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No case of whiplash in chloride plan selection

Posted: November 18, 2013 1:42 p.m.
Updated: November 18, 2013 1:42 p.m.
 

This is written to respond to The Signal’s Nov. 11, 2013, “Our View” editorial entitled “Whiplash from chloride decision,” which alleged a lack of transparency behind the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District’s decision-making process.

The Sanitation District staff tried to be very clear in its communications throughout its public outreach process that it was seeking the least costly, environmentally sound solution to the state’s chloride order.

Alternative 4, the Phased Alternative Water Resources Management plan, was the effort to develop that least costly solution and was the highest-ranked option in staff’s recommended project.

Because the Los Angeles Regional Water Control Board required that Alternative 4 receive the support of downstream Ventura County stakeholders to be approvable, Sanitation District staff also included a backup option that already complied with the chloride order, Alternative 2, Reverse Osmosis with Deep Well Injection, as part of the recommended project in its Facilities Plan.

The time window for regulatory approvals of Alternative 4 was extremely tight, and when the Ventura County stakeholders withdrew their support in the final days of the process, Alternative 2 was the only viable option left in the recommended project as submitted to the Board of Directors and as presented to the public.

The Sanitation District didn’t suddenly change its mind or change course; and, in fact, was continuing to work for Alternative 4 with Ventura County stakeholders up until the time that those stakeholders concluded there were too many unresolved technical problems with the option.

Although Alternative 2 is slightly more expensive than the first phase of Alternative 4, it provides the potential for greater local benefits for Santa Clarita, namely the reuse of the purified water, and avoids the controversial practice of using local groundwater to reduce chloride levels at the county line.

 

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