August 2007, Vol. 19, No.8

Letters to the Editor

Setting Limits

Robert Behrens

I feel I must comment briefly on “Watershed Management and Decentralized Wastewater Treatment” (June). I first of all disagree with the basic premise that the growth of decentralized population is something good. It, if not controlled, will continue to ruin contiguous stretches of undeveloped land in areas that should not be developed. Development that allows for the approach where “certain areas are targeted for protection, such as streams and drainage system features along with their vegetated buffers; forest patches and areas of mature trees; and farmland, wetlands, meadows, and critical habitat,” is not adequate to preserve nature. Under this approach it appears that we will end up with patches of “nature” that really don’t support the animal and vegetative habitat that is truly natural, and the fact is that these patches infused with human habitation will further degrade the natural state of things.

Another problem with this approach that I have observed is the inadequate quality of construction and materials used in these decentralized treatment systems. I fear we will leave our children and grandchildren a nightmare scenario that includes thousands of these systems failing and further degrading our natural habitat.

Robert Behrens Director, Safety and Technical Support PeopleService Inc. Omaha, Neb

Robert Behrens Director, Safety and Technical Support PeopleService Inc. Omaha, Neb

What’s the Frequency?

David Philips

What’s wrong with the following sentence?
“Unplanned service calls to each on-lot system normally occur every 6 or 7 years ...” (“Alternative Wastewater Collection Systems,” May).
Answer: It should say “an average of every 6 or 7 years.” Why?
1. Unplanned maintenance varies greatly between lots.
2. Unplanned maintenance varies greatly between “properly installed systems.”
3. Most important, some equipment and designs are more failure-prone than others.

David Philips
Seal Beach, Calif.

What Do You Think?

WE&T welcomes your observations on topics that are covered in the magazine or are otherwise relevant to the wastewater treatment industry. Letters that are chosen for publication may be edited for factual accuracy, clarity, style, and length.

Please send your letters intended for publication via e-mail to, or mail to Melissa H. Jackson, WE&T, c/o Water Environment Federation, 601 Wythe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-1994 USA. Please include your full name, professional title, organization name, daytime phone number, and city, state, and country of residence.

David Philips Seal Beach, Calif.