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Sanitation District to tackle chloride issues Monday night

Posted: April 19, 2014 5:57 p.m.
Updated: April 19, 2014 5:57 p.m.

Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District officials will tackle the topic of chloride removal from local wastewater Monday night during a meeting at Santa Clarita City Hall.

Nearly six months ago the district board — made up of two Santa Clarita City Council members and a Los Angeles County supervisor — chose one option for removing salty chloride from local wastewater to satisfy the demands of downstream Ventura County farmers.

That option, approved Oct. 28, was to use a combination of reverse-osmosis and ultraviolet disinfection to remove brine from the water headed downstream to farmers, and to bury that brine through a deep-well injection process.

On Monday district directors will consider challenges to having the expensive infrastructure up and running to accomplish that brine removal.

First, the May 2015 deadline laid down by the state agency that regulates water quality cannot be met, wrote Grace Robinson Hyde, chief engineer and general manager for the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, in a letter to Santa Clarita Valley district directors.

But adjusting the deadline to a targeted 2019 date will require a series of approvals from state and federal agencies, she wrote in her letter. If the district doesn’t win an extension, it will face steep state fines, she said.

Second, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board — the agency charged with enforcing the maximum limit of 100 milligrams of chloride per liter of river water at the Los Angeles-Ventura county line — won’t take action to support the 2019 deadline until the district adopts higher service charge rates that would fund the chloride-removing infrastructure, Hyde wrote. The water quality control board is the chloride limit enforcer.

“Therefore, the district’s rate-setting process must be complete by July 2014 to remain on schedule,” Hyde’s letter reads. “If the district does not complete the process by this date, the district will once again be subject to the state fines.”

Rates released a year ago when a choice of plans was put before residents ranged from $125 to $265 a year per single-family home, to be paid on property taxes. Business rate could be double that or more.

Residents who have weighed in on the issue have mostly opposed what some call the “salt tax.”

In January the district sought to have the $130 million price tag for the chloride removal infrastructure classified as an unfunded mandate, but the Commission on State Mandates refused.

“District staff is dedicated to achieving compliance with the chloride limit at the lowest cost possible,” Hyde’s letter to district directors says.

One action on Monday’s agenda is adopting the 2014 Upper Santa Clara River Integrated Regional Water Management Plan, which would make the district eligible for a Department of Water Resources grant of $2.5 million for ultraviolet disinfection at the Saugus water reclamation plant, part of the approved plan for reducing chloride in locally discharged wastewater.

The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at Santa Clarita City Hall Council Chambers, 23920 Valencia Blvd.




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