Hey, Where’s My Waiver?
The following email was sent by Los Osos resident Steve Paige to a local list-serve. It concerns, among other things, the CDOs from the RWQCB. Steve had proposed installing a urine separation system, submitted all the proper paperwork, and apparently was completely ignored. Here’s what he emailed me on 5/29: “I gave a formal proposal to the water board to exempt me and others who wanted to follow in my footsteps, from the CDO process via a Porter Cologne Waiver, Sec. 13269. They completely ignored my request even though I have a “facility” as they put it. Usually, only cities or service districts ask for a waiver, but by assuming I am a facility, I have the same rights as the big dogs. . . . By them ignoring my request they have discriminated against me under environmental justice law because of financial discrimination due to my “small dog’ financial status.”
To put this another way: The RWQCB issued a “discharge” permit to the CSD for the TRI-W wastewater plant. The discharge permit set the nitrate levels and allowed discharge into the PZ. So far as I know, Mr. Paige’s proposal also met the nitrate levels, just like the CSD’s project, yet apparently his request for a permit and waiver has been ignored. Interestingly, if you follow the language of the CDOs as they morphed from the earliest to the most recent, all language pertaining to nitrates, pollution, nuisance, groundwater, and waters of the state of California disappeared. The final CDO language simply uses the word (undefined) “discharge” and states that after 2011 ZERO DISCHARGE in the PZ will allowed.
Which leaves the weird question: Why the disconnect between pollution and nitrates and ground water and nuisance and waters of the state of California? And why would the RWQCB issue a “discharge permit” to the TRI-W facility, knowing it was going to “discharge” into the ZERO DISCHARGE PZ after the 2011 deadline? If the County's new wastewater system requires discharging treated wastewater into the PZ, how can the RWQCB allow that since they’ve morphed their language now and it’s no longer anything about X % of anything, it’s now ZERO discharge? And if they do give a waiver and permit to the County’s new "facility," why can’t Mr. Paige get one as well for his "facility?" This becomes even more puzzling since the RWQCB legally cannot tell anyone what kind of "facility" to build, they can only set discharge standards -- meet them as you please. So, what gives? Well, perhaps the Writ will give an answer?
Mr. Paige’s email, printed with permission:
I want to thank Gail and Shanna and friends for all their hard work at protecting the property rights of Los Osos homeowner's. Your thorough job of holding the State to it's stipulated obligations has many positive ramifications for homeowner's, but at the top of the list is preservation of property values. This suit improves property values in the prohibition zone...period. EVERYONE should be grateful. I definitely am. I read both documents. My check is in the mail for a donation to your cause.
I have been denied my own Environmental Justice civil rights by this board in my request for a PC 13269 Waiver for sequestering nitrogen by waste separation. It was approved by the Water Board and permitted by the County. My home was built after 83-13 and 83-12 and was allowed to be constructed with the full knowledge that there was nitrogen contamination in the water basin. The rationale was that then the State would have enough of a population base to justify the sewer project as outlined in Harvey Packard's recent letter.
But the true ramifications of that action are:
25% more nitrogen pollution in the prohibition zone.
400 acre feet a year excess overdraft of the water basin caused by the additional 1100 homes built harming water quality and availability to pre-existing homeowners.
Creating more pollution in defiance of the basin plan and orders so they could then have enough residents to clean it up by a method dictated by the State (not allowed in the Porter Cologne Act).
Allowing the home that I bought, that was built in 1987, thus creating the "attractive nuisance" of an illicit polluting home causing me "personal injury" which they did with foreknowledge and intent. I was duped. My home may be worthless in 2011.
I bought my home without foreknowledge of the Water Boards relationship to its creation. 1100 homes are illicit like mine. Had my home never been built, I would never have purchased it. My previous offer was on a house in San Luis Obispo. The State should be forced to purchase the 1100 homes and remove them, compensate homeowners, relocate homeowners to a legitimate similar coastal home, pay punitive damages, pay for the 25% correction in nitrogen pollution, and pay damages to pre-existing homeowners for salt water intrusion aggravation. My guess that it would cost the State approx. 2 Billion dollars in class action expenses to set things straight and they should. It's all about property rights.
It is not the Water board's business to create pollution so it can control the method of cleaning it up. I see that actitivity as having no legal basis that can be explained away in water law. All the smoke and mirrors of CDO's and CAO's and the State loan cancellation represent a State Board in confusion, illegitimacy, and legal disarray. The ultimate liability for all the problems here rests with them and the historic pollution burden of the 1100 illicit homes. It would be smart for the WB to cooperate with everybody and stand down before the 1100 'elephants' fall out of the legal closet for 1100 "personal injuries".