Post 49 in a series. When Green Turns Brown is an examination of a small town’s digester-energy project, in which Whitewater, Wisconsin would import other cities’ waste, claiming that the result would be both profitable and green.

Whitewater’s digester-energy project depends on bringing waste from cities that do not want it to Whitewater. On improved paved surfaces, truckload after truckload, dumped on pads for processing in Whitewater.

And then?

To listen to Whitewater’s municipal manager, or her wastewater superintendent, it’s all tipping fees and methane. (Here, one leaves aside the wastewater superintendent’s simultaneously arrogant and ignorant admission that when experimenting with methane production previously he caused spills and accidents.)

And yet, and yet, what comes in as others’ unwanted waste – truckload after truckload – will not disappear as though with a child’s ray gun. (A gun like that, even, would merely transform its targets, in any event.)

Filth comes in, but sludge – a real and material thing – yet remains.

For over a dozen presentations, with airy or mendacious claims, not once has Cameron Clapper or Tim Reel produced a satisfactory explanation of where the matter that comes in will afterword go.

There’s a physical need that it goes somewhere, but a price that it goes somewhere far and safe from Whitewater.

It’s possible these gentlemen each have a ray gun to disintegrate the sludge that importation will produce.

Possible, but improbable. (Truly, it’s about as likely as the claim that Mr. Clapper will fill a digester with salad dressing.)

The simple truth is that they’re officials, salaried at public expense, hiring consultants who have been paid at public expense, likely aiding the interests of those who want revenue above all, and yet neither man has offered a description of removal more substantial than would be a child’s theory of an Atomic Disintegrator.


Originally published 12.7.15 @ FREE WHITEWATER.