Press Release # 364

Subj: OOG: Goleta Waiver Letters Needed Now
Date: 1/14/2004 2:06:39 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: Jon V3
To: Jon V3

Dear Ocean Outfall Group (OOG), dedicated to ridding the Pacific Ocean of all 301(h) waivers held by various sewage treatment agencies that refuse to treat their sewage to full secondary before discharge into the ocean.

Our friends in Goleta need our help right now. Letters are needed opposing the proposed action by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to send the rejection of the Goleta Waiver by the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) back to the RWQCB for further work. Such an action would reverse the previous action by the RWQCB to reject the 301(h) waiver held by the Goleta Sanitary District (GSD). GSD had appealed the RWQCB's rejection of the waiver to the SWRCB. Now the SWRCB wants to send the matter back to the RWQCB. Instead, the SWRCB should simply uphold the action of RWQCB and reject the appeal. This complicated series of actions is explained below by Hillary Hauser of Heal The Ocean, which is the group in Goleta fighting the Goleta Waiver.

Therefore, here is a proposed letter. Modify it as you wish.

 

Send to: abaggett@swrcb.ca.gov

Subject Line: Please Oppose Goleta 301(h) Waiver. Don't send back to RWQCB

Body of email or snail mail letter:

Arthur Baggett, Chair
State Water Resources Control Board
1001 I Street
Sacramento, CA. 95812

Re: Goleta 301(h) Waiver, Please Oppose And Don't Overturn RWQCB's Denial

Dear Mr. Baggett,

I am writing to ask that you oppose the 301(h) waiver held by the Goleta Sanitary District, and do not send the matter back to the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB). I urge you not to overturn the denial of the waiver by the RWQCB. I urge you not to remand the case back to the RWQCB.

The RWQCB has already made a decision to reject the waiver. There is no need for further environmental documentation or Section 401 certification, since the rejection of the waiver will improve the health and cleanliness of the ocean, and not degrade it.

If you send it back to the RWQCB, you are opening up a can of worms and delaying statewide efforts to clean our state's waters, and especially our ocean. Sending it back is contrary to improving the water quality of our ocean.

Therefore, please help our efforts to clean our ocean and uphold the action of the RWQCB in denying the Goleta 301(h) waiver. Please do not overturn the decision of the RWQCB to deny the waiver.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Name
Address
Phone Number

Thanks. We all need to help get 1000 letters so please forward this to your friends and family statewide who are interested in healing our ocean.

Jan Vandersloot (949) 548-6326

Explanation of issue below by Hillary Hauser of Heal The Ocean:

TO: OOG
FROM: HILLARY HAUSER, Heal the Ocean

We need 1000 angry letters written about this to:
Arthur Baggett, Chair
State Water Resources Control Board
1001 I Street
Sacramento, CA. 95812

RE: Goleta Sanitary District 301 h waiver

Here are the details of the overturn, which is scheduled to happen during a hearing at Cal/EPA building in Sacramento (address in Mr. Baggett's address) at 11 a.m. January 22, 2004. Heal the Ocean will be there, but it looks like a shut out.

RE: SWRCB hearing January 22, 2004 - to overturn RWQCB denial (Resolution No. R3-2002-007) of Goleta Sanitary District 301 (h) waiver for sewage discharge into ocean off Santa Barbara (SWRCB/OCC File A-1494; NPDES NO. CA0048160)

The State Water Resources Control Board is about to (on January 22, 2004) overturn four years of our legal work on the Goleta Sanitary District ("GSD") 301 h sewage waiver. At a time the state is looking for any possible means to cut expenses - staff time, legal time, unnecessary work and projects - this represents an extreme waste.

On July 12, 2002, RWQCB issued Resolution No. R3-2002-007 - with 41 Findings based on all the evidence, testimony of water quality experts and consultants, and our lawyer, Victoria Clark - denying GSD application for a continued 301 h waiver. The Regional Board ordered GSD to submit a new NPDES permit for full secondary treatment by December 12, 2002.

GSD appealed to the SWRCB, which is about to remand the case back to RWQCB. This basically means everyone starts all over, costing not only Heal the Ocean $thousands$, but also the state agencies handling this case.

The two unfounded reasons SWRCB is overturning the RWQCB resolution are:

1) SWRCB: RWQCB should have required section 401 certification.

On page 2 of its January 9, 2004 draft order, SWRCB states that an application for renewal of an NPDES permit subject to a waiver from secondary treatment standards "is subject to the water quality certification requirements under section 401 of the Clean Water Act."

Fact: Water Quality Certification is Only Required if the Regional Board Concurs with the Issuance of a Secondary Treatment Waiver. (40 CFR 124.54(a).

The Regional Board did not concur with issuance of waiver, and directed GSD to reapply "under normal procedures" by December 12, 2002.

2) SWRCB: RWQCB did not raise the issue of need for GSD to provide CEQA documentation until very late in the application process; CEQA documentation required under (CCR title 23, sections 3855-3861).

Our contention: Once the Regional Board denied concurrence for the Secondary Treatment Waiver, a section 401 water quality certification was no longer required, and CEQA documentation was superfluous.

If the State Board remands to the Regional Board to obtain water quality certification and CEQA documentation, as proposed, the State Board will be following an unnecessary procedure - which will only delay this matter, and is likely to result in the Regional Board again denying concurrence.

The Regional Board has already begun the procedure to amend the Basin Plan to prohibit future Secondary Treatment Waivers.GSD is already in the process of resubmitting a new application for the waiver, with CEQA documentation, and has submitted revised figures for volume per day (9 million gallons to 7.4 million). After four years, we are going to start all over, to keep up with the change in story? The Regional Board worked hard on its 41 Findings to deny this waiver, and GSD has had plenty of time in the four years we have all been working on this issue to figure out which statistics it would submit in its NPDES permit application.

Nevertheless, the SWRCB, next week, is about to turn all of this upside down, and create hardship, unnecessary expense on everyone - including the state agencies involved.

This - when sewage waivers are on their way out. Until recently there were only four 301 h sewage waivers in California - Orange County, San Diego, Morro Bay and Goleta. Orange County is upgrading, San Diego just announced some measure of upgrade, the NRDC is working on the Morro Bay waiver, and we have won TWICE in two Regional Board hearings re: the GSD waiver.

Also, the cost, per home, for full secondary upgrade increases less than $8 per month; from $13.86 to $20. Heal the Ocean commissioned an engineering firm (Metcalf & Eddy, San Diego), to study the GSD plant and come up with the per-property price of upgrade.

Thanks, all
Hillary Hauser, executive director
HEAL THE OCEAN

Back to T.O.C. 3