A pollution study was conducted at Sauble over the last several months by the firm Hutchinson Environmental.
The results will be presented on Friday November 16 to the TSBP ad hoc Sauble Sewers committee.
The study method is based on Hutchinson’s assumption that you can determine whether any E. Coli. found came from septic systems just by testing for caffeine.
That assumption is false.
Ad hoc committee members, council members and residents should be very wary of Friday’s report from Hutchinson.
If Hutchinson has detected caffeine and E. Coli in any samples, and tries to claim that the presence of caffeine shows that the E. Coli. is from septic systems, the report should be thrown in the garbage, and the Hutchinson people should be escorted out of Town, and Hutchinson should not be paid.
The Hutchinson scientists are not capable of determining E. Coli. sources, and should not be drawing any conclusions about sources of E. Coli.
A full critique of the Hutchinson testing proposal is at:
http://craiggammie.com/My Documents/Critique of April 20 2012 Hutchinson Proposal.doc
A statistical trial is always faulty if the design of the trial fails at the sampling level or if an error is introduced in the sampling method. Craig has made a case well that the current trial fails on both counts. The data are not fully randomized and the study design fails to account for sources of variability in the samples collected.
Another place where the study fails is that the satus of the depth of the driven points that were sampled is unknown. You have to assume that surface water can be present in any of the samples.
I sent a note to Hutchinson Environmental warning them that there were serious flaws in their design earlier this year. This is not a case of Sauble folks stepping in after the deed is done. At the committee level there was little or no opportunity for local expert public input, the advice seemed to come only by special invitation or meaningless drivel from the chair. At some point the committee seemed to conclude that the highly permeable substrate in the Sauble area was a bad thing for septics when in fact just the opposite was true. The chair made some comment on behalf of the members that seemed unsupported. This was a good indication that they would fail as a collaborative group. The definitive study for Sources of E. Coli on Lake Huron Beaches has already been done. It concludes that 1 meter is the maximum practical distance that E. Coli travels in sand. Our committee seems unaware of the literature and bent on useless expenditure and forgettable research.
We routinely throw our coffee grounds out on the ground every morning where they are near a surface drain that runs directly to a beach drain. Craig has discussed well, the introduction of variables into the data and how the results can never be anything but “inconclusive.” That is scientific jargon for…… meaningless.
R.V. Anderson made sampling mistakes in 1995,1996 and Genivar made them with the infamous ditch sampling of surface water in 2005. It was all exposed for the rubbish that the conclusions were. Yet the study of the day continues to refer to past mistakes as though they were some sort of a valid baseline that gives ground for speculative statements. History repeats.