What the heck is it?
Rydlime, like all chemicals in its category, uses powerful acids and other agents to dissolve ‘rocks’. When calcium or other hard water mineral deposits build up in cooling towers or system radiators they either have to be dismantled and ‘rodded out’, an expensive process, or they need to be ‘descaled’ chemically. Chemical descaling is usually cheaper and if done right can be very effective.
The use of purified water in these systems vastly reduces the buildup, but descaling or rodding still needs to be performed if the cooling system is to continue doing its job. Just like the engine in your car overheats and eventually stops if the radiator fails and the motor gets too hot, so a large engine in a power plant stops or even destroys itself if allowed to overheat. A utility with lots of cooling systems to treat and a high mineral content in its water source could use vast quantities of a descaling agent.
Rydlime, the chemical at the bottom of the current CUC/Lt. Governor flap, is a legitimate product with a good reputation for doing what it is designed to do. Many utilities and other companies around the world use it and other similar products to good effect.
Why would you buy so much?
Chemicals, like other commodities, are subject to price rises over time so companies, including utilities, often buy large quantities of a chemical and stockpile it to hedge against the coming price increases. As an example, if CUC bought 8000+ gallons of Rydlime as reported in the newspaper and used all but 1400 gallon over 10 years they saved a lot. The savings would amount to several times the original cost.
Or pay so much?
Sole sourcing to ones sister may not be the legal, but chemical pricing at 400% is not uncommon. Want to guess how much that three dollar bottle of Joy dishwashing liquid you bought last week actually cost to make? About 15 cents. Do your own math. That detergent bottle and most of the other bottles sitting under your sink and in your laundry have mark ups far greater. In fact, the plastic bottles and labels cost more than the chemical inside by far. You pay a much higher markup than 400% every time you go to the store.
Rumor or truth?
There is speculation that some of the product was actually disposed of rather than used. If true that is a terrible thing. I have even heard a rumor that CUC personnel were actually ordered to dispose of the product. But a rumor is just that. It is a story without proof. Stories like that are usually from a hidden source and often with a hidden agenda. It is easy for someone with a grudge against someone to make up a story. It is much harder to make that phony story hold up under the scrutiny of an open court trial. Let’s wait and see what actually comes out in court. If that unfounded rumor is true, heads should roll at CUC and above. If false, the rumormongers should be tracked down and their heads should roll instead.
Guilty or not?
My friend Harry Blalock reminds us on his radio show that ‘just because you are decreed not guilty in court does not mean you didn’t do it” because a good attorney can find a way to get you off. I would remind Harry, and you too, that just because a sharp prosecuting attorney accuses you of something does not mean that you did do it. Remember it is the job of the prosecuting attorney to ‘get you’ whether you did it or not and it is the job of the defense attorney to ‘get you off’ whether you did it or not. Again, let’s wait and see the real evidence as offered under oath in court.
So there is nothing wrong with buying Rydlime if you need it and there is nothing wrong with buying lots of it and stockpiling it for future use. In fact it is the smart way to do it. There is also nothing unusual about large markups over cost of chemicals or most other products. There is definitely something wrong with declaring an emergency purchase and then buying enough of a commodity to last a decade. There is definitely something wrong with sole sourcing a contract to close family members and depriving the agency of a chance to source the same or similar product at a lower cost benefit ratio. But are these accusations true? One last time I will call for us to wait and let the court system do its job before a man and his reputation are sullied by gossip and allegation. There is plenty of time to vilify him if proven guilty in court…or to apologize if the accusations prove untrue.
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Temples – not Shirley
Ruth Tighe , in talking about the new Buddhist Temple to be built along the roadway in previously unspoiled Marpi says we need to ‘hoard our public lands’ as one our most important natural resources. I agree. Don’t build on it she says. Keep it forever she says. She then goes on to say in the same article that we should give away the northernmost three islands in our terribly scarce land resource by ceding them to the US Federal government for all time. I point out this inconsistency not to be mean, but just to say that supporters and advocates of one project or another sometimes can’t see the Forest for the trees (or the Temple in the trees). Sometimes the horrible details outweigh the puppies and babies feel-good rhetoric about saving the planet. Sometimes not.
The Temple might just improve the looks of the tagan tagan bramble thickets up there…and maybe not. Lets see the plan. Then we can approve it or not based on real evidence. Sort of like we should first see the plan for the PEW proposed Northern Islands Monument. Why on earth would we want to approve it first, (or allow the federal government to force approval of it on us) and only then bother to look at the actual plan. Does that sound like putting the cart before the horse? Yes it does. Worse, it sounds like having the cart, horse and all shoved down your throat, then a guy comes along and says, hey, your throat sure looks sore, if you are a good little boy I’ll give you some salt water to gargle. Then it will be all better. Maybe it will be better and maybe it will be a lot worse. Shirley (sorry - groan) we can do better than that. Let’s negotiate the details first, then decide whether to declare a monument and give land and ocean to the US national parks system for all time. It may be a wonderful plan, it may suck.
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Quotes of the week: Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right. -Laurens van der Post, explorer and writer (1906-1996)
The sky is not less blue because the blind man does not see it – Danish Proverb.