How will sewer ratepayers be affected by chloride treatment in the Santa Clarita Valley? Come to City Hall Monday night at 6:30 p.m. to find out.
Santa Clarita city officials are welcoming public input at City Hall for the final time Monday at 6:30 p.m. ahead of a Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District move on a chloride-treatment plan that could be costly for ratepayers.
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Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar said he wanted to hear what residents have to say on what he called the “most complicated decision” situation he’s been a part of in more than a dozen years on the City Council.
“This is a very controversial decision,” Kellar said. “It’s a very expensive decision for our community members, and I just want to make sure I make the right decision for our community on this.”
The decision facing the Sanitation District’s governing board, which includes the two City Council members, is just how much ratepayers will have to spend in order to treat the chloride in our water, based on a state-mandated chloride level.
The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District services approximately 248,000 people who discharge water in the Santa Clara Riverbed.
Officials with the state’s Regional Water Quality Control Board have said water sent downstream can have a chloride level of no more than 100 milligrams per liter.
The water currently has a level of about 130, and the four treatment options that have been endorsed are expensive.
Part of the problem that has been expressed by those close to the situation is that there is still a great deal of misinformation being put out about the situation, Kellar said.
There’s also been a history of political pressure from a “vocal minority,” according to RWQCB Executive Director Sam Unger, which prompted the Sanitation District to abandon a plan five years ago that’s now being looked at as the likely option.
Despite more than $800,000 worth of outreach from the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District, and an additional $40,000 spent by Santa Clarita, all of which was spent with Community Conservation Solutions, people are still being misled on the true nature of the Sanitation District’s position in the fight against the state, Kellar said.
To that end, Santa Clarita asked and received answers to chloride-treatment questions about its water from the RWQCB.
There were four options looked at by the Sanitation District, with two options being recommended to the governing board by staff members: Alternative 4, which is a phased plan similar to a 2008 plan that was rejected then, and Alternative 2, as a back up.
For Alternative 4 of the AWRM, the cost to ratepayers based on the average usage associated with a single-family home would be about $395 per year, if the plan stayed in Phase 1. If Phase 2 needs to be implemented, then the cost would jump to $535 per year.
If Alternative 2, the deep-well injection is implemented, then the rate would increase to $410 per year.
A report released by Sanitation District officials contained an overview of the Sanitation District’s operations, common misconceptions and why district engineers made the recommendation they did.
The Sanitation District’s three-person governing board is comprised of Kellar, Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Laurene Weste, and county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
“We might as well be beating our heads against the wall for all (the Regional Water Quality Control Board members) care,” Kellar said, regarding the financial impact for local ratepayers.
“Nobody is agreeing to what is happening to the citizens of the Santa Clarita Valley,” Kellar said. “If you think we’re not fighting a gorilla here, we are.”
The Sanitation District’s governing board is expected to approve one of four options, all of which will have varying degrees of financial impact for local ratepayers, at their Oct. 28 meeting.
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Source: Santa Clarita News