Your Sept. 12 article “City sewage spills persist as residents’ bills increase,” needs clarification.
The Toledo Waterways Initiative is an environmentally friendly program by the city to reduce pollution in our three major local waterways: the Maumee and Ottawa rivers and Swan Creek. This ambitious program is working very well.
Improvements to the system since 2002, when voters overwhelmingly approved this undertaking, have reduced the amount of highly diluted combined sewage effluent discharged into these waterways. Discharge of untreated effluent through the city’s sanitary sewer overflows has been eliminated since 2006. The cost to customers for this phase of the project has been about $159 million.
While Toledo’s combined sewage discharges have been significantly reduced, your references to “massive discharges of waste,” “[enormous] sewage overflow,” and “a dozen years of filth” confuse readers.
You mention that there have been zero untreated overflows from the Bay View wastewater treatment plant into the Maumee River since 2007. This is amazing when one considers that the plant treated 26 billion gallons of effluent last year.
Toledo is one of more than 400 cities undertaking similar projects. The City of Detroit released an estimated 32 billion gallons of raw sewage and storm water into the Detroit River from its sewage treatment facility in 2006 alone. The Detroit River feeds into Lake Erie, as do the three waterways that benefit us in Toledo.
Our initiative is moving into its second phase, which involves the separation of sanitary and storm sewer structures beneath many neighborhoods near these three major waterways. Over the next 10 years, the project will reduce the number of combined sewer outfall locations and, for remaining locations, significantly reduce discharges of combined sewage.
An additional $132 million of improvements in the next four years and beyond will require significant rate increases. These funds will be combined with low-interest loans and grants from the state and federal governments to keep rate increases to an absolute minimum.
Rate information on our Web site will be updated as the Department of Public Utilities works with the Bell administration, City Council, and customers to enact reasonable rate increases this fall to support initiative improvements for 2011 through 2014.
George Robinson II
Toledo Waterways Initiative
Toledo Department of Public Utilities
Forget the bacon, fix the deficit
No wonder we are receiving federal grants and stimulus funding. It's election time. The country is far in debt, but Rep. Marcy Kaptur is bringing home the bacon at the expense of the nation's financial well-being.
Toledo must stop taking federal funding until we can balance our budget, without deferring bills to the next year or raiding rainy-day funds.
President Obama wants $50 billion to build roads and railroads. We need infrastructure, but Congress first has to get a grip on the deficit.
Don't force the library's hand
Marcy Kaptur is taking our hard-earned and misappropriated tax money and spending it on a targeted voting bloc to help pad her re-election effort (“Kent library scores $2.2M computer site,” Sept. 12).
I support our libraries, but this isn't being done for me as much as it is for Miss Kaptur. This will cost the library more than $859,000. What happens when the federal money stops coming? Will the library ask for a tax levy to help maintain the new equipment?
When will publicly funded institutions understand that like the taxpayer, they must learn to live within a budget? The library can't and shouldn't be expected to support what amounts to another pork-barrel boondoggle to get Miss Kaptur re-elected.
This is not what I pay taxes for. Lower my tax obligation, and let me decide on what and where to spend my money.
Obama deserves the criticism
When President Obama chose his economic team, I was horrified. They were supposed to regulate banking. They received thousands of reports but did not recognize what was happening.
And true to form, they gave hundreds of billions of dollars to banks, while leaving their gambling operations with no meaningful reform.
The people the President chose said that in two years the unemployment rate would be lower than 8 percent. Now Mr. Obama, for whom I voted, is stuck with the worst of all economic worlds.
During the next two years, the national debt will rise to unacceptable levels. Production will grow at a pace no modern country like ours deserves.
Our President deserves every criticism leveled at him.
‘Honest pol' an oxymoron
Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Latta joined the House Energy and Commerce Committee in March. It appears that Mr. Latta is in the back pocket of corporate energy.
In late July, his name appeared on a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, urging her not to classify coal ash, the waste produced at coal-fired power plants, as hazardous waste. Mr. Latta and 22 fellow Republicans apparently believe that coal ash is not hazardous to people who live near these plants.
Industry spokesmen claim that federal enforcement of coal-ash disposal rules would add costs and make it harder to recycle some of the waste. Studies reveal that 39 sites in 21 states where coal-fired power plants dump their coal ash are contaminating water with toxic metals such as arsenic, mercury, lead, and antimony.
Why would Mr. Latta be more interested in the profit margin of the electricity industry than the health of his constituents? Perhaps it is because one of the top four contributors to Mr. Latta's 2010 re-election campaign is American Electric Power, according to Votesmart.org.
On the same day Mr. Latta signed the letter to the EPA, American Electric Power announced that its revenue rose to $3.4 billion and that it was eliminating 2,461 positions.
Mr. Latta will no doubt cruise to another election victory because his constituents believe he is serving their best interests in Congress. However, it becomes more clear each election cycle that the term “honest politician” is an oxymoron.
Tip your hats to the dog warden
Thanks to Lucas County Dog Warden Julie Lyle and her great staff for their unsung work on behalf of the dog population. Too often, they receive too little thanks for the many animals they care for and place in loving homes.
We adopted Nibbles from the shelter after Ms. Lyle and her staff attended a recent “Pets in Poverty” event at our church (“Giving pets a helping hand,” Sept 13). Though they are often faced with difficult choices, our experience showed they are dog lovers first who want the best for the animals in their care.
The joy they shared as we adopted this great dog made the process especially rewarding.
I highly recommend it to dogless dog lovers everywhere.
The next time you see the warden's officers in the field doing their job, hold the criticism. Offer them a few thanks instead. They deserve it.
Rev. Loran Miracle
Church of St. Andrew