Sanitation District officials will host an information meeting tonight in Castaic to discuss chloride levels with residents.
The purpose is to get the information out there to help ratepayers decide on what action, if any, they’d like to take to address the state’s demand on the chloride limit, said Basil Hewitt, senior engineer for the Sanitation District.
The meeting will be held at Live Oak Elementary in Castaic at 7 p.m.
“No project has been selected, when we get all the comments our staff is going to analyze all that and then formalize it into a final document,” Hewitt said. “We need to have a final plan for Oct. 31.”
Each watershed in Southern California has its own district, which is overseen by the state’s Regional Water Quality Control Board.
The state board may set limits for water levels that watersheds put back into the water supply after local usage, which pertains to downstream users, due to the Clean Water Act, which was passed in the 1970s.
The chloride levels in the water discharged back into the Santa Clara River is currently about 124-127 milligrams per liter, Hewitt said.
Under a deal struck by Sanitation Officials and the state’s regulatory agency, a level of 117 milligrams per liter is being permitted — providing that the Sanitation District actively works toward lowering that level to the original state mandate, which is 100 milligrams per liter.
Therein lies the purpose of the next few meetings hosted by district officials.
“If we can’t develop that plan by May 4, 2015, we need to be at 100 — and that’s why the approved plan is very important for Oct. 31,” Hewitt said.
Failing to meet another deadline translates to very costly fines that will be passed on to Santa Clarita Valley ratepayers.
The district negotiated its most recent timelines in response to a $220,000 fine that was levied by the state’s RWQCB.
Past plans that would have lowered the chloride output to the 100-milligram level would have required a quarter-billion-dollar desalination-plant system that was rejected by ratepayers several years ago as too costly, Hewitt said.
“There’ll be a 25-minute presentation on the chloride problem, and then we’ll go through the recommendations, and then we’ll answer your questions,” Hewitt said.
Written comments are encouraged, but the next three hearings, including tonight’s will be more for disseminating information.
There will be three public hearings in June, featuring a stenographer to record all public comments, when oral comments will be sought, he said.
Those meetings will be held June 4 in Newhall; June 5 in Stevenson Ranch Elementary; and June 15 at Sulphur Spring Elementary.