A solution to the chloride issue could come from Sacramento with legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Cameron Smyth.
The Santa Clarita City Council is being encouraged to support the legislation as an agenda item in Tuesday’s meeting. The measure, if adopted by the legislature as presented, could help solve the current chloride dilemma facing the valley.
In February, Smyth introduced AB 1058, which proposes the establishment of a statewide water quality objective that would take into consideration the different needs of water customers such as agricultural users.
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By establishing a statewide standard, this legislation could eliminate the varying levels of chloride allowed in different sanitation districts.
In 1978, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board established a 100 milligram per liter standard for chloride for the Santa Clara River to protect downriver agricultural supply use, a standard unattainable given existing treatment systems.
In 2002, the board adopted a Total Maximum Daily Load prescribing compliance efforts for the Saugus and Valencia water reclamation plants to achieve the standard. Part of those plans included construction of new treatment plants that would be financed by local customers to reduce chloride in the water needed downstream by agricultural uses in Ventura County.
Santa Clarita Valley voters passed Measure S in 2008, banning the use of automatic water softeners, which reduced chloride levels by 50-60 ml, but the 100 ml standard was still out of reach. The City Council began working with Smyth to propose a statewide standard based on sound scientific research that would take effect on or before July 1, 2013.
The legislation would also force the state water board to identify irrigation and cultivation practices that are available to mitigate chloride levels in water used to irrigate agricultural crops, identify plans to develop and use recycled water within the watersheds of the water bodies affected.
AB1058 is scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee on Tuesday.