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Castaic Area Town Council offers its own options for chloride issue

Posted: July 24, 2013 6:20 p.m.
Updated: July 24, 2013 6:20 p.m.

The Castaic Area Town Council has called on Santa Clarita Valley sanitation officials to fight back against state regulators choosing to enforce rigid low-chloride standards for water discharged into the Santa Clara River.

Wednesday marked the last day of a 30-day extension for the public to submit comments and recommendations to Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District officials trying to come up with the appropriate way of reducing chloride content in the river.

On Wednesday, council members sent the officials a two-page list of options on ways to proceed on the issue of maintaining water quality and appeasing state water regulators.

“Realistically, I want somebody to find the courage to try something different and to step out from this shadow of fear — the fear of fines,” Council President Flo Lawrence told The Signal Wednesday.

The council submitted its recommendations to the three members of the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District board, which includes Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar, Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Laurene Weste and Los Angles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.

The same letter was sent to alternate board members and to the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County.

Town Council members unanimously recommend sanitation officials “pursue administrative options” to avoid fines issued by state water regulators — the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board.

They also want those regulators, who are responsible for making sure natural lakes and rivers are not contaminated, to modify deadlines and cancel fines while “new information and alternative solutions to the chloride problem are submitted and considered.”

On Nov. 26, the regional water quality board fined the local sanitation district $225,000 for failing to meet the obligations of its permit to discharge chloride into the Santa Clara River.

It’s a fine for which sanitation district customers — everyone in the valley hooked up to the sewer system — will be responsible.

In April, in an effort to comply with its permit, the district unveiled its latest plan for controlling chloride — namely, four options for which it sought public input. Ultimately, it wanted public support for one.

District officials held six public meetings to gather input from the public. Last month, they granted a 30-day extension for comments to be filed.

In their letter to sanitation officials Wednesday, council members recommended an option of their own. Their recommendation reads: File a lawsuit.

Council members point out in their letter: “There are many such lawsuits in the California courts today involving the nine California regional water boards. This 100 (milligrams of chloride per liter of water) limit is too low, and unfair.

“Seek relief in the courts.”
on Twitter@jamesarthurholt




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