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subfield code a C53-000102 USFLDC DOI0 245 Glenn M. Dykes oral history interviewh [electronic resource] /c interviewed by E. Charlton Prather.500 Full cataloging of this resource is underway and will replace this temporary record when complete.7 655 Oral history.localOnline audio.local710 University of South Florida.b Library.Special & Digital Collections.Oral History Program.1 773 t USF College of Public Health oral history project4 856 u http://digital.lib.usf.edu/?c53.10
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text Charlton Prather: Good morning, its a pleasure and a privilege to have with us this morning Mr. Glenn M. Dykes, a longtime sanitary engineer with the old State Board of Health of Florida. But with governmental reorganization, he went to thefrom the State Board of Health to the environmental control organizations of Florida. But its truly a privilege to have Glenn to agree to come and share with us somehis memories of to public health from a sanitary engineerings point of view. Mr. Dykes, I thank you for coming, and it is our
Glenn Dykes: Its a pleasure.
CP: As I recall, you have a civil engineering degree from the University of Florida. What got you in to public health from civil engineering?
GD: Well, it was kind of the least of the alternatives. I started out in accounting and found out that I wasnt doing too well there, and about the only course I was doing good in is the high-type math that was necessary in [the] technical field. I had a good friend in the city of Tampa that recommended or suggested that I might consider sanitary engineering, which was then the overall department at the University of Florida in civil engineering. Its one of the branches of Civil Engineering. So, I decided that was a good approach, and so I went into Sanitary Engineering and managed
CP: As a freshman? As a freshman at the university?
GD: At theatbasically, Ithey went back and I just had to redo my freshman year, because it took me four years from that point to get the degree, because you had to go back and get all the curriculum straightened out. And I did manage to graduate with honors after all that struggle. I did all right. I survived it. But then shortly after that, like about two weeks, I had to go into the army because I had gone on a ROTC scholarship. And I spent two years in the military and then I came back and decided, Well, Ive been away from it [for] so long I went back and got a masters degree in sanitary engineering and I was fortunate enough to also get a minor in structural engineering, which was a difficult task at that time because they normally didnt let you major and minor within the same schools. It was aa real undertaking and after that, they hired me at the State Board of Health, Bureau of Sanitary Engineering.
CP: Directly out of college? Directly after the completion of your masters?
GD: Directly out of College, in 1957. In August.
CP: You remember the date? (laughter)
GD: I think it was the twenty fifth of August when I started.
CP: (CP laughs) Well, very good. And today happens to be the twelfth of August.
GD: Yeah, close to a few years ago.
CP: Yes, it is. What was your first assignment?
GD: I was first assigned under a good friend, youll recall quite vividly, as Ralph H. Baker.
CP: Yes, I remember Ralph H. Baker.
GD: Baker was heading up the wastewater group, at that time, because the head of that group was atoff somewhere. John Wakefield was getting ready, and he finally changed, and left, and went with the federal government. And Vince Patton was the industrial waste man, there was nobody there, so Ralph put me over doin industrial waste stuff at that time; and I stayed with Ralph in the wastewater group for five or six months, I guess. Andthethere were several people left, the bureau, which was a continuing problem within the Bureau of Sanitary Engineering; we were really a training ground for engineers. At one time, I had a list of like a hundred and sixty engineers thatbefore we abandoned the Bureau of Sanitary Engineeringthe complete list of just the turn over the people that had been there that period of time thatthatthat I had been involved with. And so, anyway, the
CP: Over what period of time was these a-hundred and fifty-six engineers that you
GD: Well, that was from the inception of the agency whatthethe bureauI dont know when the bureau really got started. It was such a broad scheme, way back there. John Miller, who I was placed under next, started with the agency in 36. So, he had a long tenure there; and it was well recognized in drinking water, and I was put under him in the drinking water program. And where I stayed till we came in to the environmental period and, course in theit all moved over to Tallahassee and all that.
GD: Which was aahistory, as you can well recall.
CP: Im just shocked with that turnover. And obviously salaries or work environment?
GD: But theyI hadI had the same thoughts when I went to work at thein fact, it was some of the people you talk to would say that, Well, theresthis is a good training ground. You learn all about whats going on in the field and you learn how things work and you can get a job, out with consulting engineers. That theyre tenure and to think for a while, right.
CP: Oh, and then they money. Yes.
GD: And of course, with thatnormally, their salaries were enticing. We had a couple of years and to go out into the industry. And theres a lot ofa tremendous number of people that were in large firms that started out with the old Bureau of Sanitary Engineering. And they became presidents ofof many of the engineering firms, even our full partners and for our long periods ofperiods of time.
CP: Good training ground.
GD: And some of them, the old buggers are still around today, just like me. (laughter)
CP: Whatwhat was your concerns in waste water management? Your first assignment?
GD: Well, I worked some with these typical wastesewage waste for subdivisions and municipalities. The plans came in and we reviewed all the plans at that stage of the game. All the engineering work was reviewed by the Bureau of Sanitary Engineering.
CP: Fortofor treatment plants?
GD: Treatment plants, for also all the collections systems, and the wholewhole thing was raw reviewed, at that time; and also handledthe big problem seemed to be about that time of the dry cleaners. And all thesethose types of facilities having to submit all their work, how they were cleaning up theirtheir waste and clean ups, as you
CP: Thats as early as
GD: More recently, wed have a lot more problems than that.
CP: Yeah, its back in the newspapers these days, here in Tallahassee.
GD: Wellwell, the trichloroethene type of chemicals arestay around a while, and they break down into other components; and, of course, the overall rules offor chemical contaminates has greatly increased since 1957.
CP: Fifty-seven. Oh, I bet you.
GD: The least of which was, uh, we went into the Safe Drinking Water Act, and then theever year, they have to come up with newnew chemicals they got to test. Like theres nothing else to do; we didnt have enough work before that. (CP laughs) Theso, thats added to a lot of things we now look into drinking water for. Which, in many cases, is not a bad idea; because everybody worried about the, say, waste or sewage, and yet youre talking about parts-per-billion and parts-per-trillions of some of these chemicals, and you only take a gallon spread out over here, and it just messes up a acre of land, and thattheres a lot of problems with it. So, thatsthatuh, tremendous changes in the last four years or so from
CP: That quickly? Did your minor in structural engineering set you in good stead for plan reviews earlier?
GD: Well, we didnt have to review the structural aspects of any projects. It alwayswhen we approved thatwe were approving the sanitary engineering-type aspects of the project to make sure they was goin to handle the sewage, handleor the drinking water was adequate to handle the distribution, and the plant was big enough to handle all of the people they had on the system.
CP: That the surge could run downhill and the water could run uphill? (laughter)
GD: Hopefully, it all runs downhill. Except when a pressure sewer line erupts sometime and it didnt always run downhill, it might go the other way on the pressure mains, but generally speaking thethewhen I moved over to drinking water
CP: When did you do that?
GD: That was in
CP: When you wentwhen you went to Mr. Baker?
GD: No, I wentstarted out in August [of] fifty-seven and worked with the wastewater group and Ralph Baker til about, oh, March. I stayed there about six months with the waste group and then, like I said, there were several shortages came up, some old-timers left the drinking water program to go out into industry and other groups. And so, they were short there, and so, they moved me over. And I was very fortunate to work under a very fine gentleman thatMr. John B. Miller.
CP: He was nationally known for his water.
GD: Excuse me?
CP: He had a national reputation as an expert in water, did he not?
GD: Well, he was an expert; and if you look back at his history, he ran the Bureau of Sanitary Engineering back during the war.
CP: Yes. Second World War, that is.
GD: Yes, Second World War. He wasnt quite old enough to be back in the first one. But hes a very distinguished gentleman, very professional and well recognized. Not only for drinking water, but in the overall sanitary engineering industry, he was recognized; and was always would be spoken of with favor.
CP: Ah, good. So, it wasit was kind of fun and a privilege to be associated with him?
GD: It really was, hea veryhad a sense of humor you sometimesyou didnt quite figure out. He wouldnt smile sometimes when he
CP: (CP laughs) When he was telling a joke.
GD: What was humorous; and so, you didnt want to get too far off in left field. It might be the wrong direction.
CP: Well, history has shown that hes a good teacher, Glenn?
GD: Well, I
CP: Because he endowed you with thesome of the similar reputation in water?
GD: Hehe let us all down the primrose path that hehe let you know what he thought was right and if you strayed as something that youthat he didnt think was right, he would tell you on the Q.T. you know, would never
CP: Embarrass you.
GD: Take it out in front of anywhere. But he
CP: Hes a good supervisor for that.
GD: Would let you know that he thinks you ought to do something a little bit differently.
CP: Yeah, yeah, good. And you spent essentially the rest of your career in water?
GD: Well, water of one type or other. (CP laughs) The big changes, of course, with the whole system came, as you know, when the environmental movement started in, oh, the sixties; and everybody started looking more at what was happening to the fish, and the birds, and the wildlife; and, in my opinionand to others in drinking waterwe thought to the detriment of the drinking water program
CP: Cause youre (inaudible)
GD: Or drinking water in general.
GD: Because Floridas a water-rich state, but yet, we use all of thethe vast majority of the water we use for drinking comes out of the ground.
GD: But whatever you do in cleaning up the streams and taking it out of the streams and putting it on the land, then its ultimately going to end up in the groundwater at some point. So, overall, you have that problem to contend with, and its a never-ending problem; and weve been dealing with these changes and the environmental field all of that period. As you recall, I think the first law passed in the state, which started breaking things down, and you also recall the fight we had trying to get the State Board of Health as a health and environment group, I think is what we tried to set up.
CP: Thats right.
GD: Well, some of the doctors didnt think we should go that way, that we should have it a pure State Board of Health. And then, there was another bill that had the want to put it all in Tallahassee, and it was kind of a mixed batch that year. And I think it was 67, Im not sure exactly.
CP: Thats correct, it was 67.
GD: We ended up splitting the wastewater group to the Florida Water and Pollution Control group at thatAir and Water Pollution Control, I think is what the name of that one at that time.
CP: Yeah, yeah, air and water, yeah.
GD: And they managed to take from the State Board of Health, at that point, the wastewater program and movewell, part of it moved over to Tallahassee and the rest of it stayed with the health agency until 72. And then they got the rest of the wastewater group. And then, thethat didnt satisfy em enough; they decided they needed the drinking water program too, so, in 1975, they got that also. So, it eventually ended up that we were all in the environmental program here, which at that time in 75, the Department of Environmental Regulation was formed. And we becamethe drinking water program became part of this agency in Tallahassee.
CP: Did you still have the same (inaudible) as drinking water?
GD: Well, I still managed the drinking water program for the state, but they kind of worked it differently at that point. When we had it inin Jacksonville, with the State Board of health and the old Bureau, John Miller retired in 1972, and I was made director of the drinking water program at that point. So, I handled it until 75, when it was all moved over here. Well, allwell, not all the people. Thats a misnomer to say that they took the whole program, they wanted as many vacancies as they could getso they could do their own shifting and do what they wanted to with people. But our basic program came over, and youre really kind of administrative and all the work was handled in the district offices, all the plan review and all of that, then switched to the division from Tallahassee division toto field programs. So, then, youre aan oversight in trying to manage the people that way. Most of them that were still the same people, we were dealing with from the old Bureau of Sanitary Engineering area or arenaover into the new arena. So, we had a good working relationship, there was no problem with that.
CP: And the programming from the public point of view really didnt change very much, did it?
GD: Well, not really, but I think youas time progressed, there were a lot of changes in how the overall looked at the drinking water. The drinking water program was kind of pushed in the background. And with the changes administratively, there was a lot more, well, I dont know how to put it, the politicians got more in control of everything they wanted to do and whatever they thought politically was correct and thats what you did.
CP: Thats what we had to put up with, eh?
GD: When we were in the State Board of Health and the old Bureau of Sanitary Engineering, that was not the case. Everybody metwe met with professional people. It was on a professional basis, discussed the problems, and whatever was resolved there was normally agreeable to both the engineer and our engineers; and normally, the engineers that brought the project in could handle it with their clients.
CP: It was professional dialogue towards professional decisions.
GD: Thats right; and, unfortunately, had a number of decisions within the D.E.R. [that] were strictly political decisions that should not have been made.
CP: Told up from upstairs what was politically expedient for the next budget year.
GD: Well, youyou hold what direction you think should go andyou may recall what was one of theprobably the biggest thorns in the side of some people was back in 74, 73, somewhere in there. I was doing a lot of review of drinking water systems in the South Florida areas that typically expanded as it has all these years
CP: Yes, its (inaudible).
GD: Those three counties there have just grown, grown, grown. And I was doing awe were reviewing a project for a very big trailer park and, oh, it was six or seven hundred trailer spaces or something. It was a big one.
GD: And they were going onsite water in that hollow rock that they have in South Florida and going onsite disposal with the wastewater treatment plant.
GD: And its just sittin there in one big envelope and youre just pushing in here and taking out there, is the way we were lookin at it. And so, I was carrying on an argument with the consultant on it, and he was very staunchly opposing it, which I know whathow that would be, theprobably the owner didnt want to spend that much money in the first place, and it would be a while before public utilities would get to him. Which is typically down there. A lot of the stuff was built out and we had that situation. So, I finally wentby that time, David B. Lee had long since retired, and Sid Berkowitz was our chief of the Bureau of Sanitary Engineering; and I went and talked to Sid, and I said, You know, Im doing battle with this one utility, one man, one project. I said, But this thing really is for the whole South Florida area, why are we trying to do this for this one project? And here we are at thisyou can calculate the amount of water taken out of the ground for drinking water can be matched about fifty per cent of it coming in from wastewater disposal and septic tanks. So, we are certainly recycling half the water they drink, theyre recycling it. Theres no way of getting around it. And so, we agreed andI dont know if you had taken over or if it was still Dr. Sauder then, Ive got
CP: I took over in 74.
GD: I think it was 73, I think we did that. Anyway, we came out with aa memorandum, signed by Dr. Sauder, out of our group, that all water facilities in those three counties would have to go to complete treatment.
CP: All right.
GD: Well, we had a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth about that time. Andbut it didsome of the major utilities then started looking tothey had to expand and start picking up some. It helped the bigger utilities try to get more into the overall responsibility ofbut for a long time thatand I dont know what thesome of that stuff way down in South Dade, whether its all still picked up or not, but we had a lot of problems that have been experienced since that time that certainly prove our point; as you will recall, the typhoid outbreak in South Dade Labor Camp, about the same time we had a
CP: I remember that.
GD: A boil water notice on Miami Beach The typhoid outbreak and Miami Beach boil water notice both occurred in 1973. and the good mayor over there was drinking water on national TV, Now there aint nothin wrong with our water. Of course, he died a couple years later. (CP laughs) It was from a heart attack, not from the water. (laughter)
CP: I remember that.
GD: I used to use that when I used to give speeches all time about the importance of drinking water. Yeah, he drank the water? Well, he died. After they got through laughing, then Id tell it was from a heart attack. (laughter) But thatthat was just the start of it, I think; that, really, we had to get to that point. And if you have followed the overall environmental rules of EPA through the years, they finally accomplished that same deed in what the, I dont know, 86, 87 amendments after theyd been in the program for twelve years and then they decided we ought to treat all the water that has surface water contamination.
CP: Yeah, very true.
GD: And we couldnt even get em to support us for chlorination. Now thats how much things have changed since we got in to the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974, So.
CP: Our water system is unique in all the United States. It seems to me, our limestone is subsurface.
GD: Well, we have a lot ofpeople dont probably realize that some of the interchange that we have; certainly Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties, that south end of the State there; I think theyve realized that on several occasions, theyve had upsets and contamination problems, and the least of which was the typhoid outbreak, which was a direct discharge intothrough that limestone, right into the intake.
CP: Thats right, thats what went wrong.
GD: And unfortunately, as things happened, the chlorinator was also off at the same time that incident occurred, and then you had all of thesewhat was it, a thousand people? I dont know, half of that labor camp reported in for the typhoid. Some of them didnt because they couldnt go to work if they did.
CP: Thats right. ItwhatI dont remember the exact cases, about a hundred and forty real cases of typhoid fever
GD: Yeah, but there were like, two thousand people living in that
CP: Inin the camp. Thats right.
GD: In the camp.
CP: Thats right.
CP: It was on national television. It got national attention.
GD: But they reportedly said that a lot of them werent reporting in because they couldnt work.
CP: Yes, thats right.
GD: So, we dont know what the eventual numbers were on that, but then we knew that it wasit was fairly good sized.
CP: Yes it was, itit wasit attracted international attention.
GD: Yeah. Especially the boil water notice at the same time at Miami Beach. (CP laughs) Thatthat really got to em. That mayor got fixed up with that one. Actually we hadafter that period right in there, we had difficulties. They needed re-chlorination on the beach is what the whole problem was. And cause they had big storage tanks over there, and they were taking Miami water and puttin over into their reservoir, and it was justwith that hot sun, the chlorine would dissipate and they were putting that water in with no chlorine residual. And we finally told em, Youve got to go to re-chlorination. Well, they just fought
CP: Well, people dont like chlorine in their water.
GD: Yeah, but, you know, at the same time, we werehad thejust following thatwell, it was right in thesay, I forgot what came first. But they had the both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions there in Miami, and we had toall thetheytheres was a threat that they was goin to contaminate the water supply and we had people runnin out our ears. Everybody was on the go and trying to check
GD: For chlorine
CP: The terrorists. The Terrorists is going to cut corners by.
GD: Residual was goin to be our checkpoint. Well, on Miami Beach, they didnt find any residual.
CP: Yes. (CP laughs)
GD: And then we were lost, I mean, you could not check anything because it didnt have a chlorine residual. So, they had tothey realized at that point that they had to come up and go to chlorineadd chlorine in their systems.
CP: I remember those.
GD: So, it did accomplish something.
CP: Dynamic events. I hadnt thought about those in years (GD laughs). Thanks for reminding me of all of that. You and I wereI was in a different capacity, but we was right in the middle of that.
GD: Well, we hadI dont know how many peoplewe had peopleI went down there duringI think Iwewe shared time, some of them went down on the Democratic National Convention, and the others went down on the Republican National Convention.
GD: And I think I went down on the Republican National Convention.
CP: Yes, all right.
GD: And that was going to besupposedly going to be the worst one, because they seem to be(laughs) to bethe persons that everybody wanted to attack. I dont know. (CP laughs) Anyway, it came by and we didnt have any realreal problems with the whole situation at any time, or anything that we thought might be a problem. And we tried to do a lot of lookin at what all the possibilities would be andand I think it was figured out pretty well. That they had a good workin crew down there.
CP: Um-hm. While youre in waste disposal, Im recalling the ocean sewage outfalls and all the mess of trying to get the cities fromto quit putting their untreated sewage into the Gulf Stream.
GD: Well, I had gotten out of wastewater, and that was Ralph Bakers job, but Ralph Baker did a yeomans job of trying to go do the battle with that for all those years. Now, the problems thatthe way we looked at it in the Bureauthat these waste outfallsgranted, some of them didnt have primary treatment, which I think would have probably removed most of the problems you had. But if youat that point, if you could go offshore and get in to that 100 foot-deep with five, I dont know, five, six feet per second velocity current that closed in that thing, they found no problems when all the surveys they did of the outfalls, there was very little problems. It was always, if this happens or that happens, they had to fix all the conditions. You might have something float back on the shore.
GD: And some of them that werent quite far enough out to get in to the main stream of thethe Gulf Stream they sometimes would get little eddy currents in with some bacteriological contamination coming back in little bit shallow water. So
CP: And other interesting things too.
CP: I remember. (CP laughs)
GD: Well, they used oranges I think. So many oranges used to float back.
CP: Im recalling a picture of a man in Hollywood by the sea, standing in the surf with a condom hanging on his nose. (GD laughs) Do you recall that?
GD: Well I dont remember that picture.
CP: That he had picked up swimming. Yeah, excuse me.
GD: Well, those things, the floatables like that, I think if wed a gone to primary treatment and sludge digestion, I think that could have been handled. But what thethe powers that be and the politicians decided, Well, were gonna mandate eighty-five percent treatment for all that waste going out in to that ocean. Well, that just about used up all the potential money for waste treatment. When, really, the best thing they should have done in that area and avoid putting in tens and fifty thousand septic tanks down there in that shallow aquifer thats strictly limestone, youre not doing anything with it, it just flows out in the water, that could have put the money into collection systems, and you broaden your base of what you have to do to treatment. If something later found youve got to increase treatment, youve gotta tremendous base to provide the funds to do it. We put the horse on the back of the cart and start trying to push it rather than doing something outstanding with it
CP: Isnt that true in so many places that the economy and the politics of developmentyou know mine is only a thousand houses and I cantI cant afford a central treatment plant.
GD: Well, that wholethat whole coast down therethey mandated that and theythey were handling the waste adequately, in general. A lot of the outfalls that were put in right, they examined those. And they even had video cameras at the discharge point on some of those that were put in a little bit later. And they found anyno accumulation of solids around the outfall.
CP: Oh, the outback. What do you call that? The orifice?
GD: Andbut thatyou know, they decided they were gonna put all their money in treatment and that just took away the money for collection systems. Andwhich would have been really the way tothat we needed to go.
CP: Yup, jump right ahead. All of the development on the southeast coast, which was originally septic tanks. Man, theres septic tanks. Has that been replaced? Were talkin 1999 now.
GD: They might of have, but I doubt it. Well, I was lookinsomething came out, it was in the specifier, about five months ago, I guess. I think they had given a ten year summary of septic tanks; and I forget, it seemed like the number 50,000 per year sticks in my mind. Here we are in this age, that were still going to that level. Over in Jacksonville now, you got all the problems where the septic tanks are all, you know, theyre in bad shape and they need to be replaced and we got to put in collection systems. Well, what we tell em all those years ago? We kept telling, Dont, you know, just go to lookwork towards central systems is the way to do it. And I dont know if you remember, but in thejust before the whole thing was split completely up, there was a committee formed on the septic tank issue. And it wouldhad the developers on it, the septic tank providers, some engineers, doctors, our agencyI think Nick Mastro was on that committee. I dont know; it was a fairly big committee. Andand it wouldhad been selected and they worked for years trying to get that worked out that we would allow twenty-five lots initially, but it should be put in with the understanding that were gonna have to go to central system. We thought possibly leading that you could take some of these things and put in the collection systems and go to [an] elevated septic tank draining field, you know?
GD: And that would be the start of it. So, that, as you recall, got introduced into the rules and regulations of the state board of health; and it took just about til [the] next session of legislature; and the legislator decided they couldnt build their houses or they couldnt represent their client that was building the house; and so the whole thing was completely emasculated. And all that workand [it] seemed like the numberfive years, they worked and worked and worked, trying to work out all the details and get everybody in the same boat and this is what happens with the flick of the wrist when they appear in session for two months
CP: Im afraid so often our decisions are based on [what] the economic advantage is to me and the problems tomorrow, thats tomorrows guys problem.
GD: Well, I recall when they started in 75, when they started thisthat bill was coming to split the drinking water program away from Health. I wrote a letter to one of our local members in Jacksonville, I wont use his name again, but I wrote himI told him that we should keep drinking water with health, that we still thought that the drinking water portion should be with the health agency. And this gentleman wrote me back and his total answer to the letter that he had a project over in Madison County that they wouldnt let him put in septic tanks like he wanted to, so he wants to get rid of the whole thing over there. (CP laughs) So, its basically animosity because he didnt get his septic tanks in and he didget rid of the heath department or health agency out of all this stuff. Well, thatsthats one way to look at it, but that wasnt
CP: But were suffering the consequences
CP: Right now, were suffering the consequences.
GD: If you lookif you look at how many septic tanks go in, say 50,000which I think thats a fairlyI was going to cut that out and keep it, and I failed to do it. At three people per house, that is a 150,000 people served, and we say what the new growth in the state is? 300,000 a year?
GD: Were sellingwere providing
GD: Septic tanks for half of that group coming in all the time.
GD: Still! I mean at this late date.
GD: I mean, were still heading in the same way; weve never improved about it.
CP: Are there any studies on our aquifer, particularly in South Florida? Im aware theres salt intrusion, Im aware thatthat Pinellas County is beginning to agitate the lack of water. Lee County is worried about water supply. Manatee [County] is having trouble with its river for water supply.
GD: What, low? I havent heard of that. I dont
CP: Yeah, yeah. I think. I may be screwed up. But the EastWestSouth West Florida Counties Lee and Lee mainlyin Sarasota, not Manatee, Sarasota. Im sorryare beginning to worry about a continual water supply because of salt intrusion.
GD: Well, theywe, the State of Florida, is the leader in reverse osmosis technology. And our first plant, we went in for that, I think it was in the sixties. And you look at what we have now atwere treatin water all over the state. And theyre even considering one now in the Tampa Bay District. That theyre gonna treat salt water. Which is absolutely ludicrous. You got all the brackish water you ever want there in right where theyre going to put in the plant. There is brackish water underneath that site. I dont know what theyre going to do; they gonna go out in the Bay and put an intake in that salt water? Man, thats the nastiest water Ive ever seen. Theyre trying to use intake and the intakes will just get messed up in nothing flat.
CP: Yes, yes.
GD: Theres no way to do that. I wrote a letter to bothI found outabout I wrote to Tampa Tribune and The St. Pete Times. Tampa Tribune published the letter, but St. Pete Times didnt, and I think thats where the big hullabaloo is at; That the water management district is gonna put a lot of money into it to keep the cost of the salt water down, but theyll still be paying four to five times what they could pay for treating brackish water.
CP: Yes, yes.
GD: The state has plenty of brackish water.
CP: Yes, we do.
GD: Weve been using it for years. And its around the state, really, were utilizing a lot of brackish water treatment. And so, eveneven in Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach, some of those are putting in low pressure membranes. Actually, what they call membrane softening, where you just take good water and you justcanlow pressure, and you come out with a relatively economical plant. Its not that much more expensive when you consider all of the property and the land that it takes to put in a regular plant versus the compactcompactness of an R.O. Reverse Osmosis facility, you get a million-gallon plant in a fairly small area
CP: You cant.
GD: You cant do that on lab softening, and filters, and all that jazz. So, its
CP: Thats fascinating.
GD: Theyve done a number of cost studies on some of these plants and a lot of the plants now in South Florida have both R.O. or membrane softening technology, and theyre
GD: meeting with their line of treatment. And one thing that has brought probably a big change this way is that with the continuing regulations of EPA and, of course, we in state agencies all across the country have to mimic or copy that. In fact, through the years, ourour rules were normally more stringent than federal regs anyway, but back when wewhen the Safe Drinking Water Act came out in 74, our rules were as strong as they were.
CP: I remember a lot of hullabaloo about that too.
GD: In fact, ours were stronger, because they wouldnt do anything with secondary standards; which is all the sulfates, as you well knowin one argument we had in your office (CP laughs) about somebody you told the guy he didnt think he would have any trouble, people buying laxatives there and he didnt understand, What you talkin about? But the sulphates and all those things inin Sarasota County, in that area. And we were taking care of it. We wanted to take care of it. Not the federal government, they werent gonna touch it.
CP: Yeah, I remember.
GD: They wouldnt even back us on chlorination. I mean they werethe whole thing was a can of worms. They finally got to the point now that theyre trying to cram just more and more regulations down everybodys throat. Itsits gotten, I thinkpast a point of being beneficial. Youre reallyyoure compounding, and everybodys gotten so worried when really, theres other things to worry about other than what theyre trying to look at.
CP: More eminent words. But in theis the septic tanks generally, your feel for its impact on our aquifer water supply? You already has itIm recalling the studies of Flora May Wellings in the epidemiology research lab in Tampa, which she did a lot of sewage effluent, down flow, and Im not familiar with those data
CP: I cant recall them back up right now.
GD: You know, its always been difficult when you start looking in the virology as one virus can cause a disease, where as for typhoidwhat does it takethousands of those little boogers before you inoculate
CP: Impracticality, yeah. Technically, you can do it withtheoretically, you can do with one, but actually it takes a bunch.
GD: What, viruses?
CP: No. Typhoid.
GD: (CP and GD laugh) Not the other way, its not. Well, remember we had a little problem in Dade County, that again, relating to the memo that we put out that everybody had to go to complete treatment.
GD: And there was a system in South Dade, which the decision down there was to handle the overall problems of the area. It was going to be the county on the total utilities, counties and municipalities and they were trying to extend and pick everything up into the one basic system. Because they had complete treatment in all their plant. Well this is waywhere it was down in South Dade and they just were away from everything and they couldntcouldnt really get to it. But they did havewell, I dont know if they had a waste water plant that wasnt functioning right or whether it was septic tanks, Im not sure. Seemed like it was septic tanks. But anyway, we had an outbreak on one of the water systems there. And Flora May went down and did the huge volumes of water you have to take for all the samples; and she did like twenty samples on the water, and then she didthey did cultures on all the people that were sick and everything else. Well, I think of the twenty samples she did on water, there were twotwo contaminated with the same whateverthe trademark would be if that organism that they found through the
CP: The patients.
CP: Yeah. Uh-huh.
GD: So, they did tie directly over to water being the culprit of what created this particular outbreak. And this was of course after the fact, everybody had gotten sick but they still found these two positive in thein the water system.
CP: Water supply.
GD: So, that created quite a hullabaloo inin South Dade or in Dade County. And
CP: I bet it did.
GD: Even thethe doctor there at that time didnt really want to get too much into that. (CP laughs)
CP: Just the health officer?
GD: Health Officer.
GD: And, for some reason, the data was there and we had a meeting but after that, the data could never be found.
CP: Oh, it got lost?
GD: So, Isomewhere, I think it gotgot pulled away. But we definitely had a tie between the viral problems andand drinking water in the waist highs. Several thingsplaces that I got Flora May, when we took over in studying some areas that we felt needed additional treatment. I dont want to put any names into it, but a couple of cities weve been after to go to complete treatment. We thought they needed complete treatment because they had, like, colored water once in a while in their wells.
CP: Whoops. Whoops.
GD: That means ground water contamination is gettin over into your wells. Theres no way of gettin around it. And so, on some of these, we had a contract that we ran out of some of our safe drinking water funds to let her [Flora May Wellings] do studies on those particular ones. Well, on two of the ones that we had studied, we found viral contamination. Several positives over a period of time.
CP: Oh boy.
GD: Well, in one city that I had been after, I convinced them that we would go ahead and start doing complete treatment. Because I didnt want to go to the press and tell em we had viral contamination. And they kind of agreed that they would go ahead and start aiming that way. Well, they did. They finally put in a complete plant. And another one. And there was a trailer park that we were skeptical about further up the state in a limestoneshallow limestone problems. And we found a contamination there. We got things arranged that they would get on the municipal system. So, thatswe used some of the viral studies, you know, to get it but we did find viral contamination in some wells. And ifas far as the overall septic tank problems state-wide, we keep on going more and more and more, and we have not really moved in a direction that I think we should have been moving all along, and I think most of those in sanitary engineering and the State Board of Health people feel that, you know, we should be moving more towards central sewage systems. And the septic tanks are not the panacea that everybody thinks they are.
GD: In fact, you get in to some of the meetings in the other state sanitary engineering groups which I used to be active in some of them, and they always called Florida the septic tank state. Now I reallyI almost have to agree with them. I mean yeah, we were that way.
CP: Yeah. Statistically, we probably have more per capita than most other places.
GD: God, I dont know how many hundreds of thousandshow many millions do we have right now?
CP: I bet you its in the millions. Yeah. And we areit seems to me we are the septic tank capital of the world. Our development kind of depended on it, I guess.
But I have said recently, being challenged by a group of public health leaders, what could I consider to be the public health problem of the year 2000. And I said, Water supply. React to that.
GD: Well, I dont know if our water is that bad. I think thewe have a lot of good water in the state, and if you look at, say, some of the problems of, say, the biggest water problem everybody thinks about is the Tampa Bay area.
CP: Thats right.
GD: I was born in Tampa.
CP: I wont hold that against you.
GD: And thein growin up there, I remember quite succinctly that we would travel across the north highway out there. Going to Tarpon Springs out through the area that now is basically allall developments.
CP: Wall-to-wall housing.
GD: And if it had rained recently, most of the cows probably had some water around their feet when they were eating the grass. Of course, this is a very rich recharge area. Theyve shown that. That the water percolates down and thats where the drinking water recourses come from. And, of course, developers realize that they cant really build any houses with that much water around. So, we startevery time you start a development in that whole area there; you had to put in drainage structures, ditch it, start gettin the water off the land andto develop the land. Okay, what happens when you start doing that? It had, it wasnt just back originally; I mean it has continued through the years. Drainage, drainage, drainage, drainage, drainage.
CP: Yup. Off to the ocean.
GD: Well, out through the lakes and out through the bayupper bay. I had a friend inor my family had a frienda church friend that I grew up with in Tampa there. Thatthey offered to my family an opportunity to go to their lake place. Whatpick out whatever week you want and come down and you can stay at the lake. I think they wastheytheir familyI think they had one of the boys had one on another lake and the couple that owned the major one were gettin so they didnt really go out their that much anyways. So, wewe took advantage of it, and normally during the summer wed go down there and spend a week.
The last time I went was like in 1975, just afteror 76. Just about the time we were changing over to the new agency. They were already had been complaining for years about the water utilities using all the water resources out there and that was just terrible thatthat they had to do something else for their water supply. That period, they had just completed putting about a two-foot ditch in the westerly end of the lake where we stayed. It could never come up to anywhere near its original levels. And I understand that it drained all through keystone. That lake had also been ditched. So, youre ditchin the whole area youre draining. Two feet of groundwater out to reduce that much recharge and say, Its the problem of the water utilities. The water utilities are causing all these problems. And I dont believe theyve ever looked at it from the true perspective of what the problems are. Now, in so doing, youve reduced a lot of the normal recharge and probably a lot of septic tanks out there are making up for the recharge. So, youve got less water to dilute with the septic tank, effluence, thats in the area.
GD: Isnt it?
CP: Yeah, fascinating.
GD: And then we wonder whywhy do we treat the water thatlike we do? When you fly over the state, particularly if youve sometimewellwe fly around the state aircraft, you know? Theywe had to fly us up with a group, theyd take the state aircraft. Flying it at low levels and you fly over, Look at that big drainage ditch goin out across there? They wouldnt know why they were all there. And then, Whats happening to the water in the State of Florida? Draining it off. We got to drain it to make development.
CP: Drain it. Where would we build houses?
GD: Thats right.
CP: For the profit for one or two folks.
GD: So, the utilities get blamed but
CP: Doing it, in actuality
GD: In actuality, theyre not the biggest water user.
CP: Yes. What do you see as a solution, Glenn?
GD: I dont know. Its gettin further and further from rational decisions. I think were all going to end up going to R.O. treatment or something. Its more economicalmoreslightly more expensive, but it does produce a better water emittingall the drinking water standards, which you dont have to worry about drinking water standards with that because you strip all of that stuff out. So, thats another reason that some of thethe agencies have gone to that situation. That they figured they can meet the standards in the future, whatever the future might bring. Theyll basically be able to meet it.
CP: But if we dont have a
GD: And theres about that much problems.
PC: If we dont have enough water to treat, so what if we meet the standards if theres not enough?
GD: Well, somebodys going to get some buckets to figure out how to bucket it because we getany state that gets fifty inches of rain, which a lot of the state gets more than that.
GD: They get fifty inches of rain and cant manage when the states of California and some of the other states get twelve inches? And we cant manage with fifty? Somethings wrong.
CP: Yeah. How do you react to the idea in our papers within the last year, a lot of boo-ha-ha over Saint Petersburg wantin to put a big pipe into Wakulla Springs?
GD: Theyve had that opportunity ever since they have owned the spring since it was ever commercialized I thinkor close to it. They were backoriginally theyve owned the rights on that water.
GD: Theyve bought it a long time ago. I dont really see thatthat much [of] a problem of taking the spring water and using it.
CP: And pumping it out of Saint Petersburg?
GD: But, the problem is when you start talking any of that and you get into these long transmission; like people talking about taking water from North Florida, pumping it to South Florida, you put in a hundred miles of pipeline, youve got some money. Real, real money. (GD laughs) Its a lot more than say, going to R.O. treatment over what your local resource is. Whether Saint Petersburg will get to that, I dont know, remains to be seen. Its certainly is a possibility and we have, in the state, I dont know how many billions of gallons of water flow out of springs all the time?
CP: Thats wasted, its wasted from our human consumption of water.
GD: Well, its likelike some of the arguments inover on the Saint Johns River there and wantin to get rid of the big pond there that was built by the Cross-Florida Barge Canal. I think its ridiculous to get rid of that. Now just north of that, theyve been talking about that the recharge area for Jacksonville, in that vicinity is probably, maybe twenty miles north of there. I dont know exactly. Not too much difference in grade probably. So if you got into a real straits for a water resource, you could pump that water into recharge basins up there in that area and recharge that sand.
CP: Oh, really?
GD: But everybody, Oh, we gonna get rid ofwere going to have to get rid of thatthat lake. Well, I think thats a foolish situation.
GD: That river can never be like it was because all the trees have died and fallen in by now. Becauseright afternot many years after that, people up there fishin had to get out of there when a wind storm came and they get logged down through the boat. So, they learned that a long time ago. The lot of those trees. And the river itself would neverit would take eons probably to get that river back to what it was.
CP: That might be.
GD: But it certainly is a water resource, and its certainly is ais a fishing resource right now. Ive never fished over there, but a lot of people say its great.
CP: Yeah. Ive fished there and its good.
GD: But uhthis is some of the things we have thatwe have water resources just like Silver Springs. What is it? I dont know, minimum flow probably two hundred million a day? I dont know what the
CP: Its gigantic, I dont know what it is either.
GD: I dont know. I used to keep up with some of the total flow of some of the major springs but I dont anymore. But theres a lot of water that, when push comes to shove, theres nothin wrong with that water. They used to say it was mineralized. What do you mean? Its the limestone water, the same thing everybody treats for drinking, thats all it is.
CP: Its the same where mine comes from.
CP: Have the water management districts, which were enacted for managing the water supplycame in 76, I thinkwhat impact have they had? Were you involved with the water management districts?
GD: Well, some good and some bad.
CP: Okay. (Laughs)
GD: They turned a deaf ear, I think, towards water utilities. Most of the water management districtsif you look at going back toyou know, they were in existence way back there. Thattheyve been involved in water resources. And some of the appointments now have changed somewhat. I dont knowI dont look at the appointments that much, but it used to be basically the landholders were the ones that were appointed to the
CP: To the governing boards.
GD: Governing boards.
GD: All right, now theyre the ones that want to use the water for irrigation, sell the water, and this sorts of thing. Just like the Tampa area. Now, when all the rules and regs [regulations] are passed andand we told some of the people in DER. here, when theythe waste water group, their the managing some of thethe water rule, whatever that rule used to be. State Rule 40, or something, I forgot what the number was. Anyway, that theyre put in this water areas of stressed that have to be special needs, andall the special studies you got to do andthe only ones that have to do any study is the water utilities. You got to look at reusing the wastewater. Well, what about all the agriculture? What are they doing? Nothing. What about all the people draining the land? Thats where our resource is, thats whats happening to the resource and were draining it. What about that? Shouldnt that be reconsidered in these waterthat need being conserved? Not just the water utility saying, Well, youve got to look at reusing all your wastewater before you can take in more drinking water. Wereafter all, the drinking water people are about the third highest demand, behind agriculture, industry andand drinking water. So, why should we be the onehave to do all the
CP: All the givin.
GD: All the givin?
CP: Well, thats
GD: Why aint the other part considered? If youve got a problem, consider the total resource for everybody.
CP: He did.
GD: Thats what it should be. But doesnt seem to work that way.
CP: Oh, I thought thats what the water management distribution were
GD: Well, I thought so too, but you look at something I read ina rule came out and, what was it, drinkingthe waterFlorida Water Resources Journal came out from a rule onI think it was Saint Johns district. And all the hoops that theyre set up in it is the drinking water and the utilities, which only utilities is waterwaste water utilities, there aint no ag [agriculture] utilities or industry utilities. Theyre the ones that have to look at all these different things thatwhether youve got water or what you got to do or how youre gonna manage it and the other parts. I think thats wrong. Ive thought it all along. Thatthat its got to be
CP: Total water usage.
GD: Under broad presets. If itsif you got a shortage just like in the Tampa Bay area, the total package has to be there.
CP: Put on the table.
GD: You look at over in Pasco Country where theyre sayin theyve got all the problems. That water out there had to be drained too to put in all those houses.
CP: Sure it did.
GD: It aint no different from what over there in Pinellas County and North Hillsborough.
CP: So true.
GD: They drain the land so they could build the houses.
GD: With nono consideration of what the whole total package is happening.
CP: Long range consequences.
GD: And I got into some of the water management supporters a couple of times in their ears. For years, weve had a sand minewhats thewhats the most important water recharge area of the state?
CP: The central sand ridge area.
GD: What do they call that? Green Swamp.
CP: Thats right.
GD: Right, Green Swamp.
CP: Green Swamp, thats right.
GD: And the Green Swampand Ill bet its still there, one of the major sand producers, dewaters and pushes the water out through the Peace River, out of the Green Swamp. And thats been permitted all this period of time.
CP: Really? Really? As I said, I view our most significant public health problem of the twentieth centuryI mean twenty-first century to be water supply. Yes, I do. I think its gonna come haunt us
GD: The resources if though weve improved water treatment facilities or water treatment processes and were producing a better water under any circumstance we can produce drinkable water at a reasonable price. And Im talkin probably less than a dollar a thousand. But when you add on distribution charges and all, most utilities charge a dollartheir minimum charges are normally charged a dollar or more per thousand gallons. But even so, like David B. Lee David B. Lee was the Director and Chief Engineer of the Bureau of Sanitary Engineering with the State Board of Health in the State of Florida. Lee was also an avid proponent of centralized sewage treatment facilities. years ago used to say when youd go out, hed give anybody a thousand dollars if they could drink a pennys worth of water in a day.
CP: (Laughs) Fascinating.
GD: There aint no way you can do it. Theres oneone person I thinkit seemed like there was a case somewhere in yalls archives on theon health that some lady drank, for some reason, I dont know why, drank, I dont know, three or four gallons and she died. Thats about as much as you can drink to
CP: Yeah, yeah, that wouldthat would do you in.
GD: I guess it just dilutes everything out and that would be it. Buteven so, waters ac cheap commodity.
CP: Yes, it is.
GD: People mustmust think more of it, though, if theyll pay fifty cents for a liter bottle and not paypaying less than a penny.
CP: Oh, your liter bottle must not be good, I havent seen any for less than $1.19. In which I dont
GD: (Laughs) I dont drink it.
CP: I dont drink it either.
GD: Im tellin you all. Whatshowwhen did theyhow often do they test that bottle? How frequently theyhow much shelf life does ithow long has it been on the shelf over there.
CP: Oh, the story that I like is that Broward Country got on to the waterpure water vending machines. You might remember that, but Im gonna remind you. There was one company thatI dont remember how they got onbut anyway, the investigation revealed that these vending machines, where youd go with your gallon jug and get you a gallon of water for a buck or something, was hooked in to the city water supply and a spicket right back at the machines. Where they got their water.
GD: It is but some of them are supposed to add, likelike carbon filters and that sort of thing, you know, to straighten it up. But carbon is an excellent source for bacterial contamination.
CP: Yes, it is.
GD: Its a good growing medium.
CP: Yes, it is.
GD: So, you better not use one of
CP: Thats true.
GD: Those buggers too long or youre gonna have some bacterial problems. (CP and GD laughs) May not be coliform, but therell be some bacteria.
CP: Yeah. What do you consider the highlights of your career, Glenn?
GD: I dont know, Ijust overall of being involved with ain a state that has grown dynamically in the last thirty-five yearsforty years, a bit of
CP: And you were a witness to all of that?
GD: Uh, yeah. When youre involved in a lot of it, just like the R.O. facilities. I feel that wasI had a good hand in getting that started way back there and pushed it. I can recall DuPont coming in [and] talking to us on R.O. years ago. I guess in theprobably, the late sixties or early seventies, and what our views were on R.O. And I said, I think its theits gonna be the treatment process in the State of Florida.
CP: For our listeners, youif you havent been listening real well to Glenn, R.O. translates Reverse Osmosis, that he used in the early part of our conversation. But I tend tojust want out listeners to understand that were talking about reverse osmosis with R.O.
GD: Right. Well, reverse osmosis is even expanded out now to you have ultra filtration and theytheytheyve softmembrane softening, which is R.O, but itstheythey vary theaccording to the water, they can now open up the membranes a certain amount and get more water through at less cost, lower pressure; and theyve done wonders in thein the field. I can recall the first plant we put in, and I did haveI had a picture in thethe guy that was selling it at the time, I told him, Im trying to find that picture for him, of the original R.O. plant.
It looked like four rocket tubes on the side of a building. Four-hundred PSI and they had these huge pumps and there you could not go into the pump room without puttin on hearing protectors. I mean it was that loud. And that was the first one. And it was on Longboat Key. And we put that in because they were trying to get water out there on to the Key and these people wanted to go in to put in this condominium, we told them they could move forward with the R.O. system. And they realized that they would put it in and as soon as the utilities got there with their central water system, they would just switch over to it. And I thoughtyou know, thisthis was the way to go. And, in fact, many of the R.O. plants that we have had and for a long time, I was doing talks on, or givehad papers published in A.W.W.A. American Water Works Association is an international non-profit, scientific and educational association founded to improve water quality and supply. journals and a couple of the R.O. membrane technology courses that they put on, but I kept that history up through the years until I retired ora little bit before that. When I got out of drinking water and got over in the other group of cleaning up contaminated supplies. But in the other field, I did try to keep thatthat resource, I mean that history up. And you could see every year wed do it, we had aboutstill had about a hundred plants, but there would be like, twenty new plants and twenty of the ones that were there have now gotten central system to em. So, they have abandoned theirsome of em moved on and they resold them to some other facility. And they were still in good shape and they couldthey could put em in another site.
CP: Relative expense of the R.O. system?
GD: Well, you can produce, like I said, the waterif you have to go to, say, lime softening, filtration and that bit. And many of the plants now, with the lower pressure membranes are putting in plants that they do some of the analyses of cost one versus the other. Have shown that theres not that much difference because land has gotten so expensive. You taking a lot less land to produce that and when you lowersay, from the original four hundred PSI plant, were now talkin probably a maximum of two hundred PSI and some of the ultra filtration stuff and membrane softening may be a hundred PSI. So, weve gotten down into where the pumps are much more economical, and to handle a facility and all is much moremuch better now than it was inthirty years ago, when we got started in this business. The originals seattheywell theyve got one salt-water plant in in Key West; and which in most of the papers II wrote, I said, That would be the only place wed ever need salt-water, but the Tampa Bay people decided that wasnt right, so they gonna go into the bay and take water out of the bay, rather than go to R.O. Real R.O. is the better water
CP: Too bad.
GD: But those type of things, I think, that when you consider all the progress thats been made in it. And I did one paper a few years ago down on a national meeting on membrane technology that I surveyed all the states to see how many membrane plants we had. And in R.O.the United States is the one thats really pushing and out of the United States, the State of Florida has more than the rest of the States put together. Even though there are other plants around, we had as many as the rest of the other states put together.
CP: Now that speaks volumes.
GD: To ourour technology has reallyweve really pushed the technology, I think, in Florida.
CP: And thats part of the highlight of your career, is being on the cutting edge of that evolving technology.
GD: Right. Thats been a very interestingin fact, right now, mostgoing back and reading your articles in some of the journalsI dont read much of em. I try to keep up with whats happening in the R.O. field, but thats about it.
CP: Yeah. Yeah. How will history viewor do think the separation of water supply from the larger public health family has been a useful thing for the State of Florida?
GD: Has been a what now?
CP: Useful thing. DidHave we done better
GD: Well, explain useful. (Laughs)
GD: Ill pull a Clinton on you. (CP and GD laughs)
CP: Let me rephrase my question. No, did putting water supply into a family of environmental pollution controlif you will, an environmental control, better serve the public interests for a healthful, sanitary water supply in contrast to the health umbrella?
GD: Well, I think it was a detriment.
CP: Oh, you do?
GD: The people that I was involved with a number of timesand I would make the point specifically to them. As you know whenin one case in particular, it wasnt long after wed moved into the agency over here. We had aa hurricane alert for the state. And we got into the meeting and I went in and represented drinking water group
CP: Concerns. Yes.
GD: Concerns. And the powers that be, most of them were from thethe environmental group that took over the agency; their concerns were whether people would come in after they hadthe tide came in and tore up their docks. They [were] afraid that they would have permits for docks and building facilities that shouldnt really be built. Now we kept getting in in all this stuff like that and I just sat there goin. And I finally just jumped on all of em, I said, What the devil you talkin about? I said, Were talking about a contaminated situation where youwells may be flooded, the whole system may be flooded, hows this get water back into the system, and youre worrying about the environment, whether somebodies gonna get a permit, or get somethin done without a permit when they shouldve been?
CP: Dock permit.
GD: Thatthat doesnt make two hoots in Hell whether thats a viable alternative. I said, The peoples health is what were supposed to be looking at here. And certainly drinking water is being one of them.
CP: The first.
GD: Well, yeah, thatthat probably we were doing that. I found it. I sat back and shut up, Ill figure, Ill do what I wantneeded to do anyway throughthrough the groups in the field. Iworking with the county health department is better when we work with them. So
But a lot of thea lot of the stuff that Ive seen through the years, working the environmental aspects, that always seemed to be the major thrust. That theyre more
CP: That whole precision process.
GD: Interested inin that aspect then they are for the water for people. II can recall thatI dont know if you remember they had the federal government before they got intowere holding hearings all over the country when this environmental thing came up, you know, and theyd come in and listen to all the whims and wherefores about the environment, blah blah blah. Well, they had one in Jacksonville; I think, the State of Florida had two sites. I think Jacksonville was one and I think Miami was another one.
GD: Well, I testified at the one in Jacksonville. I think I was an officer in the Florida section of the American Water Works Association at that time. And testified to the importance of drinking water for people. I think you recall that John Miller was always this drinking water for people.
CP: Thats right.
GD: You know, I mean
CP: He wouldnt let us forget that.
GD: Hed never let us forget it.
CP: People at the height of the pecking order.
GD: And the total impact in that whole thing that the environmentalists just jumped all over me. That that, Oh, oh, thats terrible. As I said, its typically the long-legged wading birds, we were more worried about than water for people. And they didnt like us thatallI cant help but that was my total thoughts on the way the whole situation was runnin. And you know, they had volumes offrom the hearings of that thing and I imagine most of it was the same thing. Everybody in that whole thing was pushing the environmental aspects of water. But I dont think you canits right or reasonable to separate out the real concerns fordrinking for people out of that package. It better be at the head of the pecking order or we got problems.
CP: Well being inbeing in public health, I agree to that. You tell us that you remember a debate that I was previously having once with a Floridian who is very much a pro-things environment. And our debate was which is the most important, people or the creatures of the forest? Well, it had our attention. And the conclusion of that washis concluding point was that clearly the creatures should be our first concern because man can be taught to boil or filter the water and the creatures cannot.
GD: Well all right. (CP laughs) It getsit getsit gets deeper than that though. In trying to work in the state, look what has happened to the waste water; they made everything where you first went through the grades of type one, type two, type three, wait. Okay, that didnt stop them. Enough of it. So then they got outstanding Florida water here, they got one there, got one there, and all over. Everythings in out standing Florida water, cause you cant put anything there. Now, it gets worse than that. Theres things written into the rules that you can have almost anything to come up and, you cant discharge. I ran into this with the R.O. technology. Here you are taking water, pulling it out, stripping solids out of it, basically its the same water thats in the ground. You havent done anything to it. And you want to discharge that into brackish water, which it should be. Its a better meld with the brackish water than rainwater is, for sure.
CP: Yes, yes, yes.
GD: You might have hydrogen sulfide, which you can handle. You can chlorinate it, aerate it back down and discharge it with no hydrogen sulfide. We did have some hydrogen sulfide plants that were discharging their H2O. But you go look at it and here the sulfurs slimes and all the darn little fishies all workin, justthey goin crazy in that sulfur slime. So, it wasnt reallyit wasnt a detriment. It did look bad because you had the sulfur slime there, but its not anything to really get upset about.
CP: Sounds like you might need some help (inaudible) here. Uh-huh.
GD: But itthey have just about made thewell, theyunderstand that theyre trying to get the thing turned around now. They classified the reject water from the R.O. system as industrial waste.
CP: Oh, boy.
GD: So, you got to jump through all the loops of a waste stream to discharge it. And at one point it wasit was not a class one water, it was not any tremendous class, it was a down on theumStuart area or somewhere down there. And some of the back bay pipe stuff. But its a lot of water there.
GD: They put in for anfor injection here, you know? The local guy with the department said, Oh, thats a nursery. A fish nursery.
GD: There aint a damn thing there but sand. What do you mean? (CP laughs) Its not a nursery. You cant argue with em.
GD: Thats what it says. He can declare it a nursery and then got to
CP: And its a nursery.
GD: Yeah, its a nursery.
CP: If he declared it as that.
GD: Thats all it is.
GD: So, they do itI mean theyvetheyve created so many fictitious atmospheres
GD: That youve got toto meet. Even for things like drinking water.
CP: Thatthat costs.
GD: It adds a lot of costs.
CP: It adds costs. A lot of costs.
GD: TheyI had one in particular was Sarasota. That they would notnobody would make a statement ofto release the effluent from the plant down there. Well, they hadthats a realreally a complicated plant. They gots limezeolite softeners, which they use bay water, chlorinate it to back wash their softeners.
CP: Uh-huh. Yeah.
GD: They had some other item and we had R.O., and all this was goin in together, or the reject.
GD: So, I was stripping hydrogen sulfide and that highly mineralized water there, as you well realize. You had some fluoride. And we did all this but theytheyall the effluent on your hadthe back wash water from the zeolite softeners going together with the R.O. reject water, which had hydrogen sulfide, high sulfates andfluorides were up, Ill agree to that.
CP: Yes, yes, yes. Uh-huh.
GD: All right, so he said, Nobody would answerwont give him a discharge. The plant was ready to open. And they wouldnt release it. And so, Ed Snipes, thewhos longhe was back with our agency when we were in the Health Agency, way back there. He was fussin to me about, We cant get this thing towe cant discharge it. I saidhethey already did background studies of where the discharge was in the bay. Well, you have to realize that theres also natural radiological contamination in the bay. And theyve got itradiological in the ground water. They had fluorides in the ground water. So I said, Okay, give me all of the samples you got in the vicinity of the discharge. And give me an analysis on theon the reject, and combine effluent that goin in there.
GD: Well, he put all the package together and sent it to me. Well, the reject water was way below all the background; it was in the bay.
GD: I wrote a memo back to him. Said
GD: Its perfectly all right. Its a lot less than the background in the bay.
GD: Thats all he wanted. He said, Here. (CP and GD laughs) You go and start operating. I thought thewerewere just goin all around this thing, and theres nothing there. You know, I dont know. II have a different outlook. Im lookin at the drinking water supplies side, and II cant stomach some of this other stuff.
CP: And that all reflects. And I want to think that the majority of the public expects us government to give first consideration to safety for we, the human being, and then for the other thing secondarily.
CP: Should our first concern in water supply be the human being? Is my question.
GD: For drinking purposes, yes.
CP: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
GD: It should be. Theitsthats like, you know, somethingshouldnt get into thatthe wastewater discharge end of it. IIve wroteI get ticked for years atat septic tanks and our problems with septic tanks, and I often would write a letter to the editor or something that tripped my trigger. But later on, after I got out of the drinking water program, I was handling all the cleanup of wells forwell, the ethylene dibromide problems and the gasoline problems and the
CP: Oh boy, I remember him.
GD: All that different pot of money that came in that we could help different ways for private wells or some of the other things.
GD: Well, we had us some flack around Tallahassee here about septic tanks, and all the people were gettinwell actually, they were gettin bent out of shape about the trichloroethylene. A couple of spots, we had trichloroethylene. And there was a gasoline spot or two. And they were all justall just goin
CP: Hot and bothered.
GD: Just all mind boggling how bad it was, blah, blah, blah. So I wrote a letter to the editor and told him, that all of this gasoline and all and everybodys complaining about. I said, It amounts to maybe a gallon here and a gallon there. Thats about all it is. He just comes out and you taste it or has some concerns with it. I said, But yet, we have each septic tank puts a hundred thousand gallons of at least, at best, 50 percent treated sewage in the ground, and nobody complains.
GD: I said, Its gaggin on a gnat and swallowing a camel. What the devil you doin? You got all this other stuff but yet youre complaining about a little bit of dissolvent
GD: And I
CP: Did they get any playback ondid it publish?
GD: Yeah, it published.
CP: Did you get any writin?
GD: And somesomesome girl at work today, environmental health in the health department here in town. I think worked with thewith the main office here, wrote some letter back about it. And I happened to see some of the guys at work with it, I said, Why dont you tell her whats goin on? (Laughs) She wouldshe was defending the septic tanks. There was a guy in the Jacksonville paper toabout a week ago, wrote one defending all the septic tanks over there. We shouldnt get rid of all of em.
CP: Oh really? Really?
GD: Yeah, I started up, Cut it out, I was goin to write a letter
CP: Yeah, I wouldnt be surprised if you did.
GD: I wasnt goin write no letter.
CP: Its gonna ourits gonna be a problem for those after me and you, Glenn. And theycause we put in, you know, a gigantic number of septic tanks, beginning in 1948. We begin to put em in like they were goin out of style immediately after the Second World War. I used to know the proportions and the numbers but that groupyou know, theres gonna certainly become a problem and this state is gonna really have to do some shuffling to get a central collection system for all them suckers.
GD: And pretty soon, it probably will be that every water treatment plant in the state will have to go to complete treatment.
CP: Yep. What do you think of injection pipes, for getting rid of our industrial waste?
GD: Most of those that weve hadtheres one around the lake region down there. One of those plants, I forgot which on it was. But it was put in years ago. It seemed to be holding up pretty well and sealed with no up flow. You get into, say, Dade County, most of that zone below is fairly mineralized. And they go down into that high mineral zone and I think they canthey can seal it off pretty well in what theyll do.
CP: They can take the discharge
GD: You know, weeven now, in some of the areas we put intreat water and then put it back into an envelope in the ground. And then during high demand periods, take it out of that envelope, bring it back up and put it out in distribution. It keeps down demands during the dry weather periods thatthat would aid the system.
CP: Yes. Were doin all right.
CP: Mister Dykes, for out audience, were using the word R.O. a lot and if they had beenwhats R.O. mean?
GD: Reverse osmosis. Its like, osmotic pressure that were all familiar with. A lot happens by osmosis, but reverse osmosis is adding pressure to reduce ourwhere the pressure pushes the water back through in the opposite direction. What a normal
CP: Osmosis would do.
GD: Osmosis would be. So, youre just reversing the osmosis.
CP: II just didnt want our audience to misunderstand.
CP: On these injection wells, there was one in the Orlando area as Im remembering, Glenn, that came to public attention. Which concerned a numberI think our using pressure to push down stuff. Did you get involved with that?
GD: To some major extent. (Laughs)
CP: Some major extent.
GD: The whole decision there was that they wanted to reduce the amount of water flowing out of Orlando south in that waste plant out at the airport, which was going to be a new, five-million gallon facility out there. And they wanted to direct inject into [a] strictly drinking water aquifer. And their theory was that they were gonnathey take their waterthe city does, the City of Orlando takes their water out of the lower zone, so they were goin to injecttreat the sewage to a high degree, and then inject it into the upper zone. Which bewould be overriding theirtheir own aquifer. Which there was not too many ties between the aquifers there. But there were already, some of the old drainage wells, you know, inject in to the upper zone down the downtown area.
GD: But thats kind a well away from most of the drinking water resources. We went round and round within the agency on this decision. And the decision was really made without ever lookin at what was the effect on the drinking water resources currently being utilized within Orange County. So, that was my concern. Thatthat nobody else seemed toto care about, but theyre probably six hundred to a thousand public water supply wells in the upper zone in Orange County.
CP: That many?
GD: And theres no telling how many private wells were also in that aquifer.
GD: Even some of the citys newer wells are in the upper zone, which they failed toto note in any of their discussions or paperwork involving that project. Strictly it was not the proper thing to do. And finally, through the legislature and the controls that were placed on it and the restrictions placed by the commission, when they reviewed it andand said, what the standards has to be, which was required by the legislature, you have to set the standards for highwhat the quality waters going to be to inject into the ground water there.
GD: Well, when you got into all of that, and got into the low carbon content and that levels, then the City of Orlando decided they couldnt provide the treatment necessary to get it to that level, so they abandoned doing that.
CP: The whole project.
GD: Yeah, so basically, II think its surface water ponds around the airport and through that area there and it apparently percolates down into there, getting rid of the discharge that way. But it would have had a major consequence onconsequences for some of the people taking water out of the upper zone. In fact, there was a municipalitya small municipality that was trying to expand. It was immediately down gradient from that induction site.
CP: That site.
CP: And they couldve had trouble. Potentially.
GD: Atluckily, it wasit was changed and no longer that way. And then, they also came up with their second plan for the area; that they would put discharge out in the orange groves there, which with the low level of some of the water tables in some of those lakes at the time, that probably would be greata beneficial use of it. And I think driving through the area since that time, it look like some of the lakes have come up. So, maybe that did help.
CP: Good. Yep. Good, good, good, good, good. Youyou spoke earlier of the highlight of your career
GD: The highlights.
CP: Would it embarrass you to speak to the lowlights of your career?
GD: (GD laughs) Well, I think thethat particular drainage well situation was a low point
CP: A lowyeah, it was.
GD: When you do this sort of thing to drinking water resources, and neveryoure workin the environment side, and nobody bothers to even look at what happens to the drinking water side of the shop. I think its
CP: Its almost criminal.
CP: Its almost criminal. Um-hm.
GD: The other side, I dont know, the drowndownside, I really dont have much really downside. I think I enjoyed mymy tenure in the state government. Thirty-five yearsalmost thirty-five years that Ive put in.
GD: And I met a lot of interesting people, and did a lot of interesting things around the state. I was involved in quite a few that I thought were good projects.
CP: Worthwhile, yes.
GD: And I look forward to how that whole thing will work somewhere down the line, you know?
GD: That everything will all work out and all will be great and glorious and grand.
CP: Well, its obvious that you continue to keep up with the goings on in your area of expertise and I appreciate you doing that.
GD: The latter partthe last few years you know, I spent in thethecleaning up all these private wells, that wasreally, that was the best part, because I had all the money then and drinking water never had any money. (CP and GD laugh)
CP: Oh, good point. Thats right, well, speak to that.
CP: Give us the background of how this came to pass.
GD: Well, theweeverybody started lookin at what chemicals, you know, had been used andand what problems we have and everybody was kind of voicing what had been used. Well, somebody said that, Well, ethylene dibromide Ethylene dibromide was used as a fumigant to protect against insects, pests, and nematodes in citrus, vegetable, and grain crops, and as a fumigant for turf, particularly on golf courses. In 1984, EPA banned its use as a soil and grain fumigant and is listed as a probable human carcinogen. had been used for nematode control for a number of years and hadnt been any problems with it. So, okay, so we started checking all the wells in the vicinity of orange groves and even had recordedmost of it was recorded because it was done under contract to the grove owners by the state.
CP: Yes, ah.
GD: So, the state had records of where these application zones were for the ethylene dibromide. Which, you know, controls the nematodes and they thought that was a great idea. And does bettermakes better oranges and the groves do better and the whole bit. So, anyway, they got out and started doin all these checks and balances and checking wells, checking wells; and actually, several thousand wells were checked in the ridge section where all the groves are. And, lo and behold, we started finding ethylene dibromide was quite ubiquitous.
GD: And a lot of private wells certainly were contaminated, but it also ended up [in] some of the municipal wells in that zone. That were close enough to areas that hadthey had been contaminated too. Some community water supplies that were located around groves or in some areas where groves had been torn out and put in developments were utilizingsome of em tried to utilize the irrigation wells there in existence when groves wasexisted. And on a couple situations that the wells were tested initially when they were put back in use. Didnt show any contamination. So, they go in there and put the whole facility in and then start pumpin. You go back and check it. Well, lo and behold, youve drawn it back in there and they got to go in again. So we had those types of wells also contaminated. So since the state had done that under contract, they were more or less felt that the state was then responsible for it. They started paying for the construction, or reconstruction, or doing something to these wells.
GD: Our basic function on all these private wells that weve gotweve got a contract with installers for carbon filters and put carbon filters on all the wells.
GD: And went back in on the routine basis and exchanging em out. And, I dont know, I think we had a thousand of those things underunder contract that wewethat the contract for the carbon each year was, I think a couple million, or a million at least. I dont the number
CP: Are wewe, the state, still doing that?
GD: I would think they would have to as long as theres ethylene dibromide.
CP: Itd be infected.
GD: You know, they would have to be doing that.
CP: Furnishing the carbon filters for (inaudible).
GD: And we got into some areas that there actually was municipal supplies or community supplies, system close enough. That we could extend it to pick that up.
And I got into a number of deals with cities to
CP: Stand the line up.
GD: Put in some big line extensions. I got one up Highway 27, and I think the project cost about three hundred thousand dollars, but we got a water line upup US 27 up there, almost to baseball city. And that there was other developments planning to come on, in fact, before we got through with the project, theright at the end of the line, that propertypiece of property right at the end of it was expanding and theywe ran an extension off to provide central water to them. So that avoided the same situation over again. In fact, that whole area then could go to public water supply. And that was one reason that I got into that program that I knew a lot of the water utilities that the personnel that we could get things done through them. And I would handle it on abasically a one-to-one basis.
GD: A lot of this stuff. We had a big contaminated area in the City of Tampa from trichloroethylene Trichloroethylene was used as a degreaser, an extraction solvent for greases, oils, fats, waxes, and tars, a chemical intermediate in the production of other chemicals, and as a refrigerant and is considered to be a human carcinogen. that had been there lord only knows how long. So, I started checking all of those wells and they found it or somebody complained, oranyway, they checked one and then they started lookin. We ended up with about twenty wells out of about thirty or forty homes were contaminated. So, I called the utilities director in Tampa and I said, Look, wewere gonna be catchin the flack and you probably be catchin it pretty shortly too. I said, You got trichloroethylene in all of these wells out off of, I dont know, east side of town there. How about giving me an estimate of how quickly and how much it will cost to put water lines in to that two or three block area there and tie it off your system? Once he hadhe had water lines along the highwayof the highway there. And so, he called me back and in a few hours and said, Oh, they cost about thirty five thousand. I said, Okay. Lets go. I wrote him a contract, and gave him the money, and thatwe figured our carbon cost at about, I think wed figured long timelifetime on it are about three thousand dollars or something like that. So, we always just estimated that against ourourwhatever the cost would be, well, its gonna cost us three thousand dollars. So, thats sixty thousand dollars for twenty houses, so lets go. We wouldwe could doit was a veryvery convenient way that theto get things done rapidly and that was
CP: Thats great.
GD: The first project we had on that program, and it was the quickest one. And we never got one done quicker than that
CP: Yeah, I remember
GD: But the City of Tampa wanted to get that corrected up too. So, theythey worked hard.
CP: Of course. There was a lot of public outcry about that.
GD: Yep. And
CP: About the ethylene bromide [sic].
GD: Well, the ethylene dibromide, but when we got into some of these others, theyve also, you know, a lot of othertrichloroethylene, theres a lot of it around. Just like here in Tallahassee.
CP: Yeah, you can smell that here.
GD: Yeah, but theyou know, they had to put carbon filters on some of their wells here because of trichloroethylene elevation. And that the funding was different for the different compounds. Ethylene dibromide was done by the state. And so, that we had to fix. The others, it worked out some other ways howwhat could be done and what couldnt be done because of the way that the law was written. But an awful lot was accomplished. In Dade County, weout there in south Dade, where they had that trichloroethylene problem. Id probably put three hundred, four hundred thousand dollars in that. And it was an extension of the city system basically in that area. But I could only pick up the ones that were contaminated. I couldnt pick up all of the others.
CP: Yes. Of course.
CP: And the city wouldve liked that. They wouldve liked that.
GD: Well, they like getting their lines in so they could use em later.
CP: Yeah. (GD and CP laughs) Glenn, youve obviously had an exciting career, Glenn.
GD: I have, Ive enjoyed it.
CP: If you had it all over to dododo over again, would you still go into sanitary engineering back at the University of Florida?
GD: Oh, Id still go into it. They dont call it that anymore. They call it environmental. Id never moved up to environmental engineering. I was always a sanitary engineer.
CP: Oh, oh, oh, environmental engineering. Im sorry, sir. Im sorry, sir.
GD: They dont call it that name; I dont know when that switched over. They used to always think that sanitary engineers were garbage collectors anyways, so thats all right. Oh, well.
CP: (CP laughs) Yeah, youandit just pleases me that you look back on this as a pleasure. You laugh about all of those sad moments
GD: Wellwell, you know, you haveyou always have a little bit of bad with the good. So, you just have to take it all and ride with it; but I think, overall, I had aI had a good time. I met a lot of people and I enjoyed the people that I worked with at thethe people in the health agencies around the state. As well as the own staff that wewe brought in to the environmental agency. I could still, call up them right now, those that are still employed and getget something out of emthe
CP: Get help.
GD: Or some information on something. In that are if I wanted to.
CP: Thats good.
GD: You know, like Im still on a first name basis.
CP: Do you have any advice for young people coming up for a career in environmental engineering?
GD: Well, I think its a great career, thatits broadening out so much now that therethere are many more possibilities. And itsyou knowjust like all the environmentalists and environmental stuff, more contaminants being controlled, wastewater is getting volatile, you got to do this, that, and the other and do more things. Go to advanced waste treatment. All of theacross the whole spectrum, theres more and more technology going into it. And its very important.
CP: And its almost many areas in a specialized area, where you were a generalist. You knew everything about everything in the early days.
GD: Well, that was because we worked with the State Health Department. Because we had it all right in one agency and we worked together andand we crossedtalked across the room thatyou know. This has come up, Hey, what about this over here? Well, we were together, we would control the connection or distribution, and we made sure the collection system was getting built at the same time the extensions were getting built.
CP: Yes, yes, yes.
GD: Or we had some control on both sides of it. Now, I doubt that goes on.
CP: Thats the reason that after the new asphalt road is put down, somebody comes back and digs it up to put pipes in. Is that the reason? (CP and GD laughs) Well, Mr. Dykes, on behalf of the College of Public Health and the University of South Florida, particularly the library division, and myself I say thank you sincerely for coming by and sharing with us. And we want to wish you well, and I want to encourage you to continue to think and continue to write those letters to the editor.
GD: Well, I hope so.
CP: Yeah, thats
GD: Itsits great. IIve enjoyed all of the years, and being with you those number of years in the state agency, and since, Ive really enjoyed you and all the others and the health field. Its been great.
CP: Well, I remember even after you left health, you pulled the hot potatoes out of the fire for me many times. I particularly remember one in Chattahoochee, but well not have time to review that now. Yeah, and I am Skeeter Prather.