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Chloride plan means $140 more per household

Cost of option chosen to reduce salt content in Santa Clara River will increase sewer rate increment

Posted: November 7, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 7, 2013 2:00 a.m.

The chloride-reducing plan chosen by local sanitation district officials in the 11th hour last week is moderately more expensive than Phase 1 of the initial plan chosen but vastly cheaper than its second phase, according to a review of the district’s projected costs.

What it means for Santa Clarita Valley ratepayers living in single-family homes is an incremental increase in their annual sewer rate from $247 currently to $410 by fiscal year 2019/20.

Of that price hike, the chloride extraction cost increase would be $140 a year, compared to a $125 per-year hike under the initial plan’s Phase 1.

Under the chosen plan, chloride would be extracted from Santa Clara River water through reverse osmosis and then buried deep under ground as salty brine.

Had the district favored its initial option choice and then failed with Phase 1 provisions, Phase 2 could have kicked the fees up to $395 per year by 2019/20 for a single-family home.

The cost difference between the two plans is an extra $15 over three or four years depending on what rate schedule is approved by the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District Board.

Grace Robinson Chan, chief engineer and general manager for the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles, described the district’s final chosen plan as the most cost-effective way of dealing with the amount of chloride discharged with each of its two local water reclamation plants.

State water quality laws require the local sanitation district, which releases treated wastewater into the Santa Clara River, to reduce naturally occurring chloride to meet the level set by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, a group appointed by the governor to monitor and enforce water quality standards.

That limit stands at 100 milligrams per liter of river water to meet the needs of downstream farmers, according to the water quality board. The actual levels are running around 130 mg/L.
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