Sep 21, 2022

Bellingham WA: Action Alert. Be like Maine. Pursue cleaner wastewater treatment

Follow what the scientists say. Please sign the action alert. Whatcom County is considered agrarian. Even if you don't live or work in Whatcom County, you may buy its agricultural ptoducts. Crops and run-off from farmland should not be allowed to carry pollutants. Salish Sea needs perfect protection.

Please consider the following Action Alert. In addition to, for many comprehensive articles about pressing issues in Whatcom County, please also see the monthly news journal  

----- Forwarded message ----
From: RE Sources <>
Date: Tue, Sep 20, 2022, 11:00 AM
Subject: The Poop Scoop: Urge Bellingham to pursue cleaner wastewater treatment

Action Alert! 

Instead of making toxic sewage solids, Bellingham could set an example with safer, more efficient, proven wastewater management. Send Bellingham officials a message.
Post Point Wastewater Treatment Plant (City of Bellingham)

The City of Bellingham is looking to replace its aging gas-burning wastewater treatment plant at Post Point. They have been considering a new treatment process called anaerobic digestion, turning Bellingham's 24,000 wet tons of wastewater each year into sewage solids, a type of compost the City would sell for spreading on farmland.

The problem: Sewage solids are not just earthy compost — they are a soup of contaminants including pharmaceuticals, pesticides, "forever chemicals" like PFAS and PCBs, and more with well-documented health effects that would end up in our food and waterways. They are incompatible with our vision of a toxic-free Salish Sea region.

The solution: Both burning solid waste, like Bellingham does today, and digesting it into sewage solids are older technologies. Our region has an opportunity to use newer, more protective thermal processes like gasification that break down contaminants, generate its own on-site power with the byproducts, and *still* create a product called biochar that can be used to benefit croplands — without all the harmful chemicals. Urge Bellingham to consider thermal processes for our wastewater treatment instead of costly, contaminating sewage solids.

Take action

This would cut our city's carbon emissions, prevent toxics from being spread across farmland in Whatcom County, and could cost less than the sewage sludge digestion proposal. Maine recently banned putting sewage solids that contain PFAS on farmland — only after PFAS contamination was found to have poisoned well water, cows, crops, and people on dozens of farms. As our region grows and climate impacts like sea level rise threaten infrastructure, Bellingham must be forward-thinking. 

Upgrading to thermal wastewater treatment could also be eligible for state and federal funding under President Biden's infrastructure bill. This would lower the costs of the upgrade for local ratepayers.

Take action today for safer, longer-lasting wastewater treatment.

Thank you for speaking up,

— The RE Sources team
We live and work on the ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish Peoples, including Lummi Nation and Nooksack Indian Tribe, who have lived in the region from time immemorial. We acknowledge the Tribes' treaty rights, as well as our responsibility to uphold them, and we are grateful for the Tribes' enduring care and protection of the lands and waterways. 
Alongside over 300 Waterkeeper Alliance groups worldwide, RE Sources' North Sound Baykeeper patrols and protects the Salish Sea and the rivers, lakes, and streams that feed it. Together, we're growing a global network of grassroots leaders to protect everyone's right to clean water. 

Think you see pollution? Call or text our Pollution Hotline: (360) 220-0556
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