Resident Rich McFadden – Sounds off During HAB Experts Panel

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During the recent HAB Experts Panel in Sparta, NJ, videotaping of the event ceased before Mr. McFadden had a chance to ask his question regarding the numbers being inconsistent among panelists.

So, here is his challenging question to the Experts Panel:

I started my comment by also thanking the panel for volunteering their time and asked the panel if they would consider spending additional time to search for a common solution.  I pointed out that it was very clear that their efforts tonight were solely focused on advocating for support of the Storm Water Utilities act.    Yet despite my beliefs that storm water management is a significant need when protecting our watershed – it was clear from tonight’s presentation that de-centralized stormwater utilities are not the answer.   My concerns rose from the fact that many of numbers quoted in Dr Obrapta’s and Dr Souza’s presentations contradicted each other.  If three experts advocating for a common solution can’t agree – how are distributed stormwater utilities (1,700 isolated utilities nationwide) a good idea? 

I stated that the three presenters need to do a little more work and come back to the table with more common views, views which didn’t contradict one another.

Dr. Souza stated if every homeowner could take care of the “1 year” storm on their property, 3.75” of rain in two hours, which he estimated as 15,000 gallons of runoff - the nutrients entering the lake would be substantially reduced.  Then Dr. Obrapta stated that the rain gardens the Rutgers Cooperative was building were typically designed to handle the 2 year storm???  How does a rain garden maybe 20’ long x 10’ wide x 6 inches of gravel deep hold more than 15,000 gallons of rain (that is a 25’ diameter 4’ deep swimming pool – or 300 rain barrels!) 

Either one of these experts is dead wrong, or they are both wrong – because it is mathematically impossible for them both to be right.

So here we have two “Experts”, with wildly different views, advocating that watershed communities come up with their own plan – how do we expect small regional utilities to figure out what is the right solution?   Sounds like a recipe for disaster – hundreds of utilities statewide all coming up with custom solutions.   I stated that the state appears to be skirting its responsibility to provide centralized, efficient, uniform corrective direction for stormwater management and cyanobacteria remediation.

The panel’s response was that each community should figure out what is right for their lake.  Kind of hard to do when it’s a state lake.

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