SR Discharges Letter

Below is an important letter from SCWA to Santa Rosa, 10/20/06. Is there a response from Santa Rosa?

There are reports that this letter expressing SCWA concerns about water quality and the impacts of Santa Rosa’s wastewater discharges to the Russian River above the intake pumps for our water was withdrawn at the behest of SR. The concerns delineated in the letter are once again relevant to the current BPU hearings on Russian River discharges, as well as in the Sonoma County General Plan 2020 and DEIR, and the draft Urban Water Management Plan.

Read it and weep. But you may not want to keep drinking the water.

What has happened to the concerns expressed by SCWA about water quality, which echoes concerns raised by the water drinking public and ratepayers for at least 8 years?

What are Santa Rosa’s real plans for avoiding the upcoming disasters of releasing “emerging toxics” into the Russian River, especially when the federal and state government will (not, “might”) issue regulations far in excess of what the current WWTP can control for these toxics?

As SCWA acknowledges, “The only treatment necessary beyond the natural filtering provided by the sand and gravel materials along the Russian River is: 1)the addition of chlorine to provide a residual amount of disinfectant throughout the transmission system; and 2)the addition of sodium hydroxide to adjust the pH of the water. The Agency and its customers have not had to share in the expense of constructing and operating a surface water treatment plant. The potential impact of a new wastewater discharge location on the Russian River, which could jeopardize the way the Agency’s existing water supply facilities are operated, needs to be considered. ”

How come the draft Sonoma County General Plan 2020 and its DEIR have not proposed any protections for the filtration and water storage capacities of the
Russian River gravel bed aquifer, which is the heart of our water filtration system?

How much longer will the “wink and nod” politics of Russian River health issues continue?

Who will pay for repairs to these continuing damages to our water supply, no less fisheries restoration and recreational use of our great rivers? When will we really change our watershed management practices, as if we had to drink this water for the next 150 years?

We welcome the press’ critical inquiries and reporting on this, so that our citizens know what is happening with their water, wastewater, health, taxes and ratepayer dollars.

Sincerely,

David Keller

Randy Poole of SCWA’s letter to City of Santa Rosa [excerpts–the full letter can be seen earlier in the Activists Corner]:

Dear Ms. Fruiht,

The Agency and its customers (including the City) have benefited from having water supply facilities that provide a high quality source of drinking water that is relatively inexpensive to operate. The only treatment necessary beyond the natural filtering provided by the sand and gravel materials along the Russian River is: 1)the addition of chlorine to provide a residual amount of disinfectant throughout the transmission system; and 2)the addition of sodium hydroxide to adjust the pH of the water. The Agency and its customers have not had to share in the expense of constructing and operating a surface water treatment plant.

The concerns brought up in these comment letters are still valid and currently there are additional concerns that need to be addressed associated with the emerging issue of pharmaceuticals and personal care products that may remain in treated wastewater. Pharmaceutically active compounds (e.g., caffeine, nicotine, and aspirin) and numerous personal care products (such as fragrances and sunscreens) and drugs from a wide spectrum of therapeutic classes can enter waterways through a variety of routes including treated wastewater.

The Agency recommends that instead of looking at disposal into the Russian River that the City view this wastewater as a valuable resource that can be utilized to offset potable water use through urban reuse to directly offset Russian River water and for agricultural reuse (such as that being studied for the proposed North Sonoma County Agricultural Reuse Project) which can help reduce the reliance on groundwater and help reduce the need for surface water diversions.

Sincerely, Randy D. Poole