Posted by: Jan | December 10, 2013

Muck is still Muck


When the pre-draft version of the BDCP came out last spring, one area that caused quite a stir was the exposure that the plan was going to extract tons of tunnel “muck” (their term, not mine) that was mud combined with foaming agents, plastics, and other “stuff” used in the drilling process. This muck had to be stored in hugh muck ponds for drying. Muck is smelly, nasty stuff it was so bad that to ensure that underlying groundwater is not contaminated, these muck ponds be lined with an impervious liner to make sure it didn’t seep into the ground water.

One farmer discovered his farm and beautiful Victorian home was planned to be under a muck pond. Discovery Bay citizens were dismayed to see a stinky muck pond within a mile of their community. Boaters were unhappy to see a muck pond just west of the primary South Delta anchorage, Mildred Island. People drove to Stockton to attend the BDCP meetings and complained loudly.

A few months ago, the BDCP posted a nice glossy flyer about all of the neat things you could do with tunnel muck. They heard the ruckus about muck and renamed it, “reusable tunnel material” or RTM. They brochure claimed it was great to build habitat, build up farm lands that had settled, good for levee walls. A wonder material. Wow. All is well. I expected the next release of the BDCP Plan to describe how they would be removing or reusing the material.

The new final “Draft” BDCP Plan was released Monday December 9th so I grabbed chapter 4 to read how they were going to transport the muck, er I mean reusable tunnel material, out of the Delta or put it to good use.

Surprise, surprise. Chapter 4 is EXACTLY the same wording as the prior version EXCEPT the word “muck” is replaced by “RTM”.

What’s that called again? Oh yes, putting lipstick on a pig. Or in this case, a muck pond.

Isn’t that the same maneuver as calling the Peripheral Canals “smaller underground tunnels”? It does sound better even though their capacity is still 15,000 CFS with the addition of a couple of pumps (the entire Sacramento River), going “under” causes huge construction damage through the heart of the Delta, and the end result is the same: water the Delta needs to remain healthy will bypass the Delta to support big, powerful agribusiness farmers making huge profits sending almonds to Asia.

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