The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District, the SCV Chamber of Commerce and Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, are holding several meetings in an effort to inform the public on water-treatment plans for the Santa Clarita Valley.
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The Sanitation District must select an option for reducing chloride levels in the SCV’s watershed, if it plans to meet a state deadline.
The meetings are to discuss the Santa Clarita Valley’s options on chloride and what might happen if local ratepayers fail to meet the state’s deadlines.
“Our goal with the chloride town hall meeting is mostly to be able to inform the community as much as possible,” said Erik Richardson, Wilk’s senior field representative. “We’re bringing in a lot of the key players who have voiced some concerns and also have a lot of good information.”
It’s important to increase awareness, because the moves being proposed will likely have an impact for Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District ratepayers, according to official documents.
“We want to bring everyone under one roof,” Richardson said. “As we’ve seen some lower turnout, we want to make sure that the assemblyman can bring in as much of a crowd as possible.”
The state’s deadline comes after the Regional Water Quality Control Board fined the Sanitation District $280,000 — later reduced to $225,000 — because they failed to develop a chloride-treatment plan by December 2012. Local officials must now enact an effort to lower chloride levels by October if they wish to avoid an additional penalty.
The 60-day comment period for the most recent solution proposed by Sanitation District officials ends June 24.
At that point, they plan to take public comment and create a final draft for officials ahead of the state’s Oct. 31 deadline.
State legislators, including Wilk and state Sen. Steve Knight have asked for more time on the chloride deadline, but Sanitation District officials are leary of extending the deadline.
“To meet the Oct. 31 deadline, we could accommodate a short extension, a week or two, if we’re going to meet that Oct. 31 deadline,” said Basil Hewitt, an SCV Sanitation District senior engineer.
Anything much longer than that could potentially affect completing the EIR by the state’s deadline, he said.
Tuesday morning, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors held a Government Affairs Breakfast at the Valencia Hyatt.
Hewitt, and Dan Masnada, general manager of the Castaic Lake Water Agency spoke about chloride mitigation, the Bay Delta Plan and raised property taxes.
“We have to figure out what we want to do,” Hewitt said. “Unnecessary fines and large fines are a risk that isn’t worth it.”
At a special meeting on Tuesday at 5 p.m., the Santa Clarita City Council will decide whether they will also send a letter to the Sanitation District, requesting that the comment period on the draft Environmental Impact Report be extended.
Several Sanitation District public hearings are also upcoming:
- Tuesday, June 4, 7 p.m., at Newhall Elementary School
- Wednesday, June 5, 7 p.m., at Stevenson Ranch Elementary School
- Thursday, June 13, 7 p.m., at Sulphur Springs Elementary School
In addition, Wilk is hoping to get all concerned parties together at a Town Hall Meeting on Saturday, June 15 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Santa Clarita Activities Center.
Assemblyman Steve Fox, D-Palmdale, the Santa Clarita Valley County Sanitation District, local water agencies and the Santa Clarita Chamber of Commerce will attend.
Wilk will discuss the draft EIR on chloride and its effect on the Santa Clarita Valley, giving community members an opportunity to ask questions or share concerns.
Richardson also said that the meeting is meant to be proactive. He encourages people to attend so that they can learn about the issue ahead of time.
“We’re hoping to get the community informed now, ahead of time, before they get hit and assessed with the bills later on,” he said. “We want them to be able to have a good opportunity to voice their opinions and have a say on which of the four alternatives get chosen.”
Perry Smith contributed to this report.
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Source: Santa Clarita News