E. Coli EFMs

Chris Savage (Eclectablog) continues to track what the Emergency Financial Managers have been doing around Michigan. In new developments, the EFM for Pontiac MI, Michael Stampfler, broke the Police Dispatcher’s union contract, dissolved the Planning Commission, fired the water and wastewater department, and outsourced the latter function to a private company, United Water Services.

Now, Pontiac has had compliance problems with its wastewater treatment since 2009. Which is why Stampfler’s chosen replacement for Pontiac’s wastewater department is troublesome. As Savage points out, United Water was indicted in December for tampering with E Coli testing in Gary, IN.

Because United Water was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice last December for violating the Clean Water Act.

United Water Services Inc., the former contract operator of the Gary Sanitary District wastewater treatment works in Gary, Ind., and two of its employees, were charged today with conspiracy and felony violations of the Clean Water Act in a 26-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury, the Justice Department announced today.

United Water Services Inc., and employees Dwain L. Bowie, and Gregory A. Ciaccio, have been charged with manipulating daily wastewater sampling methods by turning up disinfectant treatment levels shortly before sampling, then turning them down shortly after sampling.


According to the indictment, the defendants conspired to tamper with E. coli monitoring methods by turning up levels of disinfectant dosing prior to E. coli sampling. The indictment states that the defendants would avoid taking E. coli samples until disinfectants had reached elevated levels, which in turn were expected to lead to reduced E. coli levels. Immediately after sampling, the indictment alleges, the defendants turned down disinfectant levels, thus reducing the amount of treatment chemicals they used.

That would be a neat way to save money on wastewater treatment, huh? To hire a company allegedly willing to tamper with water quality readings to appear to have fixed water treatment problems.

Of course, the cost of infecting a city with E Coli might end up being a bigger problem.

  1. scribe says:

    Just another example of Republicans telling America and Americans to eat shit and die.

    In the news business, that’s called “Dog bites man” and is therefore not much of a story.

  2. JohnLopresti says:

    WBushCo had an infamous policy of inviting revolving door members of the *regulated* industry to help edit toxic pollution reports. Another sleight in WBuschCo*s armarium was to shift the data monitoring span, so data sets would not work with the same formula for thresholds when comparing, say, data collected in the toxic release inventory from a Democratic party administration with the data more sparsely recorded by the Republicans under WBushCo. In fact, just before WBushCo trotted out of the WA-DC data trading post on their trusty steeds, WBushCo*s FTC made a plea to the EPA requesting that coal, oil companies, and similar industries, all be excused from having pollution data be provided in the public sphere. That report was published October 2010, just before the presidential election which the Republicans lost in November 2010.

    A similar data legerdemain occurs in locales with Republican slimmer-government-is-better-government measures* deployment in states with budget cutbacks. Consider that regionally illustrative article in a paper majority owned by the NYTimes; the cited journalistic report avers that an environmental outfit which monitors water pollution data for many cities and beaches nationwide showed in spring 2011 that a local beach notorious for a failing environmental reportcard grade of *F*, instead in 2011 received an *A*; all the rhetoric in the article supports the new, sparkling image for that beach. Then, nearing the end of the allotted colum-inches, the article admits, ahem, the local water agency actually confessed both that the environmental outfit*s test occurred just a month before the beach returned to the same-old *F* rating; and, that state (?or local county?) budget reductions at the hands of an intransigent Republican minority in the state legislature, caused cancellation of Water Agency data collection efforts for most other beaches. It is difficult to build a mathematical trend graph when there is discontinuity in data sets gathered. That looks a lot like less-government by more-trust postelectoral Wisconsin 2011 style. FYI, That*s a list of the 100 most air-polluting companies in the country; the linked chart takes an interesting approach in its impact formula, multiplying population expected to be exposed x toxicity of chemicals released x pounds spewed. NB: most of the companies on the chart discharge in the range of 1,000,000 lbs or more; itwould be interesting to compare this chart from2001 with similar data which was prettied up by WBushCo, in the subsequent toxic release inventory reports during his Republican administration.

    With respect to the specific localized article cited, the ocean area has different runoff pollution than the areas which discharge on the other side of the peninsula, into the bay, where known leaking and antiquely designed urban culvert systems transport biocontaminants like ecoli bayward rather than oceanward to where most beaches are situated.

    Further, I have observed, subjectively, that with Democratic administrations, parent agencies are more rigorous and thorough in attempting to provide monitoring, even if the local subdivision of the agency is under more political pressure than the state umbrella organization to render data inaccurate, discontinuous, and difficult to interpret without grasp of the history and politics involved.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Let’s not let government get the idea that its job is to provide honest, competent services at low cost to a taxpaying public that always had, but frequently rejects, the alternative: higher-cost services at varying levels of quality from an unregulated, sometimes blatantly dishonest private sector.

    According to Republicans, government’s job is to channel as many tax dollars to the private sector as possible. Privatizing government services while failing to regulate them is just their latest attempt to feed the hungry private sector instead of their hungry constituents.

  4. prostratedragon says:

    The Great Leap Forward in government-business co-operation:

    Better Homes in America

    Needless to say, there had been a long gestation period. A big spur had been, not just the WWI housing shortage, but also the WWI advances in propaganda technique. AFAIC, there are those seeking a glorious recapitulation of this whole era, with of course certain corrections.

  5. JohnLopresti says:

    There was still Blooming and Flowering in the economic spring following thought reform for ivory tower habitues, once their years in exile to the rural cooperative reached its politboro stipulated goal, with the requisite signed statement evidencing newfound orthodoxy in a one-party political system. In Washington, it can be as facile as an agency*s publishing a rule change; or monopoly media*s ignoring history altogether and promulgating the captions. I hear Grover Norquist is busy rewriting history again, for the young members of the Republican party.