The county is pushing a “STEP” (Septic Tank Effluent Pumping) system for Los Osos in an attempt to create an unlawful means to maintain control of the community’s water. With a price tag of $250 million, STEP will deprive residents of a sustainable alternative water source.
The Federal Water Law makes clear that a STEP system is unlawful. The system produces the toxic pollutant source of nitrosamines, a known carcinogen listed on the U.S. EPA Toxic Pollutant List, and requires effluent to be discharged from private property. The Federal Water Law requires all pollutants to be “contained” at each source, and since the STEP enables pollutants to migrate (via a sewer collection system), which may cause water and other environmental pollution, it is in violation of the Federal Water Law.
The main differences between the county’s STEP system and the AES “BESTEP”, aka Reclamator, are:
1. The AES BESTEP provides a tertiary level of treatment, the STEP only provides a primary (septic) level.
2. The AES BESTEP eliminates 100 percent of all effluent at the source, the STEP generates effluent (waste) which must be managed.
3. The AES BESTEP does not need a collection system nor a sewage treatment plant; the STEP system requires both.
4. The AES BESTEP provides a sustainable alternative water source that remains in the private sector; the STEP system is controlled by the public sector.
5. The AES BESTEP eliminates all discharges of waste; the STEP is nothing more than a septic tank with a very powerful pump.
6. The AES BESTEP requires only .8 kilowatt per day, the STEP will require about four times the power to operate.
7. The AES BESTEP produces non-toxic and non-corrosive water, which achieves California drinking water standards; the STEP produces toxic and corrosive wastewater effluent and toxic hydrogen sulfide gasses.
8. The AES BESTEP eliminates sewer flows and user fees; the STEP requires sewer flows and guarantees sewer fees.
-- Tom Murphy - President, AES