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Leland Wykoff

Worlds and Oceans of Pollution

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Cedar Fair parks are gaining quite the reputation for environmental issues.  A few years ago it was Michigan's Adventure running afoul of sewage treatment permits, now Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun are having similar problems.  This could become a public relations disaster if management fails to respond to address the underlying pollution and permit violations:

http://amp.kansascity.com/news/local/article213690094.html

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2 hours ago, Beasttamer said:

Are environmental regulations really that hard and costly to follow?

Often times yes.  

Whether fixing this problem to the original standards involves simply changing practices or would require a $20 million infrastructure build out is something we do not know.

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1 hour ago, BoddaH1994 said:

Often times yes.  

Whether fixing this problem to the original standards involves simply changing practices or would require a $20 million infrastructure build out is something we do not know.

As Bodda said, the simple answer is YES.  Now for the explanation...

EVERY operator of treatment facilities has had violations.  In the industry, the Department of Justice (DOJ) serving as an arm to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues hundreds of Consent Decrees yearly to entities operating treatment facilities.  What is a Consent Decree?  A Consent Decree is a fancy name for lawsuit.  This consent decree calls out what an entity has to do and spend to get into compliance  Every major city has a consent decree.  Surrounding Kings Island we have Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Middletown, Lima, Milford, Louisville, Lexington, Clermont County, Northern Kentucky, etc. all have one.  For the big cities it is in the BILLIONS of dollars for each city to get into compliance...  In addition, hundreds of consent decrees are issued to mobile home parks, amusement parks, interstate rest areas, etc. which are entities other than sewer districts that operate treatment facilities.  Even Amazon has a consent decree for violations.

The kicker in all this is that the EPA goes after the "low hanging fruit" which are these treatment plants.  The reality is that the pollution that leaves just your property from runoff after just one rain event is putting more pollution into the creeks than just about any treatment plant.  The amount of pollutants from a home yard that leaves the yard as runoff and goes into the curb inlet and then the creeks/river is a lot.  Between fertilizers put down, normal soil erosion, animal droppings, leave decay, etc. the pollutants that get into the creek from sources other than treatment plants is astronomical.  Heck, one animal relieving itself near a creek puts more contamination into the creek that a treatment plant that processes hundreds of millions of gallons of water a day.  Same goes for one septic tank.

Wanna know why Missouri made the Worlds of Fun permit less restrictive...regulators are slowly realizing that these point sources (treatment plants) are not the problem.  It is all the non-point sources like our yards, driveways, roads, parking lots, farms, etc. that is the problem.  Treatment plants put out well less than 1% of the total contaminants in the waterways.  One large farm puts out more pollution into to the waterways than the community treatment plant that the farm is in.  Instead of spending $200 million on a treatment plant upgrade, if the community bought buffer zones along the creeks and waterways in their community it would be much more beneficial than spending that money at a treatment facility to try to get a marginal improvement on an already clear discharge.  Some communities are doing just that with great results.

So the media makes it to be a big deal when these treatment plant operators have a violation, but the fact of the matter is even with the violation it is usually insignificant in the big scheme of things.  The fact of the matter is the discharge from most treatment plants is basically to drinking level quality.  Heck in California where water is a premium, they just about do just that - it comes in as sewage and leaves as drinking water.  It is being done in space on the International Space Station.  In fact, some craft beer in California is starting to be made from effluent from a treatment plant...

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