A letter addressed Tuesday by a local water retailer to the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District calls for a new committee that would find a solution to the ongoing chloride problem.
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The letter, written by Newhall County Water District General Manager Stephen Cole to Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District General Manager Stephen Maguin points to outdated data that is dictating the way chloride levels are monitored.
In the letter, Cole requests “a technical working group convene to determine if the discharge water goals can be achieved in a more efficient and less costly manner.”
Cole’s company, the Newhall County Water District is one of four water retailers servicing the Santa Clarita Valley, the others being the Santa Clarita Water Division, the Valencia Water Company and the L.A. County Waterworks District No. 36.
These retailers buy their water from the Castaic Lake Water Agency, a wholesaler, which gets its water from the State Water Project, served by the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
B.J. Atkins is the President of the Newhall County Water District Board of Directors and is also on the Board of Directors for the Castaic Lake Water Agency.
According to Atkins, the chloride levels delivered downstream of the Delta have improved since original studies were taken for developing the Alternative Water Resource Management Plan, the program that provides the basis for chloride treatment as well as water infrastructure that effects downstream interests, such as farming.
Speaking as a director for the Newhall County Water District, Atkins said, “Since those operating parameters have changed the chloride concentrations have dropped, we think there should be a reconvening of the group that developed the AWRM to see if a reverse osmosis plant is really necessary.
"Just what are the options available to us?”
Atkins said he hopes the Castaic Lake Water Agency, which deals directly with the state, takes the lead in developing a solution.
“We hope they do step up and take the lead. (Newhall County Water District), as a retailer, is simply suggesting it may be time to get this group together.”
As for the proposed working group, Atkins said he hopes a variety of stakeholders are represented, including businesses and the water community in Santa Clarita as well as the agricultural interest in Ventura County.
Faced with the issue of polluting Ventura crops downstream of the Santa Clara River and, in turn, the possibility of constructing a reverse osmosis plant, the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District is weighing its options.
“They need to be part of this discussion and ultimately the decision process,” he said. “We need to work even closer together.”
Maguin, the Sanitation District’s general manger to whom the letter was addressed, said he had yet to read it.
The letter was also copied and sent to several water officials.
“This entire process, we’ve met with all the water (community) in Santa Clarita because clearly the water they deliver has a major impact on what we discharge,” he said.