The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District has reached a settlement with the state of California over the city’s alleged failure to meet a deadline to comply with the valley’s wastewater chloride levels as set by the Regional Water Quality Control Board.
The settlement reduces the original proposed fine from $280,000 down to $225,000.
City of Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar says that while he’s happy the city was able to reduce the fine by 20 percent, he is not pleased with the lack of progress the SCV has made in reducing its wastewater chloride problem.
“What’s more concerning to me (than the fine) is our ability to satisfy the Regional Water Quality Control Board as we go into the future,” said Kellar. The mayor added that while many citizens took the issue to heart, some are still using their old, illegal salt-based water softening systems. “I know we don’t have 100% compliance among our citizens. If we did we might have reached the (state mandated) 100 milligrams per liter” by now.
For ten years, the District has unsuccessfully challenged the state’s wastewater salt limits, including the science used to determine those limits and the timeline imposed by the state.
Kellar said that while greater citizen compliance will help, the only way to meet the mandated chloride level may require an expensive fix. “The only thing that remains for us is to build some form of a system that will remove the chloride from the water. There are two or three different options to do that, and they range from somewhere in the $250 million range down to maybe a million dollar range.” The City’s staff is conducting technical studies and the necessary planning to develop a solution that will put our valley into compliance.
“This issue is not done by any means,” Kellar added. “But we’ve been doing our absolute best to work with the Sanitation District (and) the state to satisfy all concerned.”
Statement of the Sanitation District Board of Directors:
The Board of Directors of the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District announced today that a settlement has been reached with the State of California that reduces a proposed State fine on the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District by 20% to $225,000. The fine resulted from the state’s implementation of the requirements of the 1972 Federal Clean Water Act. A little less than half of the final amount, $97,500, will be dedicated to a local environmentally-beneficial project, a low impact development retrofit of a parking lot at a City facility. The State fine, which will ultimately be paid by property owners, was issued for failing to meet the State’s deadline to submit a Facilities Plan and Environmental Impact Report for a project to comply with the State’s legal mandates for levels of chloride (salt) that are allowed in the Valley’s wastewater. The originally proposed fine amount was approximately $280,000.
The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District is currently evaluating the least expensive and most environmentally-sensitive solution to comply with the State’s strict chloride (salt) limits in the Santa Clarita Valley. The staff of the District is conducting the technical studies and planning necessary to develop a proposed project and necessary Draft Environmental Impact Report for public review and comment. The Board of Directors is committed to a local planning process that encourages input from all the communities of the City of Santa Clarita and unincorporated areas of the Santa Clarita Valley. The proposed chloride (salt) compliance project plan will be available for public review at the end of April. The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District will hold community information meetings and public hearings this summer before any final decision is made.
The District serves the wastewater management needs of the Santa Clarita Valley. The agency protects public health and the environment by constructing, operating, and maintaining a regional system that collects, treats, recycles and disposes of sewage from homes and businesses in the Santa Clarita area.