America's Water Crisis is Here

If you thought paying $4 a gallon for gas was bad wait until you start paying $10 to take a shower

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Most Americans take water for granted because it has been relatively cheap and plentiful, but those days are quickly coming to an end.  The water emergency in California is just the beginning; Florida, Georgia and Arizona are dropping to critical levels with projections of at least 36 states facing significant water shortages within five years and the levels in America’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead may drop so low that the Hoover Dam will no longer produce electricity in just 12 years.             

Global warming, changing weather patterns and a temporary drought get much of the blame, but people are missing one of the main factors in this disaster:

America flushes 2 trillion gallons of water out to the oceans every week! 

Municipalities draw water out of the ground and send it to a treatment plant and those plants discharge to a river that flows downstream to the ocean.  This process began in the 1950’s with the advent of suburban living and has continued to expand and grow.  Now after 60 years of this practice our ground water supplies are running out. 

Although this crisis is obvious, very few are taking it seriously.  Most people feel some “agency” will look out for our best interests, but our government has become reactive…they wait until something breaks then spend lots of tax dollars to fix it. 

Do you really think you can depend on our government agencies to watch out for our best interests? 

Here are just two examples of our politicians in action:

Shortly after the year 2000, mortgage lenders got the green light to do whatever they wanted and they started giving loans to people they knew couldn’t afford it and would default, but did our government leaders bother to say, “Hey, maybe you should be qualifying people to make sure they can pay you back before you start giving out high-risk loans.”  No.  Instead they let them go unchecked because that hot housing market kept everybody’s mind off what was going on. 

Now foreclosures and bankruptcies are at record levels.  I saw this coming in 2005 from my home office in Zimmerman, Minnesota and was writing about it...our leaders in New York and Washington DC were right there and had access to the national media, but they didn't say a word.     



The state of Minnesota was already 970 million dollars in the hole when they approved building a baseball stadium for the richest man in the State. 

Shortly after this 400 million dollar legislation the I-35 bridge, one of the most traveled bridges in the state collapsed killing 13 people and injuring dozens more...but we got the baseball stadium.                                                            

Stimulus dollars will make it worsemoney set aside for shovel ready projects has developers, engineering firms and local governments lining up to build more facilities because they allow for dense packed housing and that means higher profits and tax revenues

The solution is to stop building treatment plants and expand the use of onsite systems which are much cheaper, produce far less pollution and replenish local water supplies, but the profits for developers and engineering firms are so phenomenal this option is buried.

This engineering disaster can be stopped if taxpayers are told the whole story.

I Became An Advocate For Water Issues Because Of A Personal Experience. 

I am an environmental educator based in Minnesota but lived in Florida in the 1970’s and snorkeling the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic quickly became a passion.  In 2004 I brought my grandchildren to Florida to show them the beauty of the coral reef only to find the beach off-limits due to a red-tide outbreak and that the water clarity had been reduced to a mere few feet. 

A friend with the Florida Health dept told me it began happening in ALL Florida waters when developers pressured community leaders to build treatment plants so they could build homes/condos for the millions of baby-boomers coming to Florida to retire.  He also brought up Florida’s dwindling water supplies and that these problems were common knowledge within the state agencies but employees were threatened with dismissal if they went public.  This is now happening in all the sun-belt states.     

As an educator I learned this situation was common knowledge in the academic community, but very few of my fellow lecturers were willing to go “negative” in public.  However because I do not receive grants, research dollars or endowments from these groups I have taken a stand against them.             

I have seen city officials receive bribes and pay-offs (free ocean cruises, consulting fees) to get the yes vote and some have even got in on the game buying raw property for cheap, pushing through a treatment facility, and then sell the property off at huge profits while handing the taxpayers the bill. 

To me it is not the money but the widespread environmental damages these facilities do.  Every year accidents dump billions of gallons of raw sewage into our lakes, rivers and oceans.  A dead zone the size of New Jersey has already formed off the coast of Louisiana and red tide outbreaks have become common in almost all coastal areas where these plants were built…built to protect the environment!!!          

The solution is simple and cheap…septic systems.  They will treat wastewater better, do it at a fraction of the cost and they recharge the local water supplies, however property owners are not told this because the cities, engineering firms and developers can not cash in on septic systems. 

I am now using my position as an educator to help citizens fight these projects and have already helped communities shut down proposed plants.  But doing it alone has been extremely difficult, so I have teamed with New York businessman Bob Eichinger to form Decentralized Advisors.  The purpose of this organization is to help communities fight these projects because if Americans do not act now those days at the beach will be long gone and the price of water will go through the roof.    

Fighting these projects is simple, and you don't need to spend thousands of dollars hiring attorneys, consultants and engineers; all you have to do is make sure your septic systems meet the codes that are on the books today...not 40 years ago.  But there is a smart way to do this; first you need to organize the people in your community and make sure they are on the same page.  The next step is to negotiate bulk discounts with your local septic contractors to perform inspections, designs and installs (for those that need them).  Negotiating with septic system manufacturers will also save you significantly.  Then you can apply for private and public grants to help pay for this process. 

FYI--Since the passing of the Clean Water Act in the 1970's millions of dollars have been allocated for repairing and upgrading onsite systems, but there is a little catch, you need to ask for it and ask for it in they right way.

Once you have code compliant septic systems you can tell the city to run that big-pipe somewhere else because you don't need it.  It's really that simple.  Bob Eichinger and I will work with your community to help you through this process step by step.   

But here is a little warning for you...don't wait too long to act.  What has been happening is engineering firms are sneaking in to design a treatment plant and sticking citizens with a hefty bill, even if they don't get the job.  Read the thank you letter below.  This community paid 3.4 million dollars to an engineering firm that didn't even dig a hole (we are going to try and help them get some of this money back).  And keep in mind, they paid large legal fees and were still going to lose.      

July 29, 2009

Mr. Jim VonMeier

Dear Jim:

I wanted to send you a thank you note for helping us fight the sewer project in our Alexandria Lakes area community.  As you know, the Central Lakes Region Sanitary District (CLRSD) never asked us if we wanted a public sewer, they just started doing it.  However, there were enough of us that knew what had happened to nearby Lake Winona and devastation to the Town of Forada, when the sewer was forced on those areas.  Because of that knowledge, when the sewer came pounding on our doors, we formed our own non-profit group entitled CLEER (Citizens League for Environmental and Economic Responsibility) to fight the project. 

We started  as so many communities in our position have done, we contacted the Department of Natural Resources, Pollution Control Agency, the University of Minnesota and our local septic contractors to see if anyone could help us but they did nothing.  We even spent thousands of dollars to hire legal counsel to represent us, but when the CLRSD announced last fall they were going to break ground in a matter of weeks it was apparent we were going to lose.

As a last resort we began searching the internet to see if there was anyone that could help us.  Of all the “experts” out there, the only one we could find was you, and imagine how surprised we were when we saw you were also located in Minnesota.  You said if we paid for gas, you would come up the next day to our Town Hall Meeting.

After the CLRSD representatives got done telling everyone how great the public sewer would be you stood up and told the crowd the true story.  When people heard the small assessment fee of $10,000.00 was just the cost to run the pipe past our homes and did not include the costs to build the plant/run the mains out to our neighborhoods and our share could be as high as $60,000.00, while the damage to our lakes would actually go up, property owners were ready to riot.  You did more in 4 minutes to derail this project than we were able to do in 4 years.

From there you helped organize public meetings that gave us the long version of what we would be facing, including how development would bring a dramatic increase in population that would cause skyrocketing taxes for more police, fire, road construction, etc. and how the added population would cause our wells to run dry (something no one had mentioned before) generating another “public utility” project of running water service out to our neighborhoods.

You then explained how septic systems were not only far cheaper but better for the health of our lakes, would help control development AND protect our water supplies, and if we wanted to fight it all we had to do was make sure we all had code compliant septic systems, which most people already have.  The more we learned and the more we realized this was not being done to protect us and our lakes, but so a handful of engineers and developers could profit millions of dollars while we the taxpayers would be handed the bill. 

This was enough to convince us to go as a group to the State and demand they shut down the sewer plan so we could stay with our septic systems, and it worked!  They put a hold on the project, and finally legislatively disbanded the sewer district. 

Now you’ve helped us get organized to make sure our septic systems will pass state requirements, negotiated with the contractors and manufacturers to get us significant discounts for those few that need work and how we can apply for government and private grants to pay for this, and you did it all for a few tanks of gas and dinner.

I just wish there were more out there like you willing to work with citizens to help shut down these projects and expose the truth behind them.  They are not about the need to protect the environment or the public’s health; it’s about greed and a few people selling out the future for profit.

Again, thank you.  I hope you can help other communities battle these projects and if you need an example of how people can fight these project and win, feel free to call us.


Get the picture...Like these people, you can spend years and millions dollars in engineering fees and legal costs, or you can do it right from the start.  

If your community is facing a treatment facility and want to fight it you can reach me at:

1-763-856-3800 (direct) or 1-888-873-6505 or by email at 

You can reach Bob Eichinger at

Or call him at 1-845-803-1571

We will have much more information available when time allows us to get it up on the sites...the clock is ticking on this one.  

Jim vonMeier-Environmental Educator 

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Septic Protector, Zimmerman, MN 55398 

Email Contact

1-763-856-3800 or 1-888-873-6505



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