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dplum

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 #1 
I imagine this has been addressed before, but is there any reason that the storage of hazardous material can't be solved by supplying the proper storage cabinets to store it in. I oversee labs and proper storage, limited amounts, the creation of Standard Operating Procedures that govern use and a file of MSDSs (Material Safety Data Sheets) are the keys in that world. That's not a very hard standard to achieve.

I can see the bleach being a problem. It's a standard issue gift to the springs for many and the bottles stack up under the palms near the Wizard Pool. I've also heard a lot of folks wonder out loud and some complaining that pouring all that bleach into the environment can't be a good thing, science or no, it's a perception. A proper cabinet would be a aesthetic plus, it would store the bleach properly and could limit the amount stored to what's needed. Just make it known that if you brought bleach and it doesn't fit in the cabinet, you take it back home with you. Then sign the inner door of the cabinet with some "best practices" (the SOPs) for cleaning the tubs, including the amount of bleach to be used. Hey, some of us could use a little bit of guidance on these things.

A tangent… 

There's a lot of folks who come to the springs and don't really lift a finger to keep things running, but there's plenty of folks who are willing to pitch in. What's often lacking is direction.

The population's shifting out there and there's often not someone in the know to give advice. There are also a lot of us who have come in after the main brunt of the community had dispersed. Many of us come once or twice a year and have gained some knowledge, but often we don't feel in the position to give guidance without being asked. I think it might be time to think about codifying some "best practices" (I'm avoiding the R word here) and I think it should be SPA that does it, not the park. Signs in the form of art that can't be burned… like a metal "Please scrape the plate before washing in the sink" welded to the sink, makes sense to me.
Jukebox Mark

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 #2 
In re hazardous materials, keep in mind that even innocuous things can become hazardous in large quantities. Just ask a high rise apartment manager about waterbeds!
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Major Tom

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 #3 
I was surprised to see the composting toilet option mentioned in the alternatives. If memory serves correct, Superintendent Billings is convinced Saline may be the wrong environment for such an option.
Jukebox Mark

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 #4 
The 'link' to the Plan is in Major Tom's first post in this thread. Scroll down the page and you will see a second link to the Comparison Table. It is there that the 'green' toilets are mentioned. No more specificity than that is offered in the current documents.HTH

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Sam D.

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 #5 
Link please.
Jukebox Mark

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 #6 
Interesting that there's been no discussion yet regarding the 'green' toilet option. One time set up cost with vastly reduced pumping costs. Too good to be true?
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Sam D.

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 #7 
My long belief has been that the proposed relocation of the single pooper is not the solution to the problem. It’s going to cost to dig a new hole, lay down the foundation, move aging structure and the tank to the other site, fill the old hole, improve the relocated restroom a bit etc.
Such move will definitely impact people camping on that side of the road. I know that the honey pot truck has limited capacity but why can’t it make the trip twice? I know that some believe that NPS has created the problem by building these monstrosities in the first place. Some feel very nostalgic about the old free style outhouses. Nevertheless, we have to deal with the realities. The old outhouses are not coming back. If we can convince or even help NPS to build another 2-seater at the Palm we can collect small donations from all visitors to help NPS pump restrooms more frequently. I am sure such donations will have strengthened the ties between SPA and NPS. I am quite certain NPS hates spending the money it could use for raises and buying more “This road is closed” signs. Do not mean to start polemics about this important topic … just my 2 cents.
Major Tom

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 #8 

Having identified a few points that required clarifications, and having been asked a few questions by members, I recently contacted the Park Service to answer a few questions. Here are the answers.

The EIS contains an element concerning Hazardous Materials Storage.

1.       Are there any materials currently stored at the springs that are considered hazardous and a cause for concern?

Answer: Yes

2.       What criteria will be used to determine when materials are considered hazardous?

Answer: Federal OSHA standards

 

I asked what those Hazardous materials might be.

            Answer: Bleach, gasoline, motor oil, and batteries.  There could be others. 

 

                My response:    Interesting that bleach, used to sanitize the pools, is a hazardous substance.  Sounds like a Catch-22 quandary. The other items as well (motor oil, gasoline) are essential emergency provisions.  Is the NPS thinking of eliminating all these from the Springs area, or is it reasonable that we come up with an adequate means of storage?

                Answer: (The National Park Service) are considering all options at this point.

Farmer_Fred

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 #9 
Need to see costs associated with moving the camp host vault    vs    adding a new 2 holer to the Palm Springs
Major Tom

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 #10 
I asked about this, and have not yet received an answer. Seems to me the same solid/water ratio would yield the same volume, though guaging that might not be the choicest job in the world (depending how you define "choicest").  Pumping more frequently (twice a year) might keep us ahead of the curve, as well. No skin off my butt (I have a camper), but if folks on the far end of camp have less distance to walk, it might keep the washes cleaner?

bmxmtbman

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 #11 
Don't they have to dump water in there to make it pump-able? In that case 4 would be different from 3. 
Major Tom

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 #12 
With regard to the placement of new vault toilets, I have been told by the Park that they have a limited capacity on their pumping truck, and an extra toilet would exceed its capacity.

The more I think about that, the less sense it makes. If you take 100 squats and spread it between four toilets, you still have the same amount as if you spread it between three.
Major Tom

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 #13 

This is a copy of the latest of the direct emails sent out to SPA members. If you want to be on that receiving list, send a request to: membership@salinepreservation.org


Greetings friends

 

In this communication I will cover a few elements (Toilet Management; Recreational Water Usage; Hazardous Material Storage; Auto Repair Support Services) of the Saline Valley Warm Springs Management Plan/EIS in the hopes of unraveling some of the nuances of the alternatives and developing a position statement that might help guide SPA members toward making constructive comments with a unified voice. I want to qualify this communication by saying that these are my personal thoughts as a 34-year member of the Saline community, and do not reflect an official SPA position.  As SPA works toward crafting a position paper, your comments and feedback on these discussions are a valuable asset that will allow SPA to speak for you!

 

While I have been more or less discussing the elements of the EIS in the order they are presented, I am skipping the "Chicken Strip" Airstrip pending hearing from the RAF who have an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) agreement with the Park Service as to their position. SPA will likely support the position of the RAF, and it is appropriate that they take the lead on this element. I am postponing the elements on Stewardship for later.

 

Once again, the full set of elements and alternatives along with opportunity to comment can be found at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=297&projectID=39438&documentID=56823 and I am including a PDF file of the alternatives as an attachment to this email.

 

Toilet Management

 

Any of the current alternatives (with the exception of the Restoration Alternative) seem reasonable. The Park Service "gets" that they need to be more responsive to the need for pumping the outhouses, and I believe they will be more proactive in this regard. SPA has stressed during several meetings with the Park Service the need for additional facilities at Palm Springs and I think they "get" this as well.  They are currently suggesting moving the south vault at Lower Springs to Palm Springs. I wonder why they don't just "spring" for a new vault for Palm Springs. Perhaps a double hole vault? I recommend voicing your opinion clearly on this issue. Follow your heart, for your ass is on the line.

 

Recreational Water Usage

 

In my opinion, we need to voice very strongly our desire to see No Action taken on this element.  I might only suggest the rewording of one bullet point, with respect to "introduction of human bodily waste into bathing pool is prohibited." I propose: Anyone who has consumed a six-pack of beer will be required to take a two-minute break from soaking every thirty minutes. (Okay, I have been far too serious for far too long and I am just starting to get a little goofy here … bare with me please!)

 

Full compliance with water quality and public health standards (routine testing of the source water), monitored by camp hosts is a can of worms that is so vague many people in the Park Service concede this would be impractical to implement. SPA is actively working to investigate and untangle the implications of this alternative.  The camp hosts are not qualified or credentialed to take such tests and measurements of the water quality. This would fall to the state and be cost prohibitive.  The county has removed themselves from any jurisdiction or involvement on these federal lands. We would rather the state not get involved, and the state would prefer to not be involved.  It may be that in the long term, a simple solution might be to cover the sources and make them secure against inadvertent contamination. Let us let this compromise evolve in time, and in the meantime urge that the status quo be maintained and no action be taken, as there has never been any cause for concern or known health issues resulting from the use of the waters at Saline Valley.  If you drink the water there, point that out in your comments!

 

Hazard Materials Storage

Auto Repair Support Services

 

I believe these issues to be closely related in the minds of the designers of the Management Plan. The Park will do what the Park will do in this regard.  I will inquire as to what they are identifying as Hazardous Materials and relay that in a future email.

 

We all agree that auto repair support services are welcome and appreciated. I have heard from the Park that they consider the current Host's Compound to be excessive, and I am sure they will want to make sure that codes are being complied with.  When I asked, the Park Administration could not immediately identify what those codes are.

 

I hear a lot of panic from people about what will happen if the "shop" closes … price of tows!, OMG!! Here is my two-cents: people should be prepared to take responsibility for their actions on the road and the state of repair of their vehicle. Everyone knows (or should and soon will) what they are getting into driving into the valley, and should be ready for the consequences.  There is a lot of lee way (sorry … no pun initially intended) in that statement.  I was host for seven years and got everyone pretty well patched up with a stacked roll-around tool box and a small cabinet of ATF, Oil, and epoxy.  Oh yes, a decent pile of spare tires that the BLM made me remove when I left.  If I could not fix a car, I had a tow bar handy, or a strap, or we went out and got a trailer, and we hauled the car out ourselves, generally for a small gas donation, beer, and a day of entertainment without paying $2000 to Lone Pine.  If services are scaled back, it will not be the end of the world, but it might be the beginning of people becoming a bit more sensitive and aware of their driving habits!

 

That's it for my editorializing today.  I have homework to do: find out about those Hazardous Materials

 

…..

 

In closing:

 

Please remember to give us your feedback as we work toward the Position Paper many of you have asked about. We are continuing to pursue a 30-day extension on the comment period, but must proceed currently on the assumption that such a paper should be drawn up in the next few weeks for member review. If we speak with one voice, our voice will carry further!

 

Stay tuned, more to come.

 

Major Tom

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