Category Archives: Reports

The Public Needs Transparency in MSTP Reports

With transparency, citizens can know how well their public employees are serving. Thus, if the Molalla Sewage Treatment Plant (MSTP) is well run, transparency lets us know, so we can be confident and appreciative of a job well done. But, if the Molalla Sewage Treatment Plant is poorly run, transparency empowers citizens to put pressure on elected officials to correct problems, and restore needed efficiencies. Unfortunately, when it comes to sewage services, the leadership of Molalla has a history of impeding transparency.

As a case in point, consider how poorly MSTP handled transparency eight years ago, when they signed a Consent Decree. MSTP was required to post weekly data reports for the two-year duration of the Consent Decree. They failed. Only a few of the weekly reports and some of the monthly reports were posted. Years later, the website was changed making it difficult to find the report copies. (click here to view all reports as copied on 1/25/2015)

Anyway, here’s the background on transparency failures with the Consent Decree of 2006…


In late May 2006, multiple groups and individuals filed a civil action against the City of Molalla charging violations in waste handling at the Molalla Sewage Treatment Plant. Roughly eight months later, a settlement was reached between the parties, in the form of a Consent Decree. The key terms of this Consent Decree, which remained in effect for two years, included:

  • For two years, City of Molalla would do additional weekly water testing at the following locations: (para.16)
    1. the Feyrer Park Bridge
    2. immediately upstream of the City’s Molalla River outfall
    3. at the downstream edge of the mixing zone, which is 50 feet downstream of the City’s Molalla River outfall
    4. the Highway 211 bridge
    5. the point where Fryer Park Road crosses the irrigation ditch
    6. and, at the point where the City’s effluent pipeline crosses the irrigation ditch.
  • When conducting these additional weekly water tests, City of Molalla would use grab samples to analyze for Biological Oxygen Demand (BODS), total suspended solids, ammonia, e-coli, temperature, and pH. (para.16)
  • For two years, City of Molalla would post data on its website. This would include both the weekly analysis results at the above six locations, and the monthly/quarterly MSTP monitoring reports filed with DEQ, in accordance with the NPDES Permit. (para.16)
  • City of Molalla would pay $6,324 in civil penalties (para.22)
  • City of Molalla would pay $50,000 in legal fees (para.24)
  • City of Molalla would pay $110,000 to fund a supplemental environmental project administered by Molalla Riverwatch (para.23)

And how well did the City of Molalla do? Well, some of the monthly reports were posted online, and some of the additional weekly water test results were posted, too. So, during some times of the two year Consent Decree, citizens were able to see the data. But the data was spotty. And, unfortunately, once the two year requirement of the Consent Decree was done, Molalla quit posting their monthly reports.

March 2009: MSTP ends Online Posting of Pollution Sample Reports

Here is a copy of a webpage portion, with links to the reports, as screen-captured on 1/25/2015. It is also viewable at: http://www.cityofmolalla.com/publicworks/page/pollution-sample-report20150125scp.. Molalla Wastewater Division webpage, 'Pollution Sample Report'
And, here is the full set of reports, from September 2008 into mid-March 2009, compiled into one PDF:

20080905scp.. Sep-2008(wk1) portion of weekly grab sample compilation

(click on image to view/download compiled PDF reports)

July 1981: An EPA Study on How to Gain Public Acceptance of Biosolid Recycling (108-pages)

19810700.. Institutional Constraints and Public Acceptance Barriers (EPA study, cover pic)In July 1981, EPA published a 108-page study called ‘Institutional Constraints and Public Acceptance Barriers to Utilization of Municipal Wastewater and Sludge for Land Reclamation and Biomass Production’. [PDF Copy]

Project oversight was provided by two Federal officials: David Burmaster of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), and Bob Bastian at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The study was prepared by a team of three in the Boston area, including a professional engineer, a lawyer, and a PhD science consultant.

Some would view this study as a plan assessing: ‘what can be done by public employees and waste system operators to nullify citizen opposition to sludge applications?’ Here is the Executive Summary page (with red markups added by BCR.org):19810700.. Executive Summary (p.7 of 108p EPA study PDF)

The second half of this 108-page report includes synopses of Case Studies for eighteen different biosolids applications programs. Here is a Table that summarizes these case studies:19810700.. Table summarizing Sludge Case Studies (p.27 of 108p EPA study PDF)

Here is a list of the Case Studies, from page 47 of the PDF report:19810700.. Table of Contents for 18 Sludge Case Studies (p.47 of 108p EPA study)

Two of these Case Studies will be especially relevant to readers concerned about the use of biosolids from the Molalla Sewage Treatment Plant (MSTP) sewage ponds. These are the Vestel, NY case, and the Lewis & King Counties, WA case. Here are two jpeg clips from these two case studies, with minor text (in color) added by BCR.org:19810700.. Lewis & King Counties Case Study (clip from p.78 of 108p EPA study PDF) 19810700.. Vestel, NY Case Study (clip from p.48 of 108p EPA study PDF)