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UPDATE: District chooses chloride-removal option

Posted: October 10, 2013 9:10 a.m.
Updated: October 10, 2013 7:19 p.m.

The chloride-removal option that could cost Santa Clarita Valley ratepayers the least amount of money — or the most — was named Thursday by the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District as the plan to go with to comply with state mandates.

Option 4, a two-part phased proposal to reduce chloride released into the Santa Clara River in wastewater, was initially favored by the district when it presented four options for public review and comment in April.

If Phase 1 of the “Phased Alternative Water Resources Management Plan” sufficiently reduces the level of chloride in treated wastewater released into the river, the more costly Phase 2 can be avoided, according to information released previously by the Sanitation District.

Option 4 Phase 1 comes with a price tag per single-family home estimated at $125 a year. Phase 2 would cost an estimated $265 a year.

State water quality officials have demanded the district reduce the amount of chloride discharged into the river, which flows to the Pacific Ocean through the Santa Clara River Valley and is used to irrigate crops downstream.

Chloride is a naturally occurring component of common table salt. Some downstream farmers say its concentrations in the river are damaging to their crops, although the level is far below posing any danger to humans.

Ultimately, everyone in the Santa Clarita Valley who is hooked up to the sewer system would bear the cost of any chloride-removal plan adopted by the Sanitation District.

Refusing to adopt a plan would result in fines on district residences and business owners, sanitation officials say. The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board imposed its first fines on district residents in November for failing to comply with mandated chloride levels.

Thursday’s recommendation came with a runner-up selection: The plan that would call for reverse osmosis treatment to reduce chloride and then deep-well injection to dispose of the brine. The cost of that plan, outlined as Option 2 in the documents released in April, is estimated at $140 per single-family home.

The dollar amounts are based on projected fiscal year 2019-2020 rates, when the baseline sewer rate is expected to be $270 per single-family home. The charge during the current fiscal year is $247 per single-family home.

Costs to business owners could be considerably higher, depending on their water use. Option 4 Phase 2 could nearly double a stand-alone restaurant’s or shopping center’s sewage rates.

Option 4 Phase 2 for chloride reductionwould be a very similar plan to that rejected by Santa Clarita Valley ratepayers in 2010.

The Regional Water Quality Control Board must approve the district’s proposed chloride-reduction plan.

The final plan and its environmental impact report will be presented to Santa Clarita Valley residents at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 21. The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District’s board will consider approving it at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 28.

Both meetings will be at Santa Clarita City Hall, 23920 Valencia Blvd.

The Sanitation District’s Final Chloride Compliance Facilities Report and Environmental Impact Report is available at City Hall, city and county libraries in the Santa Clarita Valley, and online at





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