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Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District Chloride Compliance Facilities Planning Process
Meeting State-Mandated Chloride (Salt) Limits in the Santa Clarita Valley
The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District (SCVSD) has spent many years seeking the smallest and least costly solution to meeting State mandates related to the levels of chloride (salt) allowed in the Valley’s wastewater/sewage, which is produced by the Valley’s homes and businesses.
To avoid steep state fines or a loss of local control, the SCVSD is conducting a local planning process to determine the most affordable way to upgrade the Valley's sewage treatment facilities to meet the State’s strict salt limits, and to find a practical way to promote increased use of the recycled water produced at the treatment plants to irrigate local parks, golf courses, and other landscaping to keep the Valley green and beautiful.
The SCVSD is dedicated to a local planning process that encourages community input. On April 24, 2013, the SCVSD released its proposed plans for public review and comment, and provided many opportunities for public input on the proposed alternatives for meeting the State’s strict legal limits for salt. The public comment period closed on July 24, 2013.
Service Provided by the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District
The SCVSD is a local agency that collects the wastewater from the Valley’s homes and businesses, including the wastewater from toilets, sinks, showers, and washing machines, and sends it through sewer pipes to its two sewage treatment plants, the Saugus and Valencia Water Reclamation Plants, and then cleans and disinfects the wastewater to produce high quality recycled water. The recycled water is either returned to the environment through the Santa Clara River or provided to local water agencies to use for irrigating landscaping, helping to keep the Valley green and beautiful. Property owners pay for their sewer services, including operating the sewage treatment plants, through a sewer service charge.
State Orders Santa Clarita Valley’s Sewage Treatment Plants to Reduce Chloride
Under the threat of steep state fines that Valley property owners would have to pay, the State of California has ordered the SCVSD to reduce the levels of salt in the Valley’s wastewater that are above the state’s strict legal limit.
The State has determined that high levels of salt harms salt-sensitive avocado and strawberry crops along Highway 126, downstream from the Valley’s two wastewater/sewage treatment plants. Salt levels in the Valley's sewage treatment plants are above the State's legal limit because homeowners and businesses add salt to the Valley's sewage system every day through use of soaps, detergents and cleaning products, all of which contain high amounts of chloride, a form of salt.
To lower salt levels to the limits set by the State and avoid state fines, new advanced sewage treatment facilities must be constructed. The SCVSD completed technical studies and released for public review draft documents that decribe the most cost-effective and environmentally-sound methods for meeting the State’s requirements.
The Santa Clarita Valley Must Meet the State’s Requirements or Face Steep State Fines and Risk Losing Local Control
If the SCVSD does not upgrade the Valley’s sewage treatment plants to meet the state's requirements, the State can issue large fines every day that salt levels are above the State's legal limits. Fine amounts could reach many millions of dollars. In addition, if the Valley’s treatment plants are not upgraded, the State could take control away from the local SCVSD. Valley property owners would have to pay the fines until the sewage treatment plants were upgraded and would still have to pay the costs to upgrade the plants. This has already happened elsewhere in the state. The SCVSD is working hard to protect Valley property owners from paying millions of dollars in state fines and prevent loss of local control in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Examples of State Fines and Loss of Local Control
In the two Sanitation Districts that serve Lancaster and Palmdale, property owners ended up paying both the costs of upgrading their sewage treatment plants and $4.75 million dollars in state fines because they did not comply with the State's orders. Due to a unique set of circumstances that do not exist in the Santa Clarita Valley, nearly all of these fines will be used to fund a non-Sanitation District project in the Antelope Valley.
In the community of Los Osos in San Luis Obispo County, the State took control away from local authorities when property owners and local authorities refused to build a new community sewer system and treatment plant. The local Community Services District was fined $6.6 million, went into bankruptcy, and state legislation was passed that took authority for the project away from the local district.
Meeting State Requirements for Salt in the Santa Clarita Valley: Status of Analysis, Planning and Public Involvement
The SCVSD conducted very detailed technical analyses to find the most affordable ways to upgrade the Valley's sewage treatment facilities to meet the State’s chloride (salt) requirements and to find a practical way to promote increased use of the recycled water produced at the treatment plants to irrigate local parks, golf courses and other landscaping to keep the Valley green and beautiful.
The SCVSD is dedicated to a local planning process that encourages community input. The SCVSD released a Draft Facilities Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Report for public review and comment, and provided many opportunities for public input on the proposed alternatives for meeting the State’s strict legal limits for salt.
Four information meetings were held at the times and locations noted below. The meetings provided an opportunity to learn more about the process and discuss the process with SCVSD staff.
May 14, 2013 at 7:00 PM
Live Oak Elementary
27715 Saddleridge Way
Castaic, CA 91384
May 15, 2013 at 7:00 PM
27853 Urbandale Ave.
Saugus, CA 91350
May 21, 2013
City Terrace Elementary School
4350 City Terrace Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90063
May 23, 2013 at 7:00 PM
Santa Clarita Activities Center
20880 Centre Pointe Parkway
Santa Clarita, CA 91350
Four public hearings were held at the times and locations noted below. The public hearings were an opportunity to provide official verbal comments on the Draft Facilities Plan and EIR for the administrative record.
June 4, 2013 at 7:00 PM
24607 N. Walnut Street
Newhall, CA 91321
June 5, 2013 at 7:00 PM
Stevenson Ranch Elementary
25820 Carroll Lane
Stevenson Ranch, CA 91381
June 12, 2013
City Terrace Park
1126 N. Hazard Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90063
June 13, 2013 at 7:00 PM
Sulphur Springs Elementary
16628 Lost Canyon Road
Canyon Country, CA 91387
The extended 90-day public comment period closed at 5 PM on July 24, 2013. Click here to view the Draft Facilities Plan and EIR.
Additional Information on the Draft SCVSD Chloride Facilities Plan and EIR:
Exhibits Used for Public Presentations
Projected Annual Sewer Service Charge Increases
Fact Sheet for Sewer Connection Fees
To join our mailing list, click here.
For further information on the Chloride Compliance Planning Process, please contact:
Ms. Mary Jacobs at (562) 908-4288, extension 2728
Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County
1955 Workman Mill Road
Whittier, CA 90601
Last updated: July 25, 2013