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Salt levels still high in Santa Clara River

Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District says chloride concentration is above the legal limit

Posted: May 27, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: May 27, 2013 2:00 a.m.

The amount of chloride ending up in the Santa Clara River is more than the legal limit set by state regulators, according to the latest figures released by the local sanitation district.

Since January, chloride concentration in river water sampled at the Ventura County line has been consistently more than the 100 milligrams of chloride allowed for every liter of natural river water by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board of Los Angeles.

In the first two months of this year, concentration of the salty compound measured at the county line read 114 mg/L for each month. In March, readings showed an increase to 120 mg/L., according to figures released upon request by Francisco Guerrero of the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts.

This past month, Guerrero and other sanitation officials have been holding public information meetings throughout the Santa Clarita Valley in an effort to gauge which plan they should pursue in reducing the amount of chloride discharged into the Santa Clara River.

The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District has proposed four plans for reducing the amount of chloride it discharges at each of its two water reclamation plants - one in Saugus, the other in Valencia.

Under state and federal law, “beneficial users” of the Santa Clara River - namely farmers using the water for salt-sensitive crops such as strawberries and avocados - are protected to receive uncontaminated water, including water not contaminated with salty chloride.

Nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards throughout the state enforce those laws. It was the Los Angeles board that fined the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District $225,000 in November for having failed to meet the obligations of its permit to discharge chloride into the Santa Clara River.

Under terms of the permit, the local sanitation district is ordered to reduce chloride levels to 100 milligrams per liter of water.

The latest figures show its Valencia Water Reclamation Plant discharged water into the river’s watershed containing a chloride concentration of 120 mg/L in January and 124 mg/L in February.

Chloride numbers for the Saugus plant were comparable at 126 mg/L discharged in January and 123 mg/L discharged in February.

Sanitation officials hold their next public hearing on the issue on June 4, at Newhall Elementary School in Newhall, beginning at 7 p.m.


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