Santa Clarita Valley sewer officials are expected to approve a sewer rate hike tonight at Santa Clarita City Hall.
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The rate hike is to pay for wastewater treatment needed due to a much-debated state-mandated chloride level in the water discharged downstream to Ventura County by the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District.
“In this district, the current service charge rate per single-family home is $20.58 per month and $247 per year,” according to Sanitation District officials.
The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District is part of a countywide agency with a governing board of three representatives. Two are appointed by Santa Clarita City Council, Mayor Laurene Weste and Councilman Bob Kellar. A third, Supervisor Michael Antonovich, has a seat as the Fifth District representative for the county.
The proposed rates for the next six years are $22.25 per month, or $267 per year in 2014-15; $23.92 per month ($287 per year) the following year; $25.58 per month ($307 per year) the year after that; $27.33 per month ($328 per year) in 2017-18; $29.08 per month ($349 per year) in 2018-19; and $30.83 per month ($370 per year) in 2019-20.
Santa Clarita Valley sewage officials formally introduced a rate hike last Monday in order to pay for a state-mandated chloride-compliance plan expected to total about $205 million, Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District officials said.
From an earlier story:
The state set a limit for the amount of chloride, or salt, that can be sent downstream from local water to Ventura County farmers at 100 milligrams per liter. The state agency responsible for the oversight set a deadline of May 2015 for the district to have a facility in place to lower the chloride in local treated water to that level.
Related article: Chloride Plan Approved For Santa Clarita Valley Residents
The state’s Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board is a state-appointed agency that oversees the permitting of the Santa Clarita Valley’s water-treatment plants.
While the need and science behind the move was scrutinized for more than two hours, Sanitation District officials said ultimately, if the district doesn’t comply, fines will be steep and inevitable for ratepayers.
Had the Sanitation District’s governing board — represented by Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste and City Councilman Bob Kellar — not approved the rate increase, then ratepayers would have faced more than $52 million in fines from the state’s Regional Water Quality Control Board, officials said. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich did not attend the meeting.
“The discharge level has been set at 100 milligrams per liter,” said Phil Friess, justifying the district’s need to raise rates and explaining a relationship with the state’s Regional Water Quality Control Board that’s vacillated between cooperation and contention over the last 10 years.
Santa Clarita City Councilman TimBen Boydston called the situation Santa Clarita Valley ratepayers were in as the result of a “failure of leadership” on behalf of the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District’s governing board.
Boydston and several other attacked the science used to justify the state’s limit for salt in the water sent downstream to Ventura County farmers. calling it junk science and asking why a field study wasn’t commissioned earlier to prove the SCV effluence wasn’t damaging crops.
“They’ve never been able to show us where there are any damaged crops from chloride,” Boydston said.
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Source: Santa Clarita News