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Susan Hansen: 'The endless excuses, blame and stalling from incompetent City of Molalla about its wastewater fiasco are stunning!'

To the editor:

The endless excuses, blame and stalling from incompetent City of Molalla about its wastewater fiasco are stunning! At the compliance meeting, Molalla managers and lawyer J.W. Ring blamed DEQ for permit delays. Ring actually said "In my opinion DEQ moves like frozen molasses".

Consultant Holly DeRamus made the excuse that "poor little cities" like Molalla were forced by the Feds in the 50's to build wastewater plants and then spent decades failing to upgrade because no one would give them money.

DeRamus claimed that increasing sludge removal from the leaking lagoons would not improve capacity to prevent "emergency" effluent discharges, contradicting Dyer engineering which reports: "…the City would benefit from additional removal of biosolids to increase storage capacity of the lagoons."

Public Works Manager Gerald Fisher admitted that Molalla did not have enough money to remove as much sewer sludge as last year and that he has no idea what it will cost ratepayers to repay loans needed for a new plant (operating deadline Dec. 1, 2023).

DEQ public records debunk Molalla's claim of "transparency". DEQ denied Molalla's major modification request for its current permit. That application cost Molalla almost $20,000; how much more money was squandered on lawyers/consultants trying to defend effluent backsliding and violations of River spawning rules and Canby drinking water protections?

DEQ can't be faulted for delays: Molalla's permit renewal application was 119 days late, the application lacked signatures and a long list of required scientific data was missing. Molalla now must pay consultants to study how wastewater plant processes would impact the Molalla River.

How much public money will Molalla residents allow mulish City "leaders" to waste on environmentally unsound schemes that don't meet scientific water quality standards? How would Molalla react if Canby wanted to degrade Molalla's drinking water source to save money?

Susan Hansen

Molalla


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