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What's Wrong with Septic? 

Editor:

As usual Ryan Burns shows his bias against the effort supervisors are making to write a GPU that includes all the people in Humboldt County (North Coast Journal News Blog, May 30, see also page 13). It's sad that he is opposed to an open democratic process. His latest tirade includes an attack on Supervisor Fennell for supporting alternative septic systems (compost toilets).

Mr. Burns states this will create development in the rural areas. If he bothered to find out anything about the issue he would know that a percolation test for a standard system is required before a permit is issued, so no parcels will be developed that are not suitable for development.

Supervisor Fennell's backing of alternative septic systems is an important ecological change our planning system needs to embrace to prevent pollution now occurring in many areas. Standard septic systems often put out a nutrient plume that pollutes rivers and bays, creating both nutrient and biological hazards. In Trinidad, bacteria has been measured in the bay and landowners have agreed to periodic inspections of their systems. This may not be enough.

I have worked for years on legislating alternative water/septic systems. California and international law now allows people to divert their greywater nutrients into their landscaping. This reduces water use and recycles nutrients, and by reducing nutrient plumes it protects bays and rivers. Compost toilets have come a long way over the years and have been proven safe.

My thanks to Supervisor Fennell for advancing this important environmental issue. Ryan, why are you opposed to recycling and environmental protection?

Thomas Grover, Redway

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