On May 21, 2020, subscribers to the State Water Resources Control Board listserver received a message from the State Water Resources Control Board:
This is a message from the State Water Resources Control Board.
The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) will accept written comments on the draft Order Denying Petitions for Reconsideration by Bloomingcamp Water System of enforcement actions taken by Stanislaus County as local primacy agency under the California Safe Drinking Water Act.
The State Water Board’s draft order is attached to this email and is also available for review at: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/public_notices/comments/index.shtml
Comments must be received by noon on June 22, 2020.
More information is available in the attached notice.
Ever since receiving this message, I have been detecting the faint whiff of bullshit and boot polish. I’m wrestling with responding to the California State Water Control Board. Their treatment of Bloomingcamp Ranch, a food stand on CA-120 outside of Modesto has been thuggish. (See short video here: https://www.modbee.com/news/business/agriculture/article229379199.html) Bloomingcamp’s water system, which serves, according to state records, “6 residents, 4 employees, and 25 or more customers at least 60 days out of the year,” has tested above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limit on nitrate/nitrite in the water (They had 23.9 and the limit is 10). The Modesto Bee article says the State is concerned for public health reasons, “Darrin Polhemus, deputy director of the state board, said the state is vigilant about nitrates because they can cause harm to infants with limited exposure. Nitrates are a cause of ‘blue baby’ disease by interfering with the process of carrying oxygen in the bloodstream.”
The assertion that nitrates “can cause harm to infants with limited exposure” is speculative. One of the papers I read called it a transformation from a plausible hypothesis to “sacrosanct dogma.” After going through several scientific papers (which I will cite in another post), I’m getting the feeling that the EPA, and both the county of Stanislaus and the state of California, pulled the nitrate/nitrite numbers out of their asses, or more precisely, some bovine asses, hence the whiff of bullshit.
I am working on a response to the “draft Order Denying Petitions for Reconsideration” and I thought that I would share with you my journey to the science. Science, as I wrote here before, is Latin for “knowledge.” It is an evolutionary process and as long as one is will to have one’s own ideas attacked, poked, prodded, scrutinized, and ridiculed, anyone can participated. Science is not a monolithic structure run by scientists; it is the scrum of ideas, where the most adaptable to the evidence eventually win.
So, I think the authorities are completely wrong (yes they have “the rules” on their side). I invite you to do some research and prove me wrong.