[KHTS] – Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District officials won the unanimous approval Thursday of the L.A.-area Regional Water Quality Control Board for some important changes to the state-mandated chloride compliance requirements.
If approved by the State Water Resources Control Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by May of 2015, the changes will reduce costs to Valley property owners and will prevent steep and recurring state fines, state penalties and potential federal fines.
The SCV Sanitation District worked for the past year to secure the changes as part of their commitment to build the least expensive and most environmentally sound project to meet the State mandated chloride limit for the Santa Clarita Valley’s two wastewater (sewage) treatment plants.
The SCV Sanitation District won state regulatory approval of the changes that will reduce costs and stave off state fines:
* A four-year extension of the State’s construction deadline to July 2019;
* Averaging chloride concentrations over a 3-month period instead of daily maximum;
* Flow weighted averaging of chloride concentrations between the Valley’s two wastewater treatment plants.
“We are extremely pleased that we received the approval of the Regional Board of these important cost saving changes,” said SCV Sanitation District General Manager Grace Hyde. “If we can now secure the needed approvals at the State and Federal levels, we will be able to save our ratepayers up to $11 million,” she continued, “because we wouldn’t have to build an expensive pipeline between the Valley’s two wastewater treatment plants.”
The approved extension of the State’s construction timeline would prevent State penalties and fines that Valley property owners would have to pay, because the four year extension gives the SCV Sanitation District the time needed to design and construct the advanced treatment facilities necessary to remove chloride from the Valley’s treated wastewater.
A consortium of Santa Clarita Valley leaders spoke in support of the extension of the State deadline and the technical changes. Many expressed their strong commitment to continued collaborative efforts with the SCV Sanitation District, water agencies and others to make best use of the Valley’s recycled water to help develop long term, local water sustainability and reduce reliance on expensive, imported water.
Speaking in support of the proposed changes before the Regional Board were representatives from the Office of State Senator Fran Pavley and Office of State Assemblymember Scott Wilk as well as city of Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste; Santa Clarita Councilmember Bob Kellar; Dan Masnada, Chief Operating Officer of Castaic Lake Water Agency; Holly Schroeder, President and CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation; Jeannie Duarte, President of SCVOneWater; Marta Golding Brown, Government Affairs Director of the Building Industry Association LA Ventura Chapter; Chris Fall for Carl Kanowsky of the Valley Industrial Association; and Terri Crain, President and CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Ms. Hyde stated, “The SCV Sanitation District will continue to work hard to get the State and Federal approvals of the changes we need to lower the costs further and to extend the State’s compliance deadline.”
“This will protect our citizens from added costs and expensive State fines,” said District Board Member Laurene Weste. “In addition, this project will give us a source of very high quality recycled water that we can use to create local water sustainability in the Santa Clarita Valley and help reduce our dependence on expensive imported state water,” she continued. “We will keep working with the State and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to get changes in the project that are environmentally sound and will reduce costs even further, and any savings will be passed to our ratepayers.”
Over the last four years, the District held 45 public information meetings throughout the Santa Clarita Valley to provide an opportunity to discuss the proposed chloride compliance project with District staff; gave three tours of the Valencia Water Reclamation Plant; held nearly 30 meetings with business and industry organizations, Town Councils and Advisory Committees; and held eight public hearings to receive official public comment.
Added District Board Member Bob Kellar, “This clearly demonstrates what we can accomplish when we work together. We are focused on moving forward and on collaborating with all our water agencies and business leaders to keep costs as low as possible and to keep this valuable water asset here in the Valley to benefit our region.”
The District’s next steps are to seek State and Federal approvals of the 4year extension of the State’s May 2015 construction deadline to prevent the SC Valley from being subject to State fines next year, and technical changes to the chloride compliance project needed to reduce project costs.
The extension and changes must be approved before May 2015 by the State Water Resources Control Board, the State Office of Administrative Law and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The SCV Sanitation District is responsible for the treatment and management of all the sewage discharged to the sewer system in the Santa Clarita Valley.