GREEN TASK FORCE MINUTES FOR JULY 16, 2015
Scott Benson, City of Detroit Councilman, call to order
July 16, 2015
DETROIT YOUTH ENERGY SQUAD: WASTE WATER WARRIORS
Works with DPS for summer program. Water resources …how to treat waste water. Need approvals for the city…need to know what’s required?
Michael Zellus: Graduate of Fredrick Douglass Academy, Participate of Water Cycle Track for DYES. Plans to attend Weber State University to study Political Science
Spoke on Composting Toilet: a five gallon toilet that uses no water to flush. Takes 8 months for water to break down, then can be used as compost and agricultural use.
Daija Bridgewater: Cody HS. Graduate. Plans to major in Environmental Studies at Henry Ford College
Spoke on purpose and need of Composting Toilet. The need would be good for those traveling to/from work and school. Good for homeless and those without running water in the community. This is a way to give back to the community.
Raven Lion: Northwestern HS junior
Composting Toilet saves money and water. An average family of 4 uses 108 gal per day, rainwater drainage is added onto water bill, thus increasing water bill. With the toilet there’s a rain water catching system, thus reducing amount of water entering sewer system.
Gibran Washington—Green School Coordinator for Northwest Detroit
Works with DPS, Eco Works, during school year and teaches sustainability. During summer Teaches on water resources, specifically in Detroit, during summer works with HS students.
This summer the focus was on Waste Water. They’re in process of gaining understanding of approvals (just this morning). Three students attended meeting with building planning division, to determine what would be required for a composting toilet site in the city.
Potential site for Composting Toilet would be on MUFI (Michigan Urban Farming Initiative) located in Detroit on Brush St. There’s close to 2000 visitors yearly. The visitors normally use porta-johns.
Question by DYES to Scott Benson: What is your opinion on having a composting toilet in local parks?
Answer: Would need to learn more about it…due to sanitation issues and cleanliness. This could be a game changer for staffing parks and outdoor festivals. Benson is interested and willing to sit down for further discussions to address questions and to determine how to make this a reality.
Question by Benson: Who is DYES currently talking with?
Answer: Building safety and Engineering and Planning and Development Question by Benson: Is the composting toilet used now anywhere?
Answer: Colorado. University of Michigan uses a functional one that actually looks like a toilet and waste is sent off to their basement facility and uses no water and same process.
Question by Benson: To make this happen, what is the cost?
Answer: Team states that their budget for doing this is $150. Using all the elements
that team wants to put into the project the cost would be $1500 to $2000.
Question by Benson: To bring this to production, considering marketing etc., what is the
actual budget to make this a reality?
Answer: Just the materials is $2000, then you could add in labor cost.
- Scott Benson suggest that labor must be considered, also ask those who does large scale farming and city of Detroit parks.
- Gibran Washington speaks on feasibility—is still in question and on using schools as a potential testing site. Schools have more domain, but use in city public areas would require city to absorb liability.
- Benson: Could be a huge game changer, but would need to seriously scale out the project on a larger scale and patent project. City is currently having serious talks on waste water concerns which is a huge cost. Suggest the need to talk to Gary Brown.Answers, Questions, Comments, and concerns amongst attendees:
o Fromauserstandpoint,it’ssimilartoaporta-john,howeverliquidwasteisseparate from solid and unlike porta-johns no chemicals are used. Liquid waste can also cure and be converted to a mineral crystal as a nutrient rich fertilizer called struvite. The liquid waste is in a separate container. UM is researching liquid waste, such as, can we remove un-useful parts from liquid waste.
o Maletoiletscanbeadded—urinals.Ifliquidwasteisnotseparatedthenanother problem surfaces.
o There’snomoreprocesstothewasteitjustneedstositandcure,alsocontainermust be kept closed. With solid waste temp must be at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower temps, slows process. The waste is cured when it looks similar to compost like soil.
o Question:Whatarethestudentsdoingtoaddtothiscompostingtoiletproject? Answer: Part of the project is to learn about the permitting process, research, testing, and learning what’s needed to have a project such as this to be completed and used.
o Zoningisnotreallytheissue,butlearningwhatbuildingcodeswouldbeneeded,such as plumbing codes.
o Question:Canthisbepilotedinahomelessshelter?Answer:Ifyou’rewithintwo hundred feet of a sewer you must be able to connect.
o Question:Isthisusefulforthosewithoutsewagesystems,suchasthosewhouse septic systems? Answer: From a city standpoint, this could be a game changer and a useful service but maybe not so much otherwise.
o Question:HowdoesthisaffectPublichealth?Answer:Oneissueisproximityto residents, the concern would be a concern of public tampering with the containers. Educating the community is key.
o Question:Whataresomeofthethingsyou’velearnfromthisproject.Therainwater system seemed most useful, because it seems useful for irrigation. Yet the rain water must be used with wisdom, it’s not drinkable and must be used in 24 hours, otherwise it can be poison to humans.
End DYES Presentation: 3:45 pm
The Detroit River can and should rank as a World Heritage Site (WHS)
Some current World Heritage Sites are: the Eiffel Tower, Grand Canyon, Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island. These are significant to the World, Detroit River Front can rank with these. As a WHS it would be its own entity. It would be a part of the United Nations.
Simmons has had conversations over past 8 years with: Parks Canada; National Park Service; International Office of the National Park Service (Reps to World Heritage Site Convention—they plead the case of World Heritage Site designations); and Council General of Canada.
The common question: What’s taking so long? The answer: consensus is needed that the Detroit River is truly very significant to our history. It seems that everyone agrees of its importance except Detroit community itself.
It’s a process, not an application issue. A WHS becomes its own entity. Involving 32 municipalities on 32 miles of street off the river. Every city that touches the river is involved.
DETROIT RIVER PROJECT: ASK: MEMBERS TO JOIN PROPOSED SUB-COMMITTEE
Tourism—$1 Billion industry. Detroit River front is the king of heritage tourism. However, tourism has not been done well in Detroit, we’ve not been good about inviting people to come see us. This is now a way to invite tourism on a big scale.
This vision has been building since 2008 and started with the Michigan Freedom Trail Commission, and has expanded. Simmons is national program and site partner with National Park Services network to freedom initiative, which is tied to the Underground Railroad. The history of this designation will pilot the Underground Railroad history.
Underground Railroad—network of runaway slaves seeking freedom.
Importance: 314 yrs. of Detroit History—cars, Native American history, and the Underground Railroad. Of the 100,000 runaway slaves who’ve used the Underground Railroad 50,000 have crossed somewhere on this 32 miles of river—the Detroit River bank.
The World Heritage Convention has been actively searching for an active site, for the past 10 years. They’ve turned down some sites, because they’ve been internal sites.
This is way for economic development. Many people want this to happen, this is the right time, we are rebuilding—we’re in a renaissance period. People literally pull a list from the World Heritage website with discretionary income just to visit these World History Sites.
Simmons addresses questions, concerns from the audience:
o Anentityhasacommission,anadvisoryboardetc.,suchasTheMotorCityHeritage Area—devoted to the car and apart of the National Park Service.
o AWHShastoliterallybecomeanationallandmarkandmustbeelevatedandjointly operated between Canada and US. The President and Prime Minister has to sign off on this.
o HowdoesthisaffecttheDetroitRiver?Answer:Thereareseveralwaystodoa designation, We are designating from river bank to river bank. There are many sites on U.S. side that have not been designated. Use of the river for building may be a issue. The people want to have a designation a mile up and back.
o UNESCO(TheUnitedNationsEducational,ScientificandCulturalOrganization)isthe designating body. Simmons was invited by the United Nations to discuss this project twice, this is a very big deal.
o Question:Whatisthepotential?Ans.Thereislotsofpotentialeconomicallyfor Detroit.
o Simmonsask:Needasubcommitteetomakethishappen.SofarPeterBensisthefirst list for the subcommittee. Please sign up for the subcommittee.
End Detroit River Presentation
Restart Presentation 2: 4:02 pm
SOUTHWEST DETROIT ENVIRONMENTAL VISION: ANTI-IDLING PROJECT
Shannon Palmer and Juan Gutierrez
Shannon Palmer: Junior at UM major in Sociology and History of Art
SDEV: environmental non-profit located on Clark in the Idea Complex Programs:
Corporate Partnerships and runs different projects: Cadillac Urban Garden, Clean Deiseal Engine (retrofits engines to burn more cleanly), safe walk to school program, land projects for abandon lots, strawberry farming, annual tire sweep (this past June— a 3 day project, collected over 3000 tires) and more.
Health Effects of Idling
o Deiseal Exhaust pollutes air. Most venerable are Children they at risk: lungs are still developing until age 7. Thus, children breathing in this polluted air can be adversely affected as they grow older. 48217 zip code: reports high cases of asthma. World Health Organization and American Cancer Society have proven that Deiseal Exhaust is a carcinogen (cancer causing agent).
Juan Gutierrez: sophomore majoring in Environmental studies
The focus is on creating an anti-idling zone, to prevent trucks from contaminating the air pollution. The focus area is from Clark and Michigan Ave to Clark and Fort Street because of the parks and schools in the neighborhood.
Currently looking to have talks with another business that slated to move to the area off Michigan and Clark a logistic center for 350 trucks.
Currently City of Detroit passed an idling ordinance in late 2010, is in effect. Yet, has not been effective, is not enforced.
SDEV wants to have a broader reach. Thus wants to partner with corporations and community organization, small businesses in the neighborhood.
Idling is not moving, but running the engine of Deiseal trucks.
48219 and 48207 are the areas of concern.
The Ambassador Bridge brings in around 10,000 trucks per day.
In finding a solution: we must consider the community and the companies involved. There’s a culture of companies with no concern for the community.
One objective is servicing the community, by conducting surveys, and thus educating the community. Want to survey truck drivers also with concerns such as for occupational asthma.
Question: Has the current ordinance reduced any idling? Answer: The original ordinance prohibited idling for more than 5 minutes within a 60 minute time period. The first time offender was supposed to given a warning and a then a ticket for subsequent offences. Thus this created a rough dynamic which ultimately resulted in a loosely followed law.
Question How does the new Detroit River crossing affect this? Answer: Certainly doesn’t help, due to more deiseal truck traffic flowing into the neighborhood.
SDEV ask: Need to partner with businesses, community, and others for help for this initiative. Commissioner may help with connecting good resources.
End SDEV: 4:16 pm
Melissa: next meeting Tuesday
Workshop, Monday 10, here…review Stormwater ordinance, providing input, new development and redevelopment
Tue, next week…how to make codes and ordniances time from 9 to 10
2pm Tue Aug 10.
San Francisco : between 3 foundations, can send…learn about state of sustainability.
Knight Foundation. $1500 for trip, $500 cost includes airfare room and board. Wed to Friday explore, but on Sat field/education day in San Francisco. Need learn on sustainability. How they reduce waste stream, recycle is large, and waste is small. Now look to 1st week in Nov or maybe 1st or 2nd week in December.
Things to consider when analyzing San Francisco’s waste system.
o Disposalratesis$60to$100/ton in California. Michigan is $25 to 440 a ton. Perception makes a difference. 24 people signed up for San Francisco trip.
One issue, knight foundation. City officials are not funded for trips like these
Andrew is the point of contact.
- ❖ Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Tue July 28, 6 to 8 pm.
- ❖ Michigan Outdoor Adventure center…need community and public feed back
- ❖ Aug 11 Friends of the Rouge; sharing environmental info.
- ❖ Rain Barrels On River Front, on sale July 24
- ❖ Green Infrastructure: next Tour 5:45 pm next Thursday…can get flyers.
- ❖ Annual tour of Detroit gardens, Detroit Agriculture Keep Growing Detroit.
- ❖ Garden party, raffles, 18 piece band. Cadillac Urban Gardens Aug. 6 from 4-8.
❖ Please use Facebook, Green Task Force, for info and communication. !
❖ No meeting in August for Green Task Force End GTF Meeting 4:34 pm