Environmental Press # 74

Subj: OCSD Board flushes waiver on odd vote
Date: Thu, 18 Jul 2002 02:11:01 -0700
From: Doug Korthof <doug@seal-beach.org>
To: voiceforveterans@aol.com (via CleanOcean@orange-county.net)
Cc: martys@ci.brea.ca.us, bevp@ci.brea.ca.us, johnbe@ci.brea.ca.us,roym@ci.brea.ca.us, vivavargas@aol.com

176 persons were admitted by a phalanx of angry, hostile police and Special Security called in to enforce OCSD dicta. More than 200 adults and children were locked out and forced to mill around in the dark outside the guarded door. The hearing was completely unaudible to those outside, and possibly to those inside also. But GREAT, as hundreds demanded an end to the sewage waiver that allows Orange County to avoid full secondary treatment of all wastewater.

The Board responded by endorsing a compromise version of option "C" - full secondary -- that is neutral as to the method. The Board seemed reluctant to "tie the hands" of staff as to exact method of obtaining the *SECONDARY STANDARD* of 30-30 (no more than 30 mg/l
of Total Suspended Solids, and no more than 30 mg/l of Biological Oxygen Demand over 5 days).



This 30-30 standard was how the original 1972 Clean Water Act defined the maximum acceptable pollutants -- and the minimum acceptable sewage treatment. It in effect required the discharger to remove suspended carbon compounds -- organic solids, mainly fecal materials including bacteria and virus.

The term "waiver" is shorthand for permission to violate the 30-30 standard, using Sect. 301(h), which was added to the Clean Water Act in 1977. It's referred to as a "waiver" because it
allows some districts, under certain conditions, to "waive" the 30-30 standard.

So really the goal of eliminating the waiver is that of moving to the 30-30 standard, and that's what the Board appears to want to do, as quickly as possible. There was some discussion about AB1969, which now would force full secondary by 2008. Staff claims on the one hand that's impossible, and yet on the other hand they offered, instead of giving up the waiver, to move immediately to 60% secondary.

AB1969 may be necessary to ensure that OCSD take the straight, shortest road to full secondary standards (the 30-30) and does not waste time and money on untried technologies unless they can be demonstrated, audited and proven.



On a very strange vote, OCSD Board of Directors voted on a complicated resolution that does the following (preliminary reading, have to look at the transcript to make sure):


-OCSD commits to full secondary treatment standards. How to
-get to those levels, the "30-30" standards of the original
-1972 Clean Water Act, is left to staff. OCSD staff is free to
-use conventional secondary treatment, or any combination of other
-methods, to achieve this standard. The word "waiver" was not
-mentioned, but OCSD will start immediately negotiating with EPA
-to create a compliance schedule. The clear implication was that
-the NPDES permit due Dec. 3 would NOT be using a waiver under
-Sect. 301(h).

Chair Shirley McCracken takes the position that the ultimate goal is to reuse all 700+ acre feet/day now discharged into the Ocean. If this is achieved, there would be no need for the Ocean Outfall Discharge Permit, and no need for an Ocean outfall.

McCracken, who voted for the resolution, stated that she, and the Board majority, look forward to the challenges and opportunities. The original vote was 13 FOR Clean Ocean and 12 opposed. Many of those FOR gave remarkable speeches and reasons, and did not allow staff to snow them in any way, shape or form. Patty Campbell, of Seal Beach, and Beth Krom, of Irvine, stood out, but those who researched the issue were guardians of truth in the smoke- and mirrors- generator that has protected OCSD's waiver up until now.

Sorry for not getting all the wording, but most people were locked out by security guards and police under orders from OCSD, and could not hear the speeches. Sgt. Freeman #190, of the Fountain Valley Police, offered to arrest people for "trespassing" in the lobby of the building, which is strange since it's a public building and no one was causing any disturbance or disruption. It is not clear under what policy or law OCSD felt justified in locking out the people from the place where the peoples' business was being conducted.

ADAMS, GARY: Newport Beach, Alternate
BANKHEAD, DON: Fullerson
BRADY, BRIAN: IRWD (reworded resolution in response to doubts by those not wanting to be wedded to full secondary)
BOARDMAN, CONNIE: Huntington Beach
CAMPBELL, PATRICIA: Seal Beach (did not put up with idea of "temporary waiver", forced vote)
COOK, LAURANN: Fountain Valley (may have been convinced by the change in wording)
FERRYMAN, JAMES: Costa Mesa Sanitary District
KROM, BETH: Irvine (excellent analysis)
MCCRACKEN, SHIRLEY: Anaheim (new Board Chair)
WALKER, PAUL: La Palma (cast deciding vote)
County of Orange, Tom Wilson

(Original vote: 13 YES vs. 12 NO).

Los Alamitos, Alice Jempsa -- voted no because she felt that the L.A. Council had instructed her to vote YES on the original Option C, not the modified version. As is often done, the vote was changed to YES. Buena Park, Gerald Sigler -- voted no, possibly due to the change in wording, should change to YES.

(Final vote should be 15 YES vs. 10 NO).


Those voting NO because they wanted to APPLY FOR THE SEWAGE WAIVER for various reasons (including 'experiment', 'wait for something better', 'cost', 'good for the ocean', 'study must be worth the money we spent on it'):

Waiver backer DONAHUE, BRIAN: Stanton
Waiver backer DUVALL, MIKE: Yorba Linda ("possible fines, and because the people of our city want to")
Waiver backer ECKENRODE, NORM: Placentia ("costs to businesses")
Waiver backer KAWASHIMA, TONY: Tustin ("Joey Racano, my ma voted for you, the real problem is urban runoff, come and get us")
Waiver backer KEENAN, TIM: Cypress ("bla bla bla")
Waiver backer LEYES, MARK: Garden Grove ("its not the wisest allocation of resources, must keep options open")
Waiver backer MCGUIGAN, PAT: Santa Ana
Waiver backer MOORE, ROY: Brea ("we have to move to full secondary, but giving up the waiver is not the way to do it"(??)
Waiver backer NEUGEBAUER, JOY: Midway City (escort those people OUT)
Waiver backer PATTERSON, RUSSELL: Villa Park (mumble mumble mumble its all urban runoff mumble dont want to handcuff staff with 19th century technology mumble mumble)

So this should be the end of the strange case of the Orange County Sewage Waiver. Calculations indicate meeting the TSS standard by 2006, if they tried, and the BOD standard by 2009. Negotiations are to be carefully watched to ensure that OCSD is not penalized by EPA, and that they move as expeditiously as possible to full secondary standards and get rid of the waiver. More importantly, after full secondary, methods such as those used at the Tillman plant in L.A.(purifying secondary via constructed wetlands) can lead to cost-effective reclamation of all the wastewater. OCSD already plans to move to treat the sludge to the "A" level, which would make it acceptable to Riverside and get rid of the $4.8m ranches in Coalinga and the dumping on top of the Ft. Mohave Indian Reservation.

End of opinion section, to be verified by transcript later


Poem, by Greg Jewell of Surfrider Foundation, used with permission:

Cupcake wrecked your pool party, for that I apologize. I've conjured ways to make amends, to politely strategize A solution to the problem of doodles in the deep But the task is overwhelming, and solutions don't come cheap.

I would call a thousand surfers, bring a thousand more. And ask their help in cleaning up our ocean and our shore. They would stand to fight indifference, expediency and neglect Replacing blatant disregard with common sense and respect

Surfers know aloha, and the spirit in the wind, The magic of the ocean and of mysteries held therein, The tides that mark the passing of the moon across the sky, The manna from the ocean, and a friend to help us by But we need another friend tonight, and so we turn to you You know we have a simple quest, to keep our ocean blue It's time to end the games we play, set our differences to drift Dear friend, may we have your vote tonight, your legacy, your gift.

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