SOURCE: Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County

October 30, 2013 15:33 ET

Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District Board of Directors Take Action to Comply With State Chloride (Salt) Limits and Prevent State Fines

SANTA CLARITA, CA--(Marketwired - Oct 30, 2013) - The Board of Directors of the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District voted unanimously Monday night to approve a project that complies with the State-mandated chloride limit for the recycled water produced by the Santa Clarita Valley's two wastewater (sewage) treatment plants. The Board approved Alternative Two, which will meet the State's chloride limit of 100 mg/Liter through a combination of reverse osmosis, microfiltration, ultraviolet disinfection and brine disposal via deep well injection. The Sanitation District's Board action on October 28th, 2013 prevents State fines that Valley property owners would have to pay by meeting the State deadline of October 31st for adoption of a Facilities Plan and certification of an Environmental Impact Report for a project that complies with the State's chloride limit.

"The SCV Sanitation District worked hard to find the lowest cost solution to meeting the State-mandated chloride limit and to protect Valley property owners from state fines," indicated District General Manager Grace Robinson Chan. "We look forward to moving ahead to implement this project to comply with the State's legal mandate for chloride in the Santa Clarita Valley and to working with the State to get the changes we need to the State's compliance timeline."

"The extensive community involvement over the last two years on the chloride compliance issue played a critical role in reaching this fiscally responsible decision. This will give us the least costly and most environmentally sound way to meet the State's requirements, while also protecting residents and businesses of the Santa Clarita Valley," said District Board Member Laurene Weste.

Added District Board Member Bob Kellar: "While I do not agree with the State-mandated chloride requirements, we understand that it is in the best interest of the residents and businesses of the Santa Clarita Valley to comply with the State's requirements. In the long run, this is a financial business decision, and by making it, we have demonstrated to the State that we are serious about moving forward and meeting State deadlines. This action will maintain local control and insure water reliability for our community into the future."

Board Chairman, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich also supported the project and encouraged the Sanitation District to move forward with a compliance project to avoid additional fines. "The District should also explore cost recovery from the State for chloride removal from imported water and legislative relief from this burdensome State mandate," he said. 

The Alternative 2 Project option finally chosen was one of the two top-ranked projects based on cost and social and environmental factors. The alternative enjoyed broad-based support and will provide high-quality, advanced-treated recycled water for local use.

For over ten years, the SCV Sanitation District repeatedly challenged the State's chloride (salt) limit, but was not successful in getting the State limit changed. The State issued a $225,000 fine in March 2013 for failing to meet the State's deadline for submittal of plans and environmental documents for a project to comply with the State's chloride limits. State regulators have stated that they were prepared to enforce subsequent deadlines.

To avoid steep state fines or a loss of local control, the SCV Sanitation District conducted an extensive local planning process to encourage community input to determine the most affordable way to upgrade the Valley's sewage treatment facilities to meet the State's strict salt limits. The District held four information meetings to provide an opportunity to discuss the process with SCVSD staff, gave many presentations to local organizations to discuss the alternatives and gather input, and held two public hearings to receive official public comment. These and other public outreach efforts led to the submission of nearly 500 comments on the proposed plans from individuals, community organizations, and government agencies.

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 community.