[KHTS] – It looks like the chloride fight will go another round.
The board of the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District voted unanimously at their meeting this week to challenge the state’s recent ruling on chloride compliance.
“(The appeal) is another attempt to protect our ratepayers from having to pay for a chloride compliance facility,” said Basil Hewitt, senior engineer in the public information office for the Sanitation District.
Water softeners that you put salt into are illegal because they put too much chloride into the water table.
Staff can’t comment any further on the appeal because it’s a pending legal matter, Hewitt said.
Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District officials claim that because the chloride level is state mandated, the cost of water treatment to comply with that mandate should be funded by the state.
The state body that makes such determinations denied a claim by Sanitation District officials Jan. 24.
The state would have had to develop a funding mechanism to pay for the cost of chloride treatment if an appeal by Sanitation District officials to the Commission on State Mandates was successful.
“Essentially, the (state’s) constitution requires the state to reimburse local governments for any state-mandated new program or higher level of service,” said Heather Halsey, executive director for the Commission on State Mandates.
As the situation stands now, the cost of chloride compliance, which is expected to be at least $130 million, will be paid by ratepayers.
Back in October, under the threat of millions of dollars in fines, Sanitation District officials approved a plan to comply with a chloride limit for the amount of the salt that could be in the water that local plants send downstream to Ventura County users.
The Commission on States Mandates, a quasi-judicial state body, is responsible for reviewing “test claims” to determine if the Legislature or a state agency has created a state mandate that requires reimbursement.
The Sanitation 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 sewage from homes and businesses in the community, according to a Sanitation District news release.