Holler defends EDS study
In April 2016, Town Manager Dan Holler contracted with Environmental Diversion Solutions to prepare a feasibility study for a new waste management system in Mammoth Lakes. On November 16, Town Council agreed to pay the firm $26,000 for that study, which included faulty data regarding the town’s sewage sludge production, and no formal description of the study’s methodology. This week, Town Manager Dan Holler said he wasn’t ready to dismiss the firm’s figure for organic food waste on the basis of those inaccuracies, or the fact that no scientists were consulted for the study.
“I would disagree that they had failed at this point,” Holler told The Sheet.
Last week, The Sheet reported that EDS had mistakenly cited Mammoth Community Water District General Manager Pat Hayes for figures he said he never provided the firm.
According to Holler, it would have been impractical, if not impossible, for town staff to conduct a comparable assessment of available technologies in lieu of hiring EDS. “You’re looking at 200 to 300 hours worth of work,” said Holler. Holler said that, at the time EDS was hired, town staff did not have access to good data regarding the town’s food waste production. He said he contracted with EDS in the hopes the firm would be able to explain available technologies as industry insiders and collect good data that would ultimately empower town staff to vet alternative waste processing systems independently.
Holler said he also considered hiring the Stanton, Calif.-based engineering firm CR&R Waste and Environmental Services, but determined preliminarily that Mammoth Lakes did not
produce enough waste to make their services make sense. Project Manager and Civil Engineer Mike Sylva readily explained anaerobic digestion and sublimation to this reporter free of charge, over the phone. He also noted, as Holler did, that his firm utilizes technology that is designed to process a much higher volume of waste than what Mammoth produces. Sylva said he wasn’t aware of any other vendors currently converting waste to gas. Sylva was not familiar with the manufacturers EDS cited in its study, GET Inc., EcoVim, or Frichs. He did say that biogas production and capture is a standard component of most large scale wastewater plants in Southern California.