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Letter to Jon Rokke, Regional Water Board, May 2011

By   /   February 14, 2014  /   Comments Off

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REPOSTED From May 4, 2011

5/4/2011 Mr. Rokke, I have e-mailed you before so I’m sure you know that I (as well as many others in Yucca Valley) oppose the proposed ban on our septic tanks. A total ban on our septic tanks would merely delay further, more expensive, actions by the Regional Water Board. Also, it is not the only solution to the problem in Yucca Valley.

As I surfed the State Water Board’s site, I found that there are numerous citations being issued to waste water treatment plants for excessive pollution.

Considering the Hi-Desert Water Districts current record of poor maintenance on the water supply end, I find it very hard to believe that they will do any better with our sewage. It seems to me that, given some time, HDWD would be presented with citations for excessive pollution. This would cost the citizens of Yucca Valley a lot of EXTRA money to repair/replace the faulty systems. Additionally, one system, not properly maintained, could cause a higher degree of pollution in our water.

Individual systems would be much less likely to fail during earthquakes. Individual systems would be much easier, and less expensive to replace, or repair, than a community-wide waste system.

The USEPA says that our systems ARE able to adequately protect the ground-water if properly placed and serviced. Yet, that was not even considered in your Proposal.

True, there are systems which were permitted to be sited on parcels where they should never have been. True, they are causing issues with the groundwater. However, it would be better (in my opinion) to deal with those specific polluters, rather than the whole community.

To ban all septic tanks because of a few poorly performing systems is tantamount to banning all motor vehicles because of a few polluters. The USEPA found a much better solution. It is one that I believe the Regional Board could follow. The USEPA (and California) have adopted a plan to regulate the pollution from motor vehicles on an individual basis. A similar system could be used for septic systems.

It would be easy enough to verify that each homeowner or business was properly maintaining their systems. Our local septic service companies could simply forward the records to your office for verification. Permits could be renewed every 3 years or so, based on that verification. If the homeowner or business did not comply with the requirements, the individuals involved could be cited and fined. This system would provide a much better way to regulate contamination of our water.

Consider the alternatives. You are knowledgeable in the operations of sewage treatment plants, so I believe you are aware of the potential problems with air quality, disposal of the solids, transportation issues, etc. None of those would be a concern for the citizens of Yucca Valley OR the Regional Board if they regulated the individual systems.

Putting regulation into action that focuses on the individual’s responsibility would be much easier on everyone than trying to create a whole new sewer system and then trying to regulate it.

$$ Also- think of the money an individually-based system of regulation could generate for the State and local businesses!$$ There’s potential for fees to renew permits (sort of like the smog certificates on motor vehicles). Also, consider the money that the local companies could charge (every 3 years) for pumping and maintaining the systems. $$ Then, think of the money the average consumer could save by NOT having to pay HDWD every month just to do what our systems are already doing! Sounds like a win, win, win situation to me.

I am requesting that the above issues and solutions be considered by the board prior to any decision to ban our tanks.
K. Klein

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About the author

Claude Short

Candidate for HDWD Board of Directors.

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