Paavo Ogren’s fictional presentation

September 30, 2013

Julie Tacker newwLetter by Julie Tacker the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board

At the September 17, 2013 San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting, after considerable public comment, Director of Public Works, Paavo Ogren, gave an impromptu presentation to the Board. This item had not been agendized, no staff report or opportunity for the public to participate was given. The controversial subject; the Los Osos Waste Water Project, seawater intrusion and dewatering of construction ditches.

Ogren was there to counter the criticism the Board had been receiving every Tuesday this summer for dumping construction water into Morro Bay.

Using the overhead projector, Ogren provided a graphic depicting a cross section of the Los Osos Groundwater Basin. He then took a pen and circled an area known as Zone’s A and B, saying it was the “upper reaches of the upper reaches” of the aquifer, suggesting this was where dewatering is occurring.

paavo4Ogren’s presentation was deceiving; his circle pin pointed a monitoring well site in an area approximately 40 feet above sea level and approximately one quarter mile west of the construction zone and almost half a mile from the nearest dewatering operation.

Paavo's Circle Plan View.jpg

Ogren, with Supervisor Gibson’s editorial support, tried to convince the board that the water currently being pumped from ditches and dumped to Morro Bay has no impact on the community’s depleted drinking water supply. At a recent meeting in Los Osos, Gibson was heard characterizing this quality water as “trash water.”

Dewatering is necessary to bury gravity collection system pipes in areas of high groundwater along the fringe of the Morro Bay, a National Estuary. In these areas, water can often be encountered less than one foot below the soils surface. The ditches must be void of water 18 inches below the bottom of the ditch to allow for gravel, pipe, backfill and compaction to occur. Some dewatering is taking place 20 feet below the soil surface and often below sea level.

Dewatering for construction of the project is not a surprise; the 2009 environmental impact report anticipated one million gallons a day would be encountered by the project. After permits were issued and construction bids were being solicited, in 2012 the County released a conceptual Dewatering Plan. This was the first time we (regulatory bodies and community members) were made aware that the project no longer was looking to dewater a million gallons a day; estimates had jumped tenfold. The county provided options for the contractors to discharge the dewatering water; Supervisor Gibson repeatedly assured Los Osos citizens discharges to the bay would be a “last resort.”

Potential damage to the basin is in the form of a missed opportunity. By pumping and dumping this quality water into the estuary, never to have a chance to recharge or beneficially use it. Other missed opportunities for beneficial reuse are discharges at the Broderson leach field, a multimillion dollar disposal facility built as part of the project and intended to accept treated wastewater once the project is complete. Use of this water is perfect to give it a test run. The Broderson site was chosen over other sites for wastewater disposal because of its proximity to the Los Osos aquifer. The eight acre site high enough on the hill to sit above perforated clay allowing for recharge into the lower confines of the basin. Intended to combat seawater intrusion, it is also expected that most of the disposal is anticipated to mimic the perched aquifers hydrology, keeping wetlands hydrated once septic flow cease.

The unintended consequences of this dewatering surrounds the health of the bay-fringe wetlands and the freshwater springs at Sweet Springs Nature Preserve. No monitoring is taking place to determine if there are any changes taking place with regard to the health of these sensitive resource areas. Monitoring and mitigation of these special places was implied by permitting authorities, but detailed language requiring this best management practice was overlooked and the project management team is not doing anything beyond what is required by the letter of the permits issued.

Again, permitting authorities were not made aware of the change in volumes now expected to be dewatered.

Citizens and the LOCSD, our only elected body, have written letters to the Regional Water Quality Control Board asking that dewatering to the bay cease. No one has suggested the project stop, just recognize the failure and reprioritize the construction schedule to optimize beneficial reuse. Capture and reintroduce the water back into the ground, upslope, away from the bay where it will have a chance to percolate and perhaps make its way to the drinking supply. The largest threat to the Los Osos Groundwater Basin is irreversible seawater intrusion; to dump one precious drop of this construction water is a failure to protect the resource.

Ogren’s flair for fiction is no surprise; to mislead the powers that be, again, no surprise. Gibson, a geophysicist that knows how to read a cross section map, facilitating the farce outside an agenda, marginalizing the public, throwing them from the chambers; no surprise. To waste water is hugely unpopular, but if it’s Los Osos’ water, it’s not real or important water, its “trash water.”

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Word on the street has it that our County Health Department has an awesome remediation plan to protect our local Los Osos citizens and the long-suffering bay from further contamination, due to ongoing pumping & dumping during waste-water construction.

Plan A – Anyone subjected to the contaminated “D” grade water during spraying operations will be advised to immediately rush to the local hospital for a “free” tetanus shot.

Plan B – Due to the scientifically proven fact that Oysters love to eat sewage, the County shall budget to purchase 150,000 hungry shellfish to feast in the bay. Each oyster is capable of filtering 30 gallons of water per day. It has been estimated that 3 million gallons of sewage could be processed every 24 hours. Nitrogen in particular, fixes to their shells, making up to about 8 percent of their total weight.

This highly unusual (Oyster) approach worked well back in 2008 with the “Massachusetts Oyster Project” to clean up the heavily polluted Charles River.

Can it be that the things Ms T has said here woke me from my needed rest? Maybe, maybe its the phantom back-up beepers I hear even when work is complete each day?

Nevertheless, two things.

I’m not suggesting Los Osos litigate rainwater, I mentioned it because it is happening in other places, rainwater has value. Additionally, the Low Intensity Development projects the county is installing in conjunction with the wwp are ongoing right now to avoid runoff to the bay.

Secondly, the map. Enlarge the picture, Ogran and Taker’s circles are of the same wells. I think those are monitoring wells, I’ve seen the workers around there periodically over the years checking them.

Ok three things. The “million gallons to the bay” each day, first of all that number is unsubstantiated and if it were it’s perhaps one tenth of what’s going on in dewatering. Dewatering is higher volumes being pulled out of those high groundwater areas faster than nature would.

I wish more people would wake up and participate in this process.

Yes, the County actually started the project up with LID improvements. Drainage remediation is a function of the CSD and it is limping by but is underfunded.

I looked at the map. There are many monitoring wells. You can see a map of the water monitoring wells the ISJ will use on page 129 of the Draft Basin Plan. Start reading on page 125.

The million gallons is a rough estimate that has been used for years. You might look at the chart I posted on my blog at this link for some actual data from 1990. The chart shown is pulled from the EIR. Of course these quantities fluctuate with septic discharge and rainfall. John Waddell told me a conservative number would 300,000 gallons a day.

Neither you nor I (nor Julie) know the quantity going into the bay right now. I’m not sure how the speed of water being pulled out (as it fluctuates with rainfall and septic return anyway) is a factor in the overall water supply as this water; the perched aquifer in particular, is not used for drinking water and we are not using much of the upper aquifer water either due to nitrate contamination.

Nature, unless you think of human water use and sewage impacts as “nature,” has not had it’s way in Los Osos since 1920.

QUOTING LT: “Neither you nor I (nor Julie) know the quantity going into the bay right now.”


Yet another reason for permitting, with the stipulation that amounts of water being dumped be metered by a non-Rasic/County third party and amounts recorded and submitted to appropriate agencies.

Then, depending on the amount of damage being done to the bay, Rasic can be charged per amount of water dumped in the bay.

Both the County and the Water Board know the quantity and are handling this.

Really? Where are the metering logs? If the county and water board know the quantity, that is public information. So prove your absurd claim and produce the documents.

Gibson and Paavo are either negligent or complicit in Rasic’s illegal actions. We need new leadership on this project.

Gibson should be removed from any role, even commentary, on the Los Osos project. He is a menace endangering the health of both the people of Los Osos and the bay’s ecosystems.

Ogren should put on unpaid administrative leave, investigated and, depending on the outcome of the investigation, terminated/prosecuted/and/or fined.

Enough of this corrupt and inept duo’s abuse of power, conflicts-of-interest-laden administration of the project, and lying to the public.

Do a public records request. But first learn something about the hydrogeology of the basin and ask the water companies if they use the perched aquifer for drinking water. Then when you blog next you will have learned something and won’t look so stupid.

1. No, how about you support what you claim, especially since it is different from most other sources.

2. Why don’t you go look up what is involved in the recharging process, then you won’t look like such a mindless Paavo puppet.

I did support what I claim. I already posted a link to my blog, the chart showing the water going into the bay, and there are links and quotes from other water documents too.

Read the Basin Plan Mary and then get over here and talk in facts, and not throw out vague thoughts like “most other places,” whatever that is supposed to mean.

I know perfectly well what is going on with recharge and the water that goes into the bay drought or not and sewer or not, that is just the hydrology of this area.

All you really say over and over is that you don’t like Gibson, Paavo and the sewer project. We get it already.

I’m not quite sure what you are getting at with this link, other than it sure supports our long overdue need for a sewer! The quality of the water going into the bay is monitored to the satisfaction of the permits and the Regional Water Quality Control Board. Go ahead, ask them!

This water isn’t a “discharge” from industrial, construction, commercial, residential or any other manmade apparatus, it’s water in the trench from the surrounding ground and in the way of workers installing sewer pipe FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!!

Time to get real people!

So why lie about it’s origin?

Look up “nonpoint source pollution.”

The Basin Plan & adopted Resolution No. 83-13 prohibits discharges of waste (trash water) from all systems effective November 1, 1988.

Resolution 83-13 also stated “Surface water sampling also indicates total coliform in violation of the Basin Plan limits for contact recreation. Numerous complaints of surfacing effluent, foul odors, slime buildup, and system failures have been documented.

If the aforementioned was all true at that point time, why is it ‘simply’ trash water at this point in time?

Ms. T,

The Broderson site and conveyance to Tri-W are complete. Every stormwater retention basin in town is dry. It’s the “missed opportunity” (as Tacker points out) that you seem to be overlooking for a home to the water.

You say nothing of Ogran’s lie, why did he tell the Board the water was coming from on high?

If he will lie to his Board, he will lie to you, me and the water board.

The water has value. To allow it to be thrown away is a travesty.

Curious, you say a million gallons a day is making its way to the bay on its own, wouldn’t the contractor’s water now make that two million? Once they get up to running at full speed, wouldn’t that be multiple millions of gallons of water going to the bay, never to be recovered for use in the basin? How’s that OK?

“The water has value. To allow it to be thrown away is a travesty.”

So now this ditch water is valuable….

When it rains, those millions of gallons will be spit in the bucket.

However, the suggested capitalization or ‘Rescue” of this ditch water will be on the books for a long time.

….next time you do your own feasibility study, please include the cost of Diesel fuel, Contractor Direct Man Hours, Contractor Indirect Hours, Logistics, Equipment Cost, & Project Cost & Time, etc, etc.

…this issue is mice nuts and Julie Tracker is no Erin Brockovich.

Did Ogran lie to the supervisors? If so, why? If not, why is this circle on the graphic above sealevel? Isn’t this water at or below sealevel?

Millions of gallons of water add up to millions of acre feet. Considerable expense is being undertaken right now to capture rain runoff in order to halt it from entering the bay. Additionally, in other places the capture of rainwater is being litigated, it too has value.

Your statement:

“….next time you do your own feasibility study, please include the cost of Diesel fuel, Contractor Direct Man Hours, Contractor Indirect Hours, Logistics, Equipment Cost, & Project Cost & Time, etc, etc.”

Should have been included in the bid to do the job right. Or, as the water board points out, the construction schedule should have been organized in a fashion as to optimize land disposal.


Ogren did not lie. What he put up has only been INTERPRETED as one.

Over 600 changes to the placing of a property’s laterals made by property owners, many, many after the deadline to accommodate these changes without scheduling impacts, have influenced the both schedule and the costs. All changes cannot be anticipated.

I don’t quite see why you don’t “get” this discharge to the bay is PART of the million gallons going into the bay naturally and daily, just via a different conveyance method, the contractor’s pipe. When this had been already happening for YEARS, did you even know about it? If so, where was your outrage over that and more to the point, what would your solution to that be?

You want to burden the water companies here in town with litigation on rainwater capture? You don’t think we pay enough on our water bills? All water that falls on your own property is supposed to stay on your property, according to county rules but as we see across town, the driveways with large swaths of asphalt just send the rainwater down the hill and on to the bay. You want to impinge property rights to get that corrected you will probably be tarred and feathered. In case you looked, rainwater capture is an OPTIONAL part of the wastewater project, and it is optional due to property owner COSTS.

Twisting reality to support Paavo and Gibson doesn’t change reality.

Paavo is a liar, and you cannot rewrite history. It is documented on video.

Construction sites are required to keep any water from a project on the project site for permitted disposal by the contractor.

Rasic and Paavo are thumbing their noses at the regulations with which other contracting companies comply.

But, you know what? Paavo and his slimy contractor really are not that special. They have to follow the rules like everyone else does.

The side issue of the value of the water becomes more relevant once one understands that the State of California has been planning, for months, high-level $$$workshops (which have now started) throughout California in preparation for the 2014 drought.

In other words, the State of California already acknowledges the drought will continue at least through 2014.

The corruption/negligence/inept administration of the project by Paavo and his toadies is costing Los Osos future groundwater which, after its process through the aquifer, can end up as very pricey potable water.

Paavo and his corrupt contractor are taking money from the people of Los Osos. It is absolutely sickening that Gibson’s and Paavo’s toadies continue to slavishly support them, no matter how much harm they bring to the people of Los Osos.

Takemeout2theballgame, the piping to Broderson is not yet complete. Godislanguage has it right. Suppose you want to truck water to basins. First you need to get permission from the basin owners. They are not all owned by the County or CSD, most are privately owned. Keep in mind trench water is being used as dust control instead of potable water. So to move this water, say you have permission, you need a truck. Look at tanker truck sizes. How much do you want it to carry to get through our narrow and now equipment clogged streets? Common sizes hold 5,500 and 11,600 gallons. Let’s say you want the large size. To move 1,000,000 gallons you will make 86 trips a day. The small size would make 181 trips a day. You want that amount of noise, exhaust, traffic disruption and associated costs on top of what the project already does to this town? Really? Want to live next to the staging area for that? For the presumed million gallons that goes into the bay anyway.

Does the above article even say HOW MUCH water is going into the bay? All I see is the word “estimates.”

Don’t get caught up in this accusatory hair-on-fire screed by the woman who helped usher in the LOCSD’s bankruptcy which has seriously impacted District services for years and still will long into the future.

Ms. T,

Why turn your comments into personal attacks? “Hair-on-fire”? “Bankruptcy?” How is that relevant here? As I recall, it was the recalled board who meddled with the loan contract and triggered the domino’s to fall. Not too mention, the contractors who filed those claims knew what they were walking into, only one was cautious, that was the one in my neighborhood in Sunset Terrace.

As for the dewater’s use. I just saw that in Morro Bay they are trucking water to avocado orchards from Whale Rock. Now, tell me this water couldn’t be trucked from Los Osos for the same purpose. This would alleviate the draw from that source and find use for this one. Win/win!

As I read last weeks CCN article and the CSD’s letter, the infrastructure to land disposal is very close to being complete, why not adjust the schedule to expedite it?

Records surrounding the dumping of water are available at the county. Why doesn’t someone request them? The estimates are staggering, if it’s less, hooray, but it doesn’t make it right.

What you call a personal attack is merely a descriptor of the language in the article above. “Bankruptcy” is a reminder of the residues from the suggestions and actions of the author. Take all with a sackful of salt. Beware.

You recollection is incorrect. Stopping the prior project without permission to do so despite clear and repeated warnings not to was the cause.

Delaying dewatering to the rainy season makes no sense.

You want to endure lots more traffic and pollution to save a non-critical amount of water? Fine, see if avocado farmers want to pay for that, but ask the surrounding residents in Los Osos if they are OK with the impacts to their lives first.

Did a little internet research before responding. I don’t really want to get into a banter with you Mame, because your approach is negative.

Avocado Farmers are paying for water deliveries now, the water in this case would be free. Just thinking creatively.

I don’t see delaying into the rainy season like you do, I see that this would be a consequence for mismanaging the construction schedule from the start. The construction management firm should be held accountable for this error.

I clearly remember that the project owner does not have to “ask permission” to suspend their project, just as I don’t have to ask my bank if I want to suspend work on siding my house. I am in charge of my project. The LOCSD was in charge of theirs and didn’t “Stop” anyone, they “suspended” contracts.

“Hair-on-fire” is descriptive of Ogran’s lie. He lied. She caught it. If he lied to the Board, why wouldn’t he lie to us and to the Water Board (not a good idea)?

So you are suggesting avocado farmers remove this water to Morro Bay? Guess a contract with the County would be in order since control of the water was lost by the Lisa board……..

The State Water Board did not see the Lisa board’s actions the way you do. In fact they sued the CSD. Being warned then thumbing your nose at the warning is just plain dumb. Redefine words all you like, the result was a lawsuit. Burke Williams Sorenson couldn’t worm the CSD out of that. And the resulting bankruptcy is yet to be resolved.

You call it “mismanagement” but I call it the reality of any large construction project like this one. I don’t see the error.

He did not lie. It is a hand drawn circle on a chart. You have not proven intent, just a wobbly line. What school has bestowed a surveyor’s license on Ms. Tacker?

Wow, now you have to be a surveyor to read a map? I’m in the wrong profession.

So, you got me thinking, and I went back and watched Ogran’s presentation. It was the same day Gibson threw people out of the board chambers. Not a good day for democracy.

Ogran circled an area above sealevel, as Tacker points out, and when you look at where the same circle is on the aerial view, he circled west of Sunset Terrace. Whoops! Not a lie? Just a blunder? Clearly misrepresenting the facts to his board! Also known as A LIE.

I’m looking at the BOS right now. If you did as you claim, to see the presentation, you see that Paavo draws a quick sketchy line on the FIRST image shown in this article. But where did the SECOND one come from? It wasn’t in the presentation! Julie found this from another source and made the connection herself. (You might note that the map above with the circle refers to a “Figure 1” as to finding the orientation, but the second map above is called “A1.” They are not meant to go together.)

As to people being tossed out, they, as you must have noticed, had their 2 or 3 minutes of speech at the podium uninterrupted. When they began yelling from the back of the room, they were asked to leave. That seems reasonable. Act like a 4-year old having a tantrum and you go to your room.

Nothing like a good revisionist. Your recollection of the history of the sewer project is terribly myopic. Try again…..

Just looked it up. SLO Co. AND LOCSD own basins that could be used at no charge.

How about you show us?

County owns the one at Fairchild & Los Olivos and at the end of Palisades.

The LOCSD owns the ones in Cabrillo and Bayridge Estates.

The school district owns some too, all taxpayer owned should be easy to use.

Also, wouldn’t it make some sense to set up a sprinkler at Mid-Town and water the plants there?

Again, creative thinking out-loud here.

Hey, if you want to spend the money, add traffic to the already burdened streets and pollute the air with diesel fumes to save a few gallons from getting to the bay sooner than they would anyway, fine. Spend a dollar to save a penny? Sure. Great idea.

Mid-town already gets all the water from ARB and Rasic was told not to add anymore there.

QUOTING LT: “Mid-town already gets all the water from ARB and Rasic was told not to add anymore there.”


And so Rasic just illegally dumps it? That is not a legal solution to Rasic’s problem.

Rasic uses some of the water for dust control. Some is going into the bay. Rasic is accused of nothing illegal except by those who still hate the sewer project and want to punish anyone who helped it along.

You bring up a very good point. The water for permitted disposal needs to be metered. That is not currently occurring.

Contractors for projects as big as those involved with the LO sewer project should be competent in dealing with things like scheduling to allow for traffic, having access to legal sites for dumping, etc.

If Paavo cannot deal with this situation of illegal dumping of undocumented amounts of water and, indeed, allowed and fostered it to occur (going so far as to lie to the BOS about the site where the water was coming from), then it simply proves Paavo is incompetent for his position.

Paavo needs to be put on administrative leave, and the BOS needs both to take steps to ensure the “construction water” is being disposed legally AND start the search process to replace Paavo.

What an incompetent doofus he is. I cringe to think how many other projects Paavo has screwed up by his incompetence.

It’s being documented, just wait 10 days for the Freedom of Info request to be processed. Ooops! By then millions more gallons will be gone.

Something Ms. T keeps saying is that trucking to basins is the only land option, not so. The first dewatering began last winter on Los Olivos Ave, this was done, much like the dewatering to Mid-Town, with over land piping. So I am not sure why she keeps bringing up trucks, when this over land piping could be rigged up again to the basins that are dry right now.

Better yet, just hurry the hook up to Broderson along, an “all hands on deck” approach is necessary at this time to cease the wasting of water.

Takemeout2theballgame, be sure to post the info when you get it, OK?

While you are busy with your FOI request, why don’t you ask how much that piping cost per foot and then multiply that by the distance between the dewatering area to the two county basins and and the three CSD basins – especially those uphill in Bayridge and Cabrillo. Don’t forget the pumping costs.

Try reading the draft Basin plan to see how the water will be managed in the future. Don’t forget that at a MINIMUM, 300,000 gallons has gone into the bay for YEARS and that we don’t used that perched aquifer water for drinking.

Why do you assume the pipe to Broderson is not being installed quickly? There is only so much equipment that you can put on any given roadway. Maybe the people that live on that street need to go to the market occasionally?

It may be “metered,” but who is reading the meter and reporting the figures?

Why don’t you run right down there Mary and do the metering yourself? As it is now, God could be doing the metering and you’d be shouting, “corruption!”

There are some that could afford to lose some extra water in their own systems.


What water will be served to these vacant parcels?

Since the County is dumping the future water supply into the bay, there’ll be even less to supply them.

For the most part, the water supply comes from the lower aquifer, not the perched aquifer and upper aquifer. A million gallons goes into the bay DAILY and it has for years from these places. There is no danger to the water supply from this loss as it is just going into the bay as it would anyway, just via a different route. The viability of these parcels does not rest on this water. Read the Basin Plan to understand how the water supply is to be managed. You can find the link off the CSD’s website.

It does not matter what has gone on in the past, or even what is going on now, except for the topic at hand…Rasic’s unpermitted, unmonitored, and undocumented-amounts of dumping of contaminated water into the bay.

Rasic and his buddy Paavo need to find a legal source for disposal of the contaminated water. Just dumping it wherever they want because they don’t want to pay to truck it for a legal dumping place is not an option.

Funny it is only the sewer-haters who call water into the bay as illegal. It is not “unpermitted, unmonitored, and undocumented!” The Water Board isn’t making any accusations like this! Get a clue!

Some of us voice our own opinions before Paavo, Gibson, or others tell us it is okay to do so. Get over it.

Your claim about ‘sewer haters’ sounds like a 12-year-old.

I can just imagine the drop in the water table that is occurring. And it does not appear that anyone is being held accountable.

The drop in the water table is up in Paso Mary……..

Dewatering is intended to drop the water table, it’s successful too. The pipes are going into dry holes, just as designed by the dewatering plan. What is being documented is “self monitored and self reported” so we may never know how much water was lost.

Calls to the water board confirm, they are NOT happy about it but do not want to be blamed for stopping the project that we all want.

We will be cited if damage is done to the environment, so someone explain how we’re saving money by dumping? We’ll have to pay to fix what they break or damage, either restore habitats or basin mitigation (oh yeah, that’s the Basin Plan’s job) so the water bill will pay for what the sewer breaks. Oh yes, so much clearer now.

There is more than one water table dropping. Get a clue.