KDC and CEO on how the community is to be treated. This letter will be posted on this site for you to read. It is a real shocker!

Dear Councillor Graham Taylor:

I respectfully request that this letter be tabled at the February 24th Council meeting. The purpose of the request is to make corrections to the statements made in the public record of the Council Agenda Meeting for 24 Feb 2010, and to insure that Councillors are given correct and accurate information about the issues discussed below.

First, for the record I wish to state that I am 100% in favor of protecting our Baylys Beach community and its environs from contamination due to waste water and sewage emanating from local household sources. For eight years I have held the position of Senior Scientist for Landcare Research, a Crown Research Institute committed to the protection of our New Zealand ecology, and my dedication to protecting our native environment is a matter of public record.

Second, the Kaipara District Council has known for more than five years (see Council Minutes, June 25, 2003, Section 5.10) that several (n=6) household properties in the Baylys Beach community have faulty, inoperative and/ or defective septic tanks. The Resolution passed at the 25 June 2003 meeting has not been actioned. In addition, the KDC has knowledge of specific incidents of septic tank derived sewage contamination into the storm water effluent at Baylys Beach. Moreover, the KDC has in place specific district-wide by-laws to deal with storm water and household waste water issues.

Therefore, one is compelled to ask the question: Why has the KDC neglected to carry out its duty to have these specific properties comply with the national standards set forth by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE), the Ministry of Health (MOH), and the 2009 KDC District By-Laws? For KDC to continue to neglect, delay and refuse to act on these matters is paramount to malfeasance and poor governance by the KDC. After these many years of unresolved problems, the KDC now wants to impose a multi-million dollar reticulated sewage scheme on the backs of the community residents, when only a handful of households are in need of upgrades and/or repairs. If the community were given the choice (i.e., if use is to pay, then user should have a say), then a variety of lower cost on-site systems for each household would be highly preferable to a multi-million dollar scheme with undetermined future escalating costs.

Third, in the Notes of Meeting (ref. Baylys Beach Waste Water Community Meeting, Weds Feb 3, 2010, page 99 and see related statements on page 90, File No.4515.0 of the KDC Agenda Feb 24, 2010), it is stated “In the past it was not possible to determine whether the faecal count were because of animal or human waste but new testing has now been undertaken which is a fluorescent whitening test which has now identified and demonstrated leakage of human waste into the coastal waterways.” This statement is FALSE, MISLEADING and INACCURATE.

The Fluorescent Whitening Agent Test does not prove or demonstrate the presence of human waste in waterways. This test identifies the presence of “whitening chemicals” derived from laundry detergents. For more than thirty years laundry detergent manufactures have added synthetic chemicals to detergents to make clothes “brighter and whiter”; these synthetic chemicals are not readily biodegradable and can be found in the “grey water” coming from household washing machines. Fluorescent Whitening Agents (FWA) can be an indicator of human derived sewage or septic tank leakage if all of the household wastewater (grey-water and toilet-water) goes into the on-site septic tank; if any grey water from a washing machine is discharged onto the property and finds its way into the storm water system, it will lead to the presence of FWA in the downstream effluent, thereby giving a misleading result. I know for a fact that several properties at Baylys Beach have grey water discharge from the household washing machines that flow onto the properties as surface grey-water. Furthermore, the seemingly innocent activity of washing a boat or car in a driveway with a bucket of laundry detergent can lead to the presence of FWA in the surface water discharge. For KDC to assert (page 90, File No.4515.0) that the FWA test has established with certainty that human waste is contaminating our community is false and misleading. For the public record this statement needs to be retracted or corrected by the KDC.

It is paramount that KDC Councillors understand the nature of complex scientific test results and the pitfalls associated with them. If Councillors are presented with complicated data from the KDC staff or outside consultants, then it seems reasonable for them to be provided with enough information and clarity to make informed decisions. Again, the issue with the unreliability of the FWA test results points to the need for KDC to conduct appropriate tests that comply with the standards and guidelines set forth by the MOH and MOE for waste water contamination. The testing for neutral lipid sterols of human origin has been well documented to be the most reliable markers for human faecal contamination in ground water. Finoa Vessey claims that the new test results are essentially conclusive (pg 88, 24 Feb 2010 Agenda Meeting). The Councillors as representatives of the electorate have a responsibility to scrutinize these findings and ask probing questions on such matters, or seek outside advice if necessary to interpret complex data. The fact that laundry detergent chemicals can be found in the surface water effluent at Baylys Beach DOES NOT mean that human faecal waste matter is present.

Finally, it should be noted that I am not just some “American Doctor” speaking out on these matters. My extensive expertise and lucid locution on these matters stems from the fact that I have over 30 years experience in the medical sciences at three major universities and two biotechnology firms. At the University of Southern California School of Medicine I served as professor of Microbiology, and at Texas A&M University I held the title of Professor of Public Health for 11 years, simultaneously with other professorial positions in three colleges (College of Agriculture, College of Medicine and College of Veterinary Medicine). My meritorious career can be easily perused by doing a Google search, which will reveal over 1000 citations (using search words “D. Scott Linthicum”). My expertise in these matters should be viewed as an asset to the Kaipara District, not an obstacle.

Also for the record, I find it libelous and highly defamatory to be labeled as a “hijacker” of community meetings by Mr. Chris Cochrane as stated in his memo dated 20/01/10 to Mayor Tiller, Cr. Taylor and CEO McKerchar. Mr. Cochrane has a vested financial interest and gain if there is implementation of a community–wide reticulated wastewater scheme that can be partially paid for by the current ratepayers. I contend that his negative comments and overt arrogance regarding what the community needs to be told, as stated in his memo to KDC (see page 93, KDC Agenda 24 Feb 2010), are counter-productive to a transparent, honest and objective discussion of these important matters as we move forward as a community under the care and guidance of the KDC. Upon request I will provide a signed and sworn affidavit stating that I have no personal or business financial gain whatsoever in the implementation, construction and/or operation of a reticulated wastewater scheme at Baylys Beach. Ask Mr. Cochrane if he is willing to do the same.

I submit this letter with all due respect, and I am,

Sincerely yours,

Darwin Scott Linthicum, Ph.D.

cc: Mayor Neil Tiller

Councillor Bill Guest

Councillor Julie Geange

Deputy Mayor Richard Alspach

Alan Mortensen, Lifestyler Publications

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