Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bureaucrats, Distinctions Without A Difference

Here I am at the end of my first month putting up ideas and issues in front of what may be no one. I am a liberal and a populist that believes we should all band together to get the disease of large profits out of our biological plumbing. I spent a period in my youth defending my beliefs against the establishment and have a few scars from that period. We call that period Hippie. It constantly makes me realize that if we don't all stand together against bureaucratic ineptness, little gets done and change moves so slowly our children will be lucky to see results from our individual efforts outside of a group. In today's fast moving world of communication, and the horrendous economic collapse our country finds itself in, this snail's pace of progress out of antiquated solutions has to cease. We the people, who pay all the bills, deserve better from our government, especially when the topic is our homes and the forced cost to dispose of our "stuff".
Stories can be fun and I especially like to relate some of my experiences accosting bureaucrats. I've used stories in past blogs and I was asked to mention this one by a friend in another state. I had to call a department head at the state level to discuss the Pirana System I invented and the method for its use. I had state wide approvals at that time in more than 20 states and many local jurisdictions in states where I had no state approval. The fellow I was talking to mentioned a theme I've heard ad nauseam. He claimed the septic systems in his state were different than septic systems in other states. Another opportunity to have some fun.

I asked this department head if we could kinda go through what he stated and see where there might be some understanding or even some misunderstanding. He said sure but what I felt he meant was Ho Hum. We agreed that I could ask some questions and he would answer them to the best of his ability.

I asked him if he would get a sample of everyone of his family's "stuff" while I went to four or five other randomly chosen states and gathered samples of "stuff" from ten or fifteen other families. I said that I would then mix them up with his family's "stuff" and could he then pick out his family's "stuff" from the mix? He said I was being ridiculous that no one could do that. Ah, said I, so your "stuff" isn't different from the "stuff" of families in other random states. If it were, your "stuff" should stand out enough to tell the difference. So we came to an agreement that "stuff" from people in all states are primarily the same "stuff".

I asked him what size septic tanks are required by his department in his state? He said 1000 to 1200 gallon tanks for 3 bedroom houses. The same basic volume required by most states around the USA. We now had our second agreement. Tankage requirements are about the same.

I asked what the tanks were made of in his state and would you believe, he said the exact same materials that are limited to and / or allowed in most other states. We had our third agreement.

I finally asked him how he qualifies soil types. He informed me that they use a Class distinction based on how the soil reacts to the passage of water through it. In other words, he used D'Arcy's Law for percolation and movement of water through soils to determine which Class 1, 2, 3, or 4 (4 being the least desirable or outright not allowable for disposal fields) to qualify the soils of his states. Will wonders never cease, this is exactly what other states do. He said but his state had soils from different sources. I mentioned that Classes of soil are not about the mother stone that created them but how they react to percolation and water movement through them therefore the source of the soil had no issue. Class 4 soils called adobe clay from degraded volcanic ash is no different from Class 4 soils from eroded serpentine. They both react to water identically. So finally we had our fourth agreement. In fact we had no disagreements, yet.

On sizing of disposal fields based on percolation tests we again found that there really wasn't a substantive difference between his states requirements and those of other states. Now we had the fifth agreement. This couldn't last and I knew what was coming.

Lastly, I asked him if he thought the people in government in other states were idiots or less intelligent than the people in government in his state? He said he thought there was a similar cross section of potential in the people working in government any where in the country. Again we had agreement. I therefore asked him if there are 20 or so states that have approved the Pirana and had for years, and the people in government in other states are neither more stupid nor more intelligent than the people in government in his state, then why would he not allow a technology that has so many state's approvals from people that are in essence just like him and his fellow government employees? Here we had our disagreement. His answer is listed below:

"That's just the way it is and you'll have to live with it."

Ahhhh, the fall back of the misdirected, the ill informed, the incompetent or the bureaucrat...sorry, I repeat myself.

I said no I won't because I didn't live in his state, thank the heavens. But that attitude is common in so many jurisdictions around the country that we can't get any progress in dealing with septic issues. We need the people who are being impacted by this silly posturing (that's all of us) to maintain control over our lives (at least the biological plumbing part of our lives) to stand up and be heard on this subject of bureaucratic refusal to allow every type of recognized solution by any other authority to be used in any local area without censure. We've seen what can be done by others who band together in political arenas and the dramatic change they've created, why are we not doing something similar with regard to something so basic to our lives?

In closing, its the same "stuff", its sent to the same tankage made of the same materials and it goes into soils that are classified by an identical yard stick of performance so why does a technology that has successfully worked in a reasonable number of jurisdictions (say five to ten jurisdictions of authority) not be allowed in all other jurisdictions? Unless we stand up as a group and demand this situation to cease, we'll have done what I've heard so often mentioned, "We turned our lives over to the bureaucrats, the least adept and least qualified to make decisions for us." Until we make our politicians step in and stop this, what in reality is blatant protectionism, I guess you'll really have an expensive pay toilet in your house.

I am not against regulatory oversight in some areas of our lives. I do not consider all bureaucrats to be bad people or without redeeming value in our society. But I do consider them an extension of our political system and therefore we can exercise some control by banding together to become politically focused at least on a local level if not on a state or national level to make ourselves and our issues heard. The way you've been treated by the local EHD or DEQ, is entirely different than how the government deals with municipal wastewater plants and those households served by the MWWP.

Imagine the political leaders telling each household that they are going to have to pay $25,000 to continue to use the MWWP for the twenty years not including occasional costs for maintenance issues and we'll take the money now or you have to vacate you home? Wouldn't happen. The people would rise up in arms so no politician would consider such a thing. When its the politician and just you, its a demonstration of power like no other. For your information, MWWPs pollute far more than septic systems.

Thanks for stopping by.

1 comment:

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