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Officials share plans to reduce chloride

Posted: May 15, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: May 15, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Local sanitation officials held their first of six public hearings in Castaic Tuesday night in an effort to gauge which plan they should pursue in reducing the amount of chloride discharged into the Santa Clara River.

More than 120 chairs were set up for public attendees at Live Oak Elementary School but only 17 people sat in them, at least five of those attendees were representatives of “stakeholder” agencies including the city and the county.

Two of the dozen residential attendees had questions about the chloride issue, which threatens to cost the Santa Clarita Valley ratepayers millions of dollars in fines handed down by state regulators.

“We need your input to get us to a recommended project,” said Basil Hewitt, sanitation district senior engineer and public information officer.

Through meetings such as the one held Tuesday night, sanitation officials are hoping the public will help them choose one of the four chloride-removal options they’ve devised.

Using overhead images projected for the audience, Hewitt explained the plan to avoid state fines by implementing one of four proposed options.

Santa Clarita resident Alan Cameron took charge of the podium set up for public comment.

“You have repeatedly made the comment that we have a 100 milligram limit and that this was a strict state standard,” he said, referring to the amount of chloride state regulators allow local sanitation district to discharge.“But, what we’re looking to do, however, is to have the standard changed.”

Sanitation district senior engineer Francisco Guerrerro said the district has repeatedly fought with state officials to have the chloride limit changed so that ratepayers would not have to fund expensive salt-removing infrastructure.

“We’ve already gone through that (standard-changing) process,” he said.

Cameron responded saying: “This standard is subject to change. There are clearly pathways to modifying that chloride level.”
Guerrerro said: “We’ve explored these paths and there are no new paths.”

Guerrerro revealed that between 500 and 1,000 delinquent residents in Santa Clarita Valley are still contributing a combined 5 milligrams of chloride dumped into the river because they were still using illegal salt-generating water softeners in their home.


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