Our View: Riley can leave his mark with appointment
Published: Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 7:58 p.m.
The appointments Riley will make in the next few months will go a long way toward determining whether LeFleuer is successful and what course Alabama takes regarding the environment.We hope he chooses wisely.
Anita Archie recently resigned as chair of the Environmental Management Commission which, oversees the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. Archie’s service was controversial from the standpoint that she was hired in January to be the chief lobbyist for the Business Council of Alabama, many of whose members were regulated by the environmental agency.
Archie’s resignation means there are two vacancies on the commission and members are appointed for six years. The terms of two other members expire before Riley leaves office, so he will appoint four of the seven members of the commission in coming months.
The post vacated by Archie on the EMC is an at-large position, open to anyone who has been a resident of the state for at least two years. The other position that is vacant must be filled by someone with a degree in ecology or biology. An engineer must be appointed to fill one of the two positions that come open in September; the other must be filled by a physician. For the record, the requirement for the other positions on the commission call for an attorney licensed to practice law in the state, a chemist or veterinarian and an individual certified by the National Water Well Association certification program.
ADEM also has gone through a transition recently, with Trey Glenn resigning in December after four years as director. Lance LeFleuer, owner of a Mobile recycling business, was named as his replacement in April.
A recent article from Calera on the continued problems they are having with their sewage treatment:LeFleuer will have his hands full, running an agency that chronically is underfunded and battered from both sides. Business and industry protests regulations, while environmentalists want the agency to be more active in enforcing environmental protections.
Calera provides update on sewer treatment project
Published Wednesday, May 19, 2010
How ridiculous is this story? This facility has been discharging huge amounts of waste water into Buxahatchee Creek for a long time. Buxahatchee Creek feeds into the Lower Coosa River which is already "impaired" according to state regulatory agencies and under a fish advisory.CALERA — Calera officials will have six years to phase in stricter water quality standards at one of its wastewater treatment plants, city officials announced during a May 19 City Council meeting.
The gradual phase-in will come at no additional cost to Calera for at least the first year, Doug Smedley, director of the city’s sewer and wastewater operations, told the council.
The Alabama Department of Environmental Management recently announced it would require Calera’s wastewater treatment facility on Buxahatchee Creek to be capable of generating water with no more than 0.06 parts per million of phosphorous.Editors note: Buxahatchee is a tributary to the Coosa River.
The new requirements will be down significantly from the facility’s current limit of 0.57 parts per million. Although city officials originally feared the new limit would be enforced this year, it will submit a six-year plan to ADEM May 20.
The facility is currently capable of achieving limits as low as 0.3 parts per million, but it will require additional equipment to achieve lower levels, Smedley said.
“We can make the initial reduction numbers without any modifications to the facility,” Smedley said.
A new centrifuge at the plant will allow the city to achieve phosphorous levels lower than 0.3 parts per million, and the city already has the money needed to purchase the component, Smedley said.
However, the centrifuge alone will not bring the phosphorous levels low enough to meet the standard ADEM will enact in six years, and Calera likely will be forced to find ways to fund further upgrades at the facility.
“That last part is what we are going to have to figure out funding for,” Smedley said. “We shouldn’t have any additional capital expenditures in next year’s budget.
“Hopefully, we will improve the system for three or four years, and then when we have to renew with ADEM after that, they will say we can stop where we are,” Smedley added. “I’ve seen that happen numerous times before.”
Six years to fix their problems???? Great work ADEM as usual.
Mr. Smedley knows ADEM will not force their hand, it never forces anyone's hand when it comes to polluting Alabama and enforcing EPA standards. That's why he can so smugly say; "...they will tell us we can stop where we are, I've seen that happen numerous times before."
And we will see it again over and over because ADEM is a chronically weak agency with no impetus to change.
We have no faith Mr. LeFleuer will be any different.