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Why the extreme proposal to remove all humans from the ecosystem?

By Tom Glendinning
Posted Thursday, September 15, 2011

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Pittsboro, NC - I would like to thank Ms. Dotson for her comments. I appreciate the opportunity to review federal, state and local publications, water quality reports, and regulations. Such comments inspire my curiosity and drive for research. The following is organized per your Chatlist response and per Alderman's report. My sources are state documents, Wildlife Resources Commission "Wildlife Action Plan," and monitoring reports.

1. The biological factor is only one of the standards for evaluating river ecology. Terrestrial, sociological, chemical, physical factors must also be included. State tests reveal that these factors have improved. The Rocky River has had incidents of excess nitrate and nitrite, iron, and fecal coliform, as well as a lack of dissolved oxygen. Nitrogen excesses are the most numerous, but not drastic. In the state monitoring report map of violations, the Rocky has low or average numbers, i.e., no red circles as do Durham, Pittsboro, Fayetteville and Wilmington on the rest of the Cape Fear River. Surely, mollusk populations would change in 130 years regardless of human activity. The dinosaurs disappeared with no help from us.

2. You depend heavily on the Alderman report, July 1, 2010. I am sure that it is scientifically sound piece by a reputable company, it proposes some disturbing solutions. Item number three, agricultural and sylvacultural interests should be regulated by state and federal agencies. They already are and, further, regulated by local boards and governments. Over-regulated in the opinion of many.

3. The meaningful changes in human behavior in the report would appear to be to remove all humans from the ecosystem altogether. This is deduced from the statement "Technologies need to be developed and implemented to ensure that all stream ecosystems maintain nutrient levels (are) consistent with those expected before European settlement." If we were not here, that level could be achieved. Give up your houses, cars, jobs, all goods transported into and out of the county and cap off all waste generation sources and orifices. That may make it possible.

There is no more industry in Siler City. Maybe now, the Rocky can recover. Of course, residents and farmers will lose their homes and have to move somewhere else. If that approach reflects your values and regard for fellow human beings, then why protect the river? Turn over your deed to the Toxolasma pullus (Savannah Lilliput mussel) for all the good that will do. Chatham County has been seeking industry and employers for decades without results. In this economy, we would be lucky to keep the ones we have much less choose who we want.

4. The river was in decline. However, reports of water quality over forty years indicate its improvement. There appears to be a conflict between experts. Argue that one with the Division of Water Quality, Department of Environment and Natural Resources. All factors considered, the river has improved. It will continue to do so because industry has left Siler City.

You seem to be preoccupied with sludge/biosolids. This waste is the most studied in American history. (Google Epstein and Albert or EPA and sludge.) Its regulation dwarfs that of other wastes. It is processed to a high degree and released to the environment when and only when it has passed standards surpassing food inspection. I do not understand how one can use a public toilet then complain about wastewater treatment or sludge. It is fertilizer, the same as manure applied to pasture lands, not crops. Manure is the basis of organic agriculture. Distribution of biosolids is promoting organic agriculture and providing fertilizer to the farmer for no cost to him/her or it.

Further, sludge is not toxic or it would not be released into the environment. But you seem to have welded these two words together as if they were one. Toxic substances are regulated by the EPA and WQ Section of DENR and are on a special list. Sludge does not appear on that list. Sludge is not necessarily pharmaceutical waste. I have processed this waste and it was clean and easy to treat. Estrogen can be removed from waste. In and of itself, it would cause an imbalance.

Thank you for a good debate.

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Why the extreme proposal to remove all humans from the ecosystem?

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