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Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District Chloride Compliance

MEETING STATE-MANDATED CHLORIDE (SALT) LIMITS IN THE SANTA CLARITA VALLEY

Background

The SCVSD, the public agency responsible for treating the SCV’s wastewater (sewage), has spent more than ten years attempting to achieve the most reasonable chloride limit possible and develop the most cost-effective and environmentally responsible solution to meeting the State-mandated chloride limit for the SCV.  In October 2013, after nearly two years of extensive public input, meetings, hearings, and environmental review, the SCVSD Board of Directors approved a project to comply with the State-mandated chloride limit and certified the associated Environmental Impact Report (2013 EIR).

Recommended Chloride Compliance Project

The approved chloride compliance project includes new reverse osmosis equipment at Santa Clarita’s Valencia Water Reclamation Plant (WRP).  The water that has passed through a reverse osmosis membrane becomes ultra-clean water and the remaining salty water becomes a byproduct called brine that requires proper disposal.  The brine would be managed with enhanced brine concentration equipment at the Valencia WRP and limited trucking of concentrated brine to an existing industrial facility, the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts’ Joint Water Pollution Control Plant in Carson.  A Supplemental Environmental Impact Report for Brine Concentration and Limited Trucking (Trucking SEIR) was prepared to describe the environmental impacts from this brine management approach.  On March 23, 2016, the SCVSD Board of Directors certified the Final Trucking SEIR as complying with CEQA and approved the brine management approach.

Reduced Discharge to River

The approved project in the 2013 EIR also contained a component titled “Support for Municipal Reuse of Recycled Water” that involved reducing WRP discharges of recycled water to the Santa Clara River so that more recycled water could be reused by the community.  The 2013 EIR contained an analysis of the potential environmental impacts to biological resources, including an endangered fish known as the unarmored threespine stickleback (stickleback), that could occur due to a proposed one-third reduction in discharge.  This analysis concluded that no significant impact would occur.

2016 Court Rulings

The 2013 EIR was challenged in court.  While the Trucking SEIR was being finalized, the Los Angeles County Superior Court issued a ruling on the adequacy of the 2013 EIR.  The Court found that two aspects of the 2013 EIR did not fully comply with CEQA.  First, the Court directed the SCVSD to conduct additional environmental study on potential impacts to stickleback.  Second, the Court considered the SCVSD’s pursuit of the trucking method of brine management to be an “abandonment” of method approved in the 2013 EIR, leaving the SCVSD with an incomplete chloride compliance project.  The Court did not find fault with the environmental review related to the chloride compliance project components.  The Court, nonetheless, set aside the 2013 EIR and related approvals until the SCVSD addresses both issues.  With the March 23, 2016 certification of the Trucking SEIR and approval of a new brine management approach, the SCVSD addressed the Court’s second issue. 

New Supplemental EIR

A new Supplemental EIR process is beginning in August 2016 to address the Court’s remaining issue—additional study of impacts to stickleback from reduced discharge.  The Notice of Preparation (available here) describes this process and the first round of public meetings.  This process will include ample opportunity for public comment, including information meetings and hearings.

The additional environmental review of stickleback impacts must be completed to enable the chloride compliance project to move forward.

For More Information

l   For questions or to be added to our mailing list, please email Mr. Bryan Langpap at blangpap@lacsd.org or call
   
(562) 908-4288, extension 2770. 


l
   The Notice of Preparation for the Stickleback SEIR can be found here.

l   The presentation given at the August 22, 2016 scoping meetings can be found here.

l   The 2013 EIR can be found here.

l   The Trucking SEIR can be found here.

l   More information about the recent court rulings can be found here.

For other information about chloride compliance efforts, see the links under the heading “Navigation” at the left of this page.