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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on September 19th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 29 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 29

Local water agencies incur penalties

By SPENCER COLE

The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board will address myriad violations that occurred at three separate facilities in May, according to a staff report.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation wastewater treatment plant in San Luis Obispo along with the Cambria and Cuyama community services districts face $84,000, $54,596, and $15,000 in penalties respectively.

“These are pretty straightforward fines,” Thea Tryon, the control board’s enforcement officer, told the Sun. “We have permits that are in place, and when facilities are out of compliance, we require them to pay fines. Operators need to manage their project in compliance with our permits—the permits are there to protect water quality, and so if they can’t, they have to fix it.”

Cambria’s fines stemmed from late reporting of some 77 violations. In July, the water board issued a cease and desist order to the district demanding it discontinue the use of a dam for waste storage. Department of Corrections’ and Cuyama’s fines came from exceeding effluent limitations.

Cuyama had five violations that included fecal coliform and two potentially dangerous organic compounds: dibromodichlormethane and dichlorobromomethane. The water board ordered a compliance project featuring a test pond and “four lined treated wastewater evaporation ponds, a concrete wet well, pump stations, buried pipelines, and associated electrical systems.”

Once completed, the district would no longer discharge surface waters nor be subject to further mandatory minimum penalties of $3,000, Tryon said.

The Department of Corrections plant had 28 violations that included exceeding copper and nitrogen levels. Water board investigators also noted high concentrations of another organic compound, bis (2-Ethylhexyl) Phthalate, which the EPA classifies as a probable carcinogen.

The water board will review the violations at its Sept. 21 meeting.




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