Facing a fast-approaching deadline for chloride compliance, Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District officials are hosting a public hearing Monday night at Santa Clarita City Hall.
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The 6 p.m meeting is a culmination of months of public outreach by officials seeking feedback on their plan to raise rates to pay for state-mandated chloride treatment.
The SCV Sanitation District, which is responsible for the treatment of the local wastewater, proposed fee increases of approximately $17 per year over the next six years, said Dave Bruns, assistant head of financial management for the Sanitation Districts.
The fees are to pay for state-mandated chloride treatment. Downstream water users in Ventura County are upset about the chloride levels in water from the Santa Clarita Valley, and the state agency responsible for water regulation agreed the levels were too high.
Sanitation District officials are seeking an appeal of the state’s Regional Water Quality Control Board’s order.
However, in order to avoid ratepayers having to pay more fines, a plan must be approved by July, according to Sanitation District officials.
The district held several meetings at various schools and with various organizations throughout the Santa Clarita Valley over the last few months.
The Sanitation District plan was approved last October, as “the most pragmatic move forward” in light of what the state’s Regional Water Quality Control Board was demanding, according to Basil Hewitt of the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District, in a previous interview.
Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District officials introduced a rate-hike proposal to the district’s governing board in April to pay for chloride treatment the Santa Clarita Valley
The urgency is called for because the Sanitation District is seeking concessions from the state, and an extension on its deadline, which the state will only consider with a fee increase in place, Hewitt said.
Related article: Chloride Plan Approved For Santa Clarita Valley Residents
The district, which provides wastewater and solid waste management throughout Los Angeles County, is being mandated by the state to lower amount of chloride, or salt, in water flowing downstream to Ventura County from local treatment plants.
The cost of the new infrastructure necessary to remove the salt is expected to cost approximately $130 million, which is the reason behind the rate increase being discussed, Bruns said.
Sanitation District ratepayers have already been fined more than $200,000 because the district did not meet the RWQCB deadline for chloride management. In order to avoid more fines, the district has to have a plan in place, including a funding mechanism for the plan, by May 2015.
If the district has a plan in place by July, then the state’s RWQCB is more likely to grant concessions for the district, which could lower the cost of treatment.
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Source: Santa Clarita News