On October 27, 2010, to an OSST reporter, Mayor John Close said this about Sauble septic systems:
“I don’t think provincial or federal governments could take the embarrassment of Walkerton again”
Contrary to Close, there is no similarity between Sauble and Walkerton. Close made it up. It was false propaganda to support Close’s communal-sewers-at-Sauble agenda.
On March 11, 2011 a Wiarton Echo reporter asked:
“Does [the septic inspection plan] put the intent for a full sewage system for Sauble Beach on the back burner?”
Mr. Close replied:
“Absolutely no…..We will be tendering for new plans with specialty engineering firms with particular disciplines and in August we will be prepared to make some decisions. We want to be able to tell the naysayers that this will work.”
This makes clear John Close’s agenda – communal sewers at Sauble.
In an August 22, 2011 letter to Ontario Minister Bardolucci, Mr. Close indicated:
“Areas of our Town (especially in Sauble Beach) were experiencing difficulties managing their septic waste and maintaining healthy and potable water.”
This too was false propaganda to support Close’s sewers-at-Sauble agenda. There was and still is no evidence of Sauble Beach having difficulties managing their septic waste or maintaining healthy and potable water.
In the September 10, 2011 OSST, about Sauble sewers, this was written:
“Mayor John Close said he was just doing his due diligence in making senior levels of government and the public aware of the history of a problem of septic systems contaminating well water throughout the town as the town explores implementing a septic re-inspection program.”
Contrary to Close, there was and is no “history of a problem of septic systems contaminating well water throughout the town”. Mayor Close made it up. It was more false propaganda to support his sewers-at-Sauble agenda.
And now Mayor Close is at it again.
In the first phase of a TSBP septic inspections program, systems in the Northeastern part of the town were inspected. Results were in a report that was in the March 4, 2014 council agenda package.
On March 6, 2014 John Close was interviewed by an OSST reporter about the septic inspections report. Of the results, Close apparently said:
“[I am] surprised at the number of problematic systems found in the first year of South Bruce Peninsula’s septic re-inspection program. …..I would have thought in and around 10% [receiving grades of medium to high risk]. But 25%, that’s one in four. That’s our drinking water, that’s where we swim. It’s a concern to me.”
It wasn’t about Sauble this time, but still, once again, Mayor Close got it wrong.
Contrary to Close, there is no indication in the report of 25% “problematic” systems. Contrary to Close, there is no evidence from the report (or anywhere else) that 25% are medium to high risk of contaminating drinking water or “water where we swim”.
Genivar, who conducted the study, was supposed to determine the age of each system and use the information to decide which systems to inspect first. That made perfect sense. They improperly used a classification system of “low-risk”, “medium risk”, and “high risk”, based only on age, even though age is a virtually useless indicator of risk. But as long as the “low” “medium” “high” classifications were being used only for deciding which systems to inspect first, there wasn’t a problem.
But then someone, apparently Genivar, decided to use the risk classification system for a completely different purpose. They modified the system to make it look more scientific and then they assessed the level of “risk” of each system, not prior to inspection, as was planned, but rather after each septic system was inspected. But even with the new scientific appearance, the “low” “medium” “high” classification system is still bogus.
The bogus risk-classification system doesn’t mean the whole study was useless. Septic systems were inspected using a Ministry guideline, and remedial action letters were issued based not on risk classification, but rather on the inspection results. The inspections themselves, and the decisions to issue remedial letters, and the decisions on who will get repair orders, were all done completely separate from the bogus risk classification system. Except for the bogus risk classification system, the program is proper and necessary and useful, and should be continued.
The risk classification system adds nothing to our knowledge of risk. The classification system adds no useful decision making information at all. The risk classification results were not used for anything, except by John Close to muddy the waters.
And Mayor Close has muddied the waters, creating a huge misinformation problem. Close claims that 25% of systems were “medium to high risk” [of contamination] when in fact there is no evidence from the survey or the report or anywhere else to substantiate that such a claim is true.
Why is this a problem?
Because it presented an opportunity for John Close to get into the press once again supporting his agenda of getting a communal sewage system at Sauble.
I am all for a proper septic inspection program. But I don’t like John Close deliberately misrepresenting the program results just to grab a headline and to further his agenda of getting sewers at Sauble Beach.
When the Sauble systems are inspected and a report is issued in 2015 or 2016 look for John Close to go to the press in panic mode with more false propaganda something like this:
“I am surprised at the number of problematic systems found at Sauble. Twenty-five per cent of the septic systems are at medium to high risk. That’s one in four. That’s our drinking water, that’s where we swim. This is a grave concern. We must have communal sewers at Sauble before someone gets killed like at Walkerton!!”
The Sauble septic inspection results will be out January 2015 at the earliest. The Municipal election is October 27, 2014.
It is most fortunate for the residents of the Town of South Bruce Peninsula that there is a very good and easy way to put an end to John Close’s false propaganda.