Environmental Press # 92

Subj: Waiver stopped?/Urban Runoff/OCRegister
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 15:48:17 -0700
From: Doug Korthof <doug@seal-beach.org>
To: voiceforveterans@aol.com (via CleanOcean@orange-county.net)

1. Is the waiver really, really dead? Really?
2. Urban runoff is bad, SAVE COYOTE HILLS
3. OC Register for sale? Can it be?

THE WAIVER IS DEAD, or will be soon. No responsible person believed that improving treatment to full secondary standards would be immediate, nor that doing so would elimnate beach closings or solve our other River, Beach and Ocean pollution problems. So it will take some time. Land use and water policy changes are slow and ponderous, don't lose patience or give up.




Remember our 3 big problems, as enunciated by Joan Irvine Smith:
1. URBAN RUNOFF, too much concrete, and too much detritus to run off. This can be tackled by reducing diesel and industrial fallout, reducing auto brake lining and car tire debris, reducing oil and particulates dumped on streets, reducing pet waste, throw-away packages, styro, and other debris now thrown, dropped or discharged onto hard surfaces and forced into the watershed by rain;

2. CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURE, like the dreaded monopoly game card,
"...you are assessed for street repairs...". When developers build tracts, they often do not consider the lifetime of sewers, pipes, etc., or the unfunded liability of any infrastructure they can legally ignore and foist off onto existing Taxpayers;

3. PURPOSEFUL USE OF THE OCEAN AS A CHEAP DUMPING GROUND, the least palatable but easiest fixed of the 3.

THANKS TO ALL who helped STOP the waiver! It was not easy, and it's not over yet. There are still elements who think they can go back, and revive the waiver, and continue the dumping. But for the present, the kids, and for the creatures, THANKS!

The resolution passed by the Board of Directors July 17, by a vote of 13-12 (actually 15-10, since 2 Directors wanted an even stronger statement for FULL SECONDARY TREATMENT RIGHT AWAY):

"...it is the district?s policy to treat all wastewater discharges into the ocean to secondary treatment standards..."

This means that the waiver is dead, because OCSD only needs a "waiver" if they cannot meet secondary treatment standards -- the famous "30-30" standard which forces removal of most carbon compounds in sewage. OCSD Board's rationale:

"...public safety
...marine ecosystem protection
...water reclamation opportunities..."

These are good things: protection of recreational waters and the creatures of the deep (those that are left), and, hopefully, full reclamation of all 70 acre feet of wastewater now discharged...and the perhaps 350 tons of additional biosolids that can be extracted, treated, and used for biological composting and soil enrichment -- legally! -- after being treated to the "A" level.

So what are the details? That's a potential problem:

"...Staff is directed to immediately proceed with the planning, design, and implementation of treatment methods that will ...meet Federal Clean Water Act secondary treatment standards..."

A. Some estimates are that it will take 11 years. But we know, from GMAnderson's written statements, that OCSD can go to 65% secondary without further plant. The question is, why wait?

B. At the same July 17th meeting, the Board (on a vote of 24-1) authorized staff to proceed with spending $10million per year on disinfecting the sewage (in practice, chlorination/dechlorination), which the Regional Water Board then allowed as "...an experiment...to take the plume off the table...". This seems a bad use of scarce resources best used on full secondary. But even worse, this allows staff to delay and drag their heels instead of proceeding "immediately" with real plans for real secondary treatment the way almost everyone else does it.

The Board Resolution further boldly declares:

"...staff shall prepare and adopt a plan of work for facilities to meet secondary treatment standards..."

But no time frame, and no injuntion to do so "immediately". This too relies on good intentions by staff. It would have been good to see an injunction to prepare the plan "expeditiously", or to start increasing secondary treatment with existing plant "without delay", but those words are lacking from this direction.

"...with the expressed purpose of eliminating a waiver under Section 301(h) of the Federal Clean Water Act..."

The Board did its job here, maybe was just not quite explicit enough. However, the Board can review progress during the monthly meetings to come. This means that WAIVER OPPONENTS cannot just let this thing take care of itself, the factual, actual actions of staff must be evaluated. Laggardly, backward, failing and deficient performance or planning detected by watchdogs must be called to the attention of the Board, and progress monitored.

"...Staff is directed to expeditiously negotiate permit terms and conditions that will accomplish the inter-related goals of achieving secondary treatment standards, eliminating the need for a Section 301(h) Clean Water Act permit, and minimizing the risk of enforcement liability during the transition period...to secondary treatment standards."

One wishes the urgency here in "negotiation" would have been in the "planning" direction earlier. So it's not perfect, and staff needs a lot of help in getting started and keeping the momentum going.

Too bad for those 10 sewage-loving Directors who fought for a bad cause -- and LOST! They must now go back to their own cities, and explain why they stood up for the waiver. It's much easier for them to defend their behavior if they had won, but, as the LOSER, they seem doubly contemptable: LOSERS in a BAD CAUSE! Here are the ones to defeat at the polls:

TUSTIN: Tony Kawashima
BREA: Roy Moore
CYPRESS: Anna Piercy and Tim Keenan
MIDWAY CITY: Joy Neugebauer and Westminster Mayor Rice
STANTON: Brian Donahue
VILLA PARK: Russell Patterson
YORBA LINDA: Michael Duval, John Gullixson


Speak on SAVING COYOTE HILLS at the Public Commentary section of the Fullerton City Council meeting Tuesday, Aug. 6!

WHEN: 4:00 P.M.
WHERE: Fullerton City Hall
330 West Commonwealth
DIRECTIONS: Three Blocks west of Harbor.
From Beach Boulevard, go east on Orangethorpe,
north on Harbor,
left (west) on Amerige.

Map and directions also on

Today in the L.A. Times, "OC LEADS NATION IN BEACH CLOSURES, UP 81% LAST YEAR" by Seema Mehta.

NRDC states the issue is "...simple. Pavement causes pollution, and pollution closes beaches". It is not true that the problem is our new AB411 standards (we just now see bacteria that may have been there before), nor that we are including data from river mouths, as Monica Mazur hinted. The problem is simple: too much concrete, too much debris, and too little habitat to absorb the mess of our much larger "footprint" on the coast.

510 acres of coastal sage wrapped around 72 acre Nature Park, home to gnatcatchers, cactus wren (50 pairs of each) plus innumerable other creatures and plants. This is the very last open space habitat in a 5-city area. This is a refugium, a survival zone on the Pacific Flyway and diverse habitat for stressed species. Winter home for hawks, northern harriers, whitetail kite, and other migrating birds.

So show up and argue for leaving our hills alone!
for more info, email < TITLE="mailto:connietecate@adelphia.net>"

OCRegister FOR SALE? Is this News?

The L.A. Times went bleak and sold out to The Tribune. Losses perhaps came from following the party line of the partially cracked-out LA City Council and big builders who ruined L.A. -- draining resources from the "poor" areas to build up the hideous downtown ("big buildings and bums") and, in reaction, the secession movements. The Times stood by and watched as gangs seized entire areas of the city from hard-pressed merchants, as streets like Western, Slauson, Normandie died in drabness when just a little support could have kept them vibrant. They
sucked the life blood out of the outlying areas for their ego.

Will the OCRegister go the same way? We all know the libertarian opinions, some catchy, some bad, of the horse-and-buggy editorial staff. The good writers have a hard time getting content past antediluvian management. Also, we know of the OCR's implacable opposition to getting rid of the waiver, and their "freedom" to dump sewage (is this on their "Agenda" list?). OCR is owned by FREEDOM publications, 28 newspapers and 8 TV outlets.

OCR Director Tim Hoiles is "frustrated with the company's performance" -- you're not the only one -- and "seeing the asset dwindle". I guess we might know why: failure to reflect the concerns of the people, and failure to follow the important issues! A loss of following...

This LATimes article estimates Freedom revenues at $760m and losses last year at $90m.

Here's how they can fix the problem. The "IMPROVEMENT PLAN" calls for a new Editor-in-Chief, Huntington Beach Mayor Debbie Cook.

This would immediately generate interest, sales and boost circulation, perhaps enabling the Register to raise environmental awareness to new levels and maybe even Long Beach.

Jeff Kramer, humor writer and Sumo wrestler, can assume the job of supervising troublesome yet inscrutable Gordon Dillow's "column Right". New voices in opposition can be created on the same page with Joey Racano's scribblings as "stragglers Left".

What a format.

Thanks again, but don't let up!

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