Late in the evening of 9 December 2010 and after a 15-hour hearing and extensive testimony, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board voted to approve a new wastewater discharge permit for the Sacramento Regional County District’s treatment plant. The outdated facility is responsible for inadequately treating over half of the wastewater discharged into the fragile and degraded Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary.
CSPA submitted over 90-pages of comments on the proposed permit and testified as a designated party at the extended hearing. In fact, CSPA was the only fishing or environmental organization that testified or submitted comments.
The US Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Fish and Game, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, California Department of Public Health, Department of Water Resources, the Delta Stewardship Council and a cavalcade of water agencies joined CSPA in urging the Regional Board to approve the draft permit. Opposed, were the Regional Sanitation District and Sacramento business and real estate interests, as well as numerous residents frightened by a relentless public relations campaign that predicted enormous utility rate increases.
The new permit requires the wastewater treatment facility to upgrade to tertiary treatment to remove pathogens and to nitrify and denitrify to eliminate massive discharges of toxic ammonia. Unfortunately, in an effort to appear reasonable, the Regional Board issued a permit that fails to comply with a multitude of basic regulatory requirements to protect water quality and fisheries. Consequently, CSPA intends to appeal the permit to the State Water Resources Control Board. CSPA Comments